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Beach Fire board OK’s FY 2020 budget

By Staff | Oct 2, 2019

Fort Myers Beach Board of Fire Commissioners held its final budget hearing at City Hall last Wednesday, approving its budget for the new fiscal year that began Tuesday, Oct. 1.

The tax rate approved is 2.9851 mills up from last years 2.61 mills, which officials said still is significantly lower than other local districts. The total operating budget approved unanimously is $13,812,715, up from last year’s $12.3 million.

The Total Budget for the 2019 – 2020 Fiscal Year for the department is $22,327,453, which includes over $8.5 million in reserves.

One mill equals $1 per every $1,000 of a property’s assessed taxable valuation.

The Fort Myers Beach Fire Department employs 64 full-time employees, with personnel costs of $10,022,730 in 2018 – 2019. That cost increases about $700,000 for 2019 – 2020 to $10,718,700, making up 78% of the Fire Department’s operating expenses.

A big portion of the increase is to save for the inevitable facility construction and purchase of property.

There still is no training house on the island and there is a need to replace the aging Station 31, Fire Chief Matthew Love said.

He went on to say that a second year of the elevated rate would be necessary to provide a 20% down payment for land on which to build a new Station 31. The land it currently sits on is too small to hold a new fire station, taking into account building codes and new station standards.