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Sanibel fire commission OKs tax rate

By Staff | Jul 21, 2020

At its monthly meeting, the Sanibel Fire and Rescue District’s commission set the not-to-exceed millage rate for the coming year, as well as received an update on the district’s new fire boat.

On July 10, Commissioners Bruce Cochrane and Richard McCurry voted 2-0 to establish the tentative millage rate for fiscal year 2020-2021 as 1.1089 – the same rate used for 2019-2020. Commissioner Jerry Muench had an excused absence. The proposed rate would result in a tax increase of 2.17 percent.

The millage rate can be lowered but not raised during the budget process.

The first budget hearing will take place on Sept. 9 at 5:01 p.m., with the second and final hearing scheduled for Sept. 16 at 5:01 p.m. Both will be held at Station 171, at 2351 Palm Ridge Road.

Also during the meeting, the commission voted 2-0 to approve a resolution to list for sale as surplus equipment the district’s 2010 Ford Explorer. According to officials, the vehicle has 94,654 miles.

The commissioners also heard an update on the 26-foot MetalCraft Interceptor being built.

According to Deputy Fire Chief William Briscoe, the metal fabrication has been completed on the vessel, which will replace the current Marine 171 – a 1997 “demo” model bought used in 2010-2011. The manufacturer is now working on outfitting the new boat with the engine, electronics and such.

“All the trim basically,” he said.

The district anticipates that it will receive the vessel in August.

The new boat was purchased through a combination of district funds, which were allocated in the budget, and a $150,000 grant that was awarded by the West Coast Inland Navigation District.

At the meeting, Division Chief of Prevention Larry Williams told the commission that island businesses have been installing fire alarms recently due to a new insurance requirement.

“The insurance companies are requiring them now, which is a good thing,” he said.

Williams also reported that the district has a new EOS computer program for fire inspections.

“So we’re going paperless,” he said. “Plus, we can track everything now.”

Williams provided updates on ongoing building projects, as well.

IN OTHER NEWS

– The following personnel were recognized for their years of service: Firefighter Mike Martin for 13 years.

– The district responded to 91 calls in June, compared to 122 calls last year during the same month. There have been 653 total calls this year, compared to 976 calls for the same timeframe in 2019.