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Beach Beacon
City accepts grant for rescue craft
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Photo courtesy of SEA-DOO
The Treasure Island Fire Department is purchasing a watercraft like this Sea-Doo GTI 130 for emergencyrescues. The purchase was made possible through a grant from Firehouse Subs.
TREASURE ISLAND – City commissioners passed a resolution May 20 to accept a grant from Firehouse Subs to allow the Treasure Island Fire Department to purchase a Sea-Doo GTI 130 wave runner for water rescues.

The grant for $13,429 covers the cost of the watercraft, trailer, rescue sled, four helmets, life vests and various accessories.

Fire Chief Bill Mallory applied for the grant in February and was recently contacted that his application was accepted.

Mallory said he expected to take delivery on the watercraft during the summer season. It will be stored at the city boat slip next to the city police boat.

The new craft will replace a firefighter-powered paddleboard that is used now.

In his grant application, Mallory related an incident that occurred last summer when the fire department was called to rescue five people from the water, two of which needed to be transported to the hospital.

“If you could imagine having to paddle through the waves, reach multiple victims and then decide which ones needed to be rescued first, you can understand the need,” Mallory said. “Then, after getting the most critical to the beach, paddling back out and do it four more times.”

He said with the new watercraft, paramedics would be able to get to swimmers more quickly and would be able to deliver life vests to multiple swimmers in need.

He said the only cost to the city would be fuel and annual maintenance, estimated at $400.

In other action, commissioners:

• Accepted a $5,000 donation from the Treasure Islettes for landscaping along the Beach Trail.

• Passed an ordinance to increase the city business tax 5 percent to generate an additional $3,245 in city revenue. The increase will go into effect during fiscal 2014-15, pushing the city’s annual total to $68,136. The average increase will be $4.22. Under state law, the city can increase the tax up to 5 percent every two years. The last time it was increased was in 2009.

• Passed a resolution urging Florida Gov. Rick Scott to sign legislation funding beach nourishment for the 2014-15 budget year. The Florida Legislature appropriated $47 million for 25 projects. According to tourism figures, every dollar spent on beach nourishment generates nearly $48 in sales tax revenue.
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