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PSF&RD sets public budget hearing
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INDIAN SHORES – The first public hearing on the Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District’s proposed $4.4 million operating budget for the next fiscal year is set for Tuesday, Sept. 3, 7 p.m., at Indian Shores City Hall.

District commissioners gave tentative approval Aug. 20 to the budget, which is 2.5 percent higher than current fiscal year’s, stemming from retirement benefits, a health care increase and a pay step increase.

Fire Chief Robert Polk pointed out “positive signs” in a memo about the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

Having fulfilled Engine 27’s lease obligations during the past fiscal year, the district has no debt and no plans to incur any in the near future. He also said that changes have been made to strengthen financial controls and expense management.

A challenge facing the district, he said, is the need to develop a reliable revenue stream to ensure sustainability into the future. Staff will continue to explore options along those lines.

The primary sources of revenue in the budget are $3.59 million in fire assessment fees, $660,000 in county emergency medical services funding, $60,000 in plans and inspections fees and $7,400 in investment income.

“There are no anticipated windfalls nor are there any anticipated expenditures,” Polk said. “I believe this budget addresses what we know will happen and what we expect to happen based on historical perspective.”

The district has 38 full-time positions. The board of fire commissioners consists of five elected officials, each representing a specific geographic location, including Belleair Beach, Belleair Shore, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores and the unincorporated area on the mainland south of the city of Largo.

The second and final hearing on the budget is set for Thursday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m., at Indian Shores City Hall. The meetings are held on the fourth floor in the Community Room.
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