Budget conference: Lawmakers fund Cape Coral, Treasure Island firehouses
Image via Cape Coral Fire Department.

Cape Coral Station 10
But Senate and House negotiators disagree on millions in funding for Flagler, Immokalee and other agencies.

State lawmakers are answering the call from more fire departments across the state. But legislators continue to wage regional battles on which first responders will enjoy boosts in funding.

The latest Senate offer on a State Administration and Technology budget shows greater agreement.

The upper chamber agreed to budget $1 million for Cape Coral to replace Fire Station 10, an emergency operation center. The Treasure Island Safety Complex also now has $1 million set-aside in both the House and Senate budgets.

Similarly, the latest numbers show the House and Senate allot $900,000 for an Ocean City-Wright Fire Control District Technical Rescue training facility.

Both chambers’ budgets also include $750,000 for a firehouse in Fort Meade.

A Winter Park firefighting training center made the cut, with both chambers providing $550,000 for the project.

Both sides of negotiations also agreed to direct $500,000 to Escambia County for a regional training center for firefighters in the Panhandle county.

Negotiators for both sides agreed to give $500,000 for the relocation of a Venice fire station.

The St. Pete Beach Fire Department has $2 million for a fire station replacement, money it has sought for two years.

But there are other projects where the chambers agree on the merit of fire department requests, but not on the amount.

The House wants to give Clay County $1.5 million for a pair of fire stations, but the Senate only wants to help with the costs of one, and only wants to provide $500,000.

While the House has budgeted $975,000 for a facility in Coral Gables, the Senate only has $250,000 allotted. In the same county, the House wants to send more than $1.6 million to renovate the Miami-Dade Fire Training Center, but the Senate says $1 million is enough.

Then there are multimillion-dollar priorities where chambers have found no common ground.

The Senate wants to devote $6.5 million to reconstruction of Fire Station 31 in the Immokalee Fire District, and $6 million to harden the LaBelle Fire Station and buy a new ladder truck. Neither line item appears in the House budget.

But House negotiators do want to send $6 million to Palm Coast for a pair of fire stations there, and $5 million to Flagler County for a combined fire station and administration building. The Senate hasn’t offered a nickel to either project.

Budget conference subcommittees will meet throughout the week to resolve differences in each area. When remaining issues reach an impasse, they will be “bumped” to the full budget conference committee.

Lawmakers must reach an agreement on a final spending plan by May 2 to meet the 72-hour “cooling off” period required by the state constitution before they can vote on the budget to avoid pushing the Regular Session past its scheduled May 5 end date.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704