Budget conference: House matches Senate position on firefighter projects
Holt is celebrating new funding for its fire station.

holt fire station
All budget items ultimately have to survive the Governor's potential veto, of course.

It appears funding is in sight for a series of local government fire department projects, as the House has agreed to Senate asks on a number of issues Saturday, putting them on the track to be closed out.

Among the remaining issues now resolved between the State Administration and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee and Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government are full funding for a replacement fire truck in Clewiston, a priority of Senate President Kathleen Passidomo.

The $1.4 million will “replace the current 2004 E-1 model custom pumper front line firefighting apparatus with a Quint design 75-78 foot aerial ladder firefighting apparatus to meet National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards and also achieve compliance with Insurance Services Office (ISO) requirements,” notes the Senate budget request.

A Sen. Ben Albritton request for $950,000 for a Fire Rescue Tanker Truck for Hardee County also earned House approval, to remedy what the funding request calls “aging equipment and constant breakdown of current fire apparatus in fleet.”

Another Albritton proposal for Hardee County for $10.5 million for a Fire Rescue Station and Training Facility looks poised to get substantial but not complete funding, with the House agreeing to the $7.5 million bump offer from the Senate to “demolish the old 1999 facility, plan, design, engineer and construct a new hardened fire rescue station and training facility in Hardee County.”

Fort Meade is also slated to get $1.5 million for construction, rehab, and hardening of a 40 year old firehouse. The Albritton budget submission notes that the city is no longer an all-volunteer force and needs better housing for professional firefighters with “sleeping quarters, kitchen facilities, training rooms and other building infrastructure.”

A sewer line must be relocated as well, and mold and asbestos abatement is also needed for the second-floor living quarters.

Sen. Jonathan Martin’s $6.5 million ask for the South Trail Fire and Rescue Station got half the money requested, as Lee County continues to grow, anticipating a million residents this year officially.

The Hernando Public Safety Training Center, a priority of Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, is poised to get $1 million in state support, as will Sen. Nick DiCeglie’s push for state funding for the Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue Station.

Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is also on track to get $1 million for public safety facility design, a priority of Sen. Jason Pizzo, while Sen. Rosalind Osgood’s request for $389,000 for a “walk-in triage section within the new Fire Station #37 in order to provide wellness checks (blood pressure, diabetes, heart rate monitoring) to residents” in Lauderdale Lakes is also in line for funding.

But it’s not all infrastructure in this offer sheet.

A Sen. Bryan Avila proposal for $250,000 for mental health services for firefighters and police, which will include a 24/7 helpline, is also poised for funding matching the local contribution.

“The Dade County Fire Fighters Insurance Trust Plan requests funds to care for first responders who voluntarily sacrifice their physical health and endanger their mental wellbeing to serve and protect others. Funding will provide first responders with resources to raise awareness and educate police and firefighters on strategies to approach, mitigate and/or cope with the stresses encountered on the job,” the funding request stipulates.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski

One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    March 2, 2024 at 12:30 pm

    Can we please scrap all of government and public service except fire fighters and start over with a new service model based on firefighters?

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