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Manatee County Tempers Simmer Some

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  • Manatee County Tempers Simmer Some

    Emotions at fire district cool off from last month
    LISA MARIE LENTZ
    Herald Staff Writer

    EAST MANATEE - At Monday's meeting of the Braden River Fire District, the dust appeared to have settled from last month's meeting and the realization that the district would be forced to not only increase its fire tax but also to charge a property tax.

    Interim chief Byron Teates asked the board for a motion to proceed with the property tax process with Manatee County for the March 2004 special election, and he got it, with unanimous support from four of five commissioners in attendance.

    Teates' request was framed by an urgency to get the ball rolling on what he referred to as a substantial amount of work that would go into getting the tax ready for an election.

    "As you know, there's quite a lot of legwork involved in going after this property tax," Teates said. "There's an awful lot to do between now and March."

    Commissioner James Bon Ami agreed.

    "It's going to take a lot of work from everyone on this board," he said, "everyone from administration to the firefighters."

    Also agreed upon was the need for someone in the district to get out and talk to as many people as possible about why the tax is necessary.

    The property assessment is part of a three-year plan proposed to help pull the district out of a projected $307,427 deficit it is facing for this year alone.

    It would also allow for the hiring of 42 new employees and the building of a new $1.3 million station in Lakewood Ranch.

    Don O'Leary, a Lakewood Ranch resident and retired New York City fire lieutenant, touted the proposed property tax as a virtual necessity.

    "You'll never build another house for five years if you don't take ad valorem," O'Leary said.

    Pointing out the tentative location of the new house on a large map of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch properties he brought for a presentation to the board, O'Leary outlined all the neighborhoods it would serve, totalling some 4,400 homes.

    Talks are in the works between the district and SMR to obtain two acres in a parcel of land at the southeast corner of State Road 70 and Lorraine Boulevard. The acreage lies in the southeast corner of the commercial plot, which would allow firefighters swift access to both State Road 70 and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.

    It is unknown whether Braden River will have to purchase the land from SMR or whether it will be donated.

    The Lakewood Ranch developer donated a $400,000 piece of land for Braden River's station four, a $1 million facility in Lakewood Ranch near University Parkway, which opened in October 2002.

    Lisa Marie Lentz, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 708-7906 or at [email protected].
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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