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Examine costs of fire protection
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Re: Town approves an interlocal agreement for EMS oversight, Bob MacPherson, Feb. 17
Editor:
Interesting that our Indian Shores Council refers to the failed tax change last November for the Pinellas Suncoast Fire & Rescue District in that Indian Shores would have saved thousands of dollars by approving a square footage rate of 17 cents rather than the approved $190 per year to support the Fire District.

Two thirds of Indian Shores property owners would have paid less than the $190 per year rate by approving the square footage proposal. That is not opinion, that reflects the records of the property appraiser.

Indian Shores’ elected officials have been supportive of the multimillion-dollar valued properties of elected officials in Belleair Shore, Belleair Beach and Indian Rocks Beach, where there are many individual houses. Indian Shores has fewer than 100 private homes, but many, many condos. Some of those condos are valued at $1 million to $2 million, mostly owned by folks who do not live or vote here.

Question: Would the people of Indian Shores and the other towns prefer the fire district be dissolved and management be sent to Largo, Clearwater or Seminole? If so, they would then be subjected to their 2-plus mills cost of fire service. That takes the 3,000-square-foot beach-front home tax to $3,000 per annum rather than the proposed $510 defeated last November.

Others, including a Belleair Shore commissioner, with $3.5 million homes ($54,000 tax bill for county and town) now paying $215, would pay $7,000 a year should Clearwater or someone else take management of the department. And, the title they put upon themselves is “Save our PSF&RD.”

Whoever wants to pay more in fire department taxes had best check the cost charged by all of the more expensive and not better departments.

Bob McEwen
Fire Commissioner
Indian Shores
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Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
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