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Beach Fire sets budget, tax rate

September 11, 2018
By CHUCK?BALLARO ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The Fort Myers Beach Fire Department on Monday moved one step closer to completing its budget process by setting its tentative millage and budget during its first public hearing on the spending plan.

The millage was originally set at 2.642 mills before being shaved down to 2.6153, which was where the not-to-increase rate was set. Last year's millage was 2.58 mills.

The millage rate a property tax levy assessed on taxable property valuation One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value.

Despite the small increase, Matt Love, fire chief, said he was proud of the way the staff was able to chisel the budget down to keep the rate increase to a minimum.

"We're talking about necessity. Want versus need. So, I think we did a good job chiseling it down, managing public safety versus financial responsibility," Love said. "This gives us the best of both."

The budget was also set at around $14 million.

Among the major acquisitions the department will make next fiscal year is a ladder truck to replace the current one which is 15 years old. That will cost about $1.2 million, Love said, minus whatever return they get from resale on the old truck.

Another place where money will go is the prevention division.

"We want to keep up with inspections and have plans reviewed in-house because the county no longer does that. So, we have money that will beef up that area and provide those services," Love said.

Love said the 45-minute meeting went well and, that while several residents attended for the hearing, only a few had questions and they seemed satisfied with the answers received.

The department serves Fort Myers Beach, San Carlos Island and mainland communities up to Pine Ridge Road. It responds to approximately 3,500 calls annually, Love said.

The second and final public hearing will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 6:15 p.m., at the third-floor Library Community Room, 2755 Estero Blvd.



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