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Englewood discusses fire millage

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  • Englewood discusses fire millage

    Fire millage workshop Tuesday


    ENGLEWOOD -- The Englewood Area Fire District commissioners are going to get a lesson about putting a millage rate increase on a ballot.

    The latest step in moving forward with the effort to get an initiative on the ballot which could increase millage rates is to hold a 7 p.m. Tuesday workshop at Station 4 in Rotonda West.

    The workshop will have experts, including an attorney familiar with special district law, present to the commissioners what they can and cannot do with the initiative.

    District Fire Chief Michael Bonakoske said the meeting is part of the education process for the commissioners so they can come closer to making a decision on the wording of the ballot initiative.

    "Our biggest thing is to get the ballot question done before December," Bonakoske said.

    The referendum question is to be placed on the March 9 ballot, but the details of how much the request will be are still being worked out.

    The original effort was to seek an initial 0.5 millage increase and then, an automatic 0.25 millage increase for each of the following three years.

    A 0.5 mill increase would mean an additional $37.50 a year for a home with a $100,000 assessed value and a $25,000 homestead exemption.

    Nothing is set in stone, Bonakoske said.

    The experts will detail the procedures and the legalities of the language, as well as offer advice on how to present the facts to the public.

    "We all need to have something we can present clearly to the public to help avoid any confusion," Bonakoske said.

    Firefighters are also going to be tutored on the basics of the millage increase effort since Bonakoske says they are on the front lines and are likely to be asked questions.

    "We want our people to have a good grasp about what is going on so they can allay some fears people might have," Bonakoske said.

    If the 0.5 mill increase seems high, the district could have opted for a 3.75 mills increase under state law but commissioners decided the smaller increase was more reasonable.

    A main argument for the millage increase is that the district receives about one half as much funding per resident as compared to neighboring districts.

    The district needs the increased millage if it plans to accomplish numerous goals in the next five years.

    Those goals include:

    * Increase training and equipment to handle bioterrorism and hazardous material incidents.

    * Significantly reduce response times.

    * Increase number of firefighters on duty.

    * Build and staff three additional fire stations.

    * Improve the district's insurance rating.

    The district currently operates four fire stations and has a staff of 46 covering an area larger than the city of St. Petersburg.

    The next regular fire commission meeting is 9 a.m. Oct. 22, also at Station 4, 403 Boundary Blvd., Rotonda.


    IF YOU GO

    WHAT: Englewood Area Fire Control District protest hearing and workshop.

    WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday.

    WHERE: Fire Station No. 4, 403 Boundary Blvd., Rotonda.

    CALL: (941) 697-6644

    ON THE WEB: www.englewood-fire.com

    You can e-mail Bob Reddy at [email protected]


    By BOB REDDY

    Englewood Assistant Editor
    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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