New law could mean a change in firefighters for some Manatee County residents

Firefighter Coats and Hard Hats
The Manatee County Supervisor of Elections must hold a referendum on the change before it takes effect.

Some residents in Manatee County could see a change in their fire protection services if voters approve a measure headed to the November ballot.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed HB 1047 sponsored by Rep. Tommy Gregory, a Republican from Sarasota. The measure expands the charter of the Cedar Hammock Fire Control District, which covers an area in southwest Manatee County and serves up to 100,000 residents. It would incorporate into its charter the Trailer Estates community.

The law also directs the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections to conduct a referendum asking county voters whether the Cedar Hammock Fire Control District should be allowed to offer fire service as well as collect taxes, assessments and fees necessary to provide fire rescue programs and emergency services to the Trailer Estates Community.

Residents of Trailer Estates voted on Nov. 2, 2021 to abolish their fire district and to transfer its assets and property to the Trailer Estates Park and Recreation District instead.

Both the Cedar Hammock Fire Control District and the now-defunct Trailer Estates Fire Control District are examples of independent special fire control districts created by the Legislature. An independent special district only possesses the powers granted to it by law. That means the Cedar Hammock Fire Control District could not expand its district area without the Legislature first agreeing to pass a law amending its charter.

Likewise, even though voters agreed to abolish the Trailer Estate Fire Control District, the Legislature needs to pass a bill eliminating the district from the law books. 

To that end, Gregory also filed HB 1049, which abolishes the district and directs its assets to be transferred to the Trailer Estates Park and Recreation District, instead.

HB 1047 and HB 1049 are just two of a bevy of “local bills” that DeSantis received. Local bills are proposals that impact a specific geographical area and there are different procedural rules that must be followed when they are being considered.

Local bills must be ratified before taking effect, and that language must appear in the bill. Or, an affidavit of “proper advertisement” can be attached to the local bill when it’s initially filed. Local bills are put on a “local bill calendar” for passage. If a member from the delegation is affected by the local bill objects, the bill can be removed from the calendar.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.



    May 16, 2022 at 5:44 pm

    The Trailer Estates Fire Department – which served the Trailer Estates senior mobile home park was a “little” gem – that unfortunately, did not keep with the times and faced additional pressures due to lack of funding and sorely need equipment upgrades.

    As the Trailer Estates fire department was an all-volunteer force, they had trouble keeping/retaining volunteers who had other responsibilities – such as their paid job. With only the fire chief being paid – this made their situation bleak.

    Although their board members were engaged, they just didn’t have the money needed to maintain and keep up-to-date with changes to regulations and insuring that all volunteers were receiving their needed training. For example, in the last year, the department received as a donation the cost to pay for five physical exams!

    At least the proceeds from dissolving the department are being turned over to the Trailer Park Estates fire auxiliary versus being sent to Tallahassee.

    Trailer Park Estates is a great place for seniors – where you own your own land and home – and a very engaged community. They even have their own post office ! I’d like to hear that story about the post office from the old-timers the next time I’m in Bradenton.


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