Fire Control District millage rate and budget approved

September 20, 2019
By Marcy Shortuse

The Boca Grande Fire Control District held its annual budget expenditures meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 360 E. Railroad Ave.
C.W. Blosser, Braxton Bowen, Mark Spurgeon, Richard Hugger, Nancy Coleman and Wendy Upton were present at the meeting.
The District tentatively adopted a measure to increase its property tax levy to $4,271,360. This is an 8.6 percent increase from last year’s tax levy of $3,929,007.
Items that increased significantly include bank and payroll processing fees, office supplies, collector’s and assessor’s fees, utilities, medical testing and immunizations, wages and salaries, employee benefits, radio user fee, apparatus and reserve funding.
The budget allowance for insurance decreased significantly by $63,000, mostly due to the workers compensation improved rating.
Braxton Bowen read aloud the final millage and the final budget resolution. Mark Spurgeon made a motion to adopt the new budget and Richard Hugger seconded the motion. It passed.
Chief C.W. Blosser said the District took in 32 calls for the month of August in 2019, and 334 for the year, compared to 306 in 2018, and 349 in 2017.
“The year of 2017 was our busiest ever, but we are catching up to those numbers,” Blosser said.
There were three fires last month: a cottage fire, a golf cart fire and a small vegetation fire. There were eight medical calls, one hazardous condition call, one service call and 19 false alarms in August.
Chief Blosser had a conference call with Lee County Planning and Gasparilla Island Water Association in August and discussed the water supply for the new sewage plant.
“We discussed expectations and I did a site walk at the sewer plant with Bonnie (Pringle) to look at some things we talked about on the call,” Blosser said. “What we are ultimately going to do is extend the water lines so we will have a hydrant at the sewer plant and another one near the pro shop and golf cart shack.”
Blosser said it is necessary to replace one of the old department pick-up trucks because it had to be towed the last several times it was used. He received an estimate for a new Ford F250 for $63,000.
“We have $60,000 budgeted for it, so we’ll be about $3,300 over budget,” Blosser said.
The truck would replace the utility truck and become the new Boca 1.
“We need a reliable utility truck to use as a mobile command vehicle in the event of an emergency,” Blosser said.
A move to authorize $60,000 from the budget and the remaining balance from undesignated funds was approved.
No members of the public attended the meeting.