1. #1
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    Post Davenport Fla--Volunteer Fire Department loses funding

    Polk County Fire Services announced the end of funding for the Davenport Volunteer Fire Deparment. This funding amounted to about 40% of their budget.


    November 12, 2002
    http://www.polkonline.com/stories/111302/loc_fire.shtml


    November 13, 2002
    http://www.polkonline.com/stories/111302/loc_fire.shtml
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  2. #2
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    Post City officials to blame???

    Firefighters Blame City Manager
    Davenport interim official says he was just doing his job.

    by Amber Smith


    The Ledger


    amber.smith@theledger.com

    DAVENPORT -- City volunteer firefighters are blaming the loss of 75 percent of their coverage area on the interim city manager.

    Starting Jan. 1, Polk County Fire Services will be opening a station in the old vehicle inspection station just south of town and taking back 75 percent of the county area near Davenport that the volunteers have been covering.

    "I think the acting city manager has played a big part in this," said Tony Whitt, the department's volunteer fire chief. "I don't think they would have come in and done this if he hadn't approached them about taking over the coverage."

    After Jan. 1, the city volunteers will be responsible for the four square miles in the city limits and for a small section of the county area to the north and east of town.

    They will receive $25,656 for covering the area. And they will lose more than $88,000 in fire protection fees.

    Interim City Manager H.B. "Rob" Robinson met with county fire officials in February after former fire chief and fire administrator Fred Stewart quit. Robinson wanted to find out if the county was interested in taking over fire protection for the city.

    After Robinson told City Council members about the meeting, they told him they didn't want to give up the city's Fire Department, said Councilman Lewis Mathews.

    "We aren't for that at all," Mathews said.

    Robinson said he was just doing his job when he met with county fire officials earlier this year.

    "I had one conversation with them, and when I reported back the council said they weren't interested and that was that," Robinson said. "It is my job to look out for the best interests of the city."

    Robinson said the only other conversation he has had with county fire officials was a month ago when they called and asked to meet with him.

    "I didn't know what the meeting was about and they came up here and dropped this on me," Robinson said.

    Mathews said he wants to know why the council hadn't heard about the county wanting to take back part of the coverage area until last week.

    "Somebody had to be talking to them about this," he said. "That is a question I am going to ask Tuesday night.

    "If there were meetings to discuss this, then I think the council should have been in on them," Mathews said. "Rob can't make these kind of decisions. The council (members) are the ones who sign the contract."

    Mathews said he thinks the city should challenge the county over the coverage area.

    "This isn't right. They knew we were getting a new truck to cover the county area," he said.

    Tony Whitt, the city's volunteer fire chief, said the department had to get another truck anyway.

    "It wasn't just to cover the county area," Whitt said. "We are required to have two engines here anyway."

    He said the new truck will also help out when the other fire engine breaks down. The 3-year-old engine is out for repairs again, as it has been several times this year, Whitt said.

    Whitt said the volunteer department will survive even when the county takes back part of the coverage area.

    "We will be OK," he said. "We will still be getting the $25,000 from the county and that is a good chunk of change for a department this size."

    Amber Smith can be reached at amber.smith@theledger.com or at 863-422-6800.
    Last edited by captstanm1; 11-20-2002 at 10:35 AM.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  3. #3
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    Post Today's Story

    Winter Haven News Chief

    No agreement made on loss of Davenport fire contract
    By STEVEN N. LEVINE
    ncpub@earthlink.net

    DAVENPORT -- Davenport and Polk County fire officials Tuesday agreed to disagree at a work session on the county's decision to renege on a $114,578 subcontract.

    County fire service officials Oct. 30 decided to take back up to three-quarters of the property formerly protected by Davenport's volunteer fire department under a generation-old agreement. The decision permits the county agency to retain $75,000-$88,000 formerly paid the city.

    The fiscal impact in mid-budget year is substantial on a small city, Vice Mayor Curtis Crews said. The subcontract is just under 5 percent of the city's $2.7 million annual operating budget.

    "It's a slap in our face. It's a slap to our department is how I see it," Councilman Lewis Mathews complained.

    "This is something worth getting upset over," Councilman Bobby Lynch agreed.

    City Mayor Kim Miller, himself a career fire officer, accused new County Fire Chief Doug Lewis of breaching the county's contract that technically requires six months warning of a change. Neither Lewis, nor Tom Mason, county assistant public safety director, addressed the thorny legal question. City Attorney Neal Young was not at the work session.

    Miller hoped to fire his occasionally critical questions at county commissioners and County Manager Jim Keene. None of the commissioners took up Miller's invitation. Keene also could not attend, Lewis said.

    Council members may protest the contract incursion at a county commission meeting. County Commissioner Don Gifford last week predicted the body will back its staff in the matter.

    The projected 40 percent drop in the city's fire budget forced the lay-off of one of two day time paid firefighters Monday. A structure fire less than three hours into the shift required mutual aid from Haines City and Polk County, said Fred Stewart III, a former volunteer fire chief.

    City officials complain the new arrangement requires county firefighters to speed two miles for emergencies three blocks from the city fire station. The change follows a decision to move County Engine 33 from the paramedic station at Ledwith Avenue to a former inspection station at U.S. Highway 17/92 and Baker Dairy Road.

    The fire service's new lodgings might not be delayed, leading county officials to prorate the contract until April 1. Changes to the fire protection agreement are no reflection on city volunteers, generally drawn from career firefighter ranks, Lewis said.

    "We're fiscally responsible for these kind of funds. We (will) have a county station two miles away," Lewis said. "It's a business (decision)."

    The county station also responds to unincorporated areas formerly protected under contract by Haines City and the Grenelefe development which closes the door on its own volunteer department in January.

    "You'll take one engine and do what six engines were doing two years ago. Common sense doesn't show me that it's better," Miller said.

    "Doing more with less is a great deal if you're a plumber, but it's not if you're in public safety," Stewart quipped.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  4. #4
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    Post 2 stories--Fire Department Regains Funding & Contract

    polkonline.com

    Davenport regains county fire contract
    By STEVEN N. LEVINE
    ncpub@earthlink.net

    DAVENPORT -- Polk County reversed plans Wednesday to slash fire district payments to Davenport this fiscal year and will honor the $114,578 contract that substantially funds the volunteer company.

    County Manager Jim Keene said he made "an error" authorizing Fire Chief Doug Lewis to take back 75 percent of the outside protection area contracted to Davenport for about a generation. The change would have left a $75,000 to $88,000 hole in the city fire budget amounting to about 40 percent of the allocation.

    "We need to honor our commitment with them," Keene said Wednesday.

    City Manager H.B. "Rob" Robinson confirmed the city will receive its full share of county OPA funds this fiscal year. A second city-paid, day-time firefighter laid off Monday with the loss of the contract was called back, Robinson said.

    The decision puts on hold plans to renovate a former inspection station at U.S. Highway 17/92 and Baker Dairy Road in Haines City for County Engine 33, Keene said. The county pumper and a brush truck now share paramedic station 13 at Ledwith Avenue and 10th Street. Lewis had hoped to place a battalion chief at the new fire station still located within Haines City.

    Keene said he was unaware the city's contract with Polk County required that changes in the district be settled by April 15 preceding the start of the next fiscal year. Polk County didn't advise Davenport of its decision to take back much of the district until Oct. 30, more than a month after the city approved its 2002-03 budget.

    Davenport Mayor Kim Miller Tuesday demanded the county honor its contractual obligations adding, "I'll know with what I have to deal with from now on when I deal with the county." Other city council members expressed similar sentiments.

    Neither Lewis nor Assistant Public Safety Director Tom Mason would debate the contractual requirements at the Tuesday work session.

    Interim County Attorney Linda McKinley, who did not attend the meeting, Wednesday also declined to ponder the county's exposure in its apparent attempt to breach the contract. McKinley said Keene met early with fire service department heads, and afterwards phoned Miller.

    "I think you'll find the matter is no longer an issue," she said.

    Keene believed Wednesday that hard feelings over the incident will be "quickly healed." Miller agreed Wednesday the matter will be forgotten. The county has the absolute right to change the contract with proper notice, he said.

    "I think we need to prepare ourselves for no money from the county next year," Miller said. "We're going to have to discuss it and get ready for it."

    The case is also offers a reason for Davenport to step up annexations, especially to the south in the city water and sewer service area, Miller said. He planned to rise the issue in January with the new board. In three to five years, Miller hopes to fund a career fire department in Davenport.

    ______________________
    The Ledger

    POLK TO TAKE OVER OCT. 1, 2003
    County To Honor Fire Pact

    Davenport will be protected for this year and will get the full amount.

    By Amber Smith
    amber.smith@theledger.com

    DAVENPORT -- After a meeting with City Council members Tuesday night, county officials changed their minds Wednesday morning and will honor their fire protection contract with the city for this year.

    Polk County Fire Services officials had planned to cut about $88,000 in fire protection fees for 75 percent of the area the city covers for the county starting Jan. 1. County firefighters would have covered the area themselves.

    "It was a fairness issue and it was a contractual issue," said Polk County Manager Jim Keene. "We will pay Davenport the full amount for this year."

    That means Davenport will receive $113,955 from the county for providing medical and emergency services in the county area around Davenport until Sept. 30, 2003. Had the county taken over the area, the city would have received just a little more than $25,000 this year.

    Keene said the county would take over coverage of the county area Oct. 1, 2003.

    The county still plans to turn an old vehicle inspection station on U.S. 17-92, just south of Davenport, into a new fire station, said Polk County Fire Chief Doug Lewis.

    "We will still be moving our crew up from Haines City," Lewis said.

    Currently, firefighters share the county EMS station on Ledwith Avenue. Lewis said the building is too crowded with seven people.

    He said he expects the firefighters to move into the inspection station after the first of the year.

    "This has nothing to do with those plans," he said.

    Lewis, Assistant Chief Rick Parnell and Assistant Public Safety Director Tom Mason met with council members in a somewhat heated workshop meeting Tuesday night to discuss the matter.

    City Council members have balked at the loss of the fire protection area. Council members Bob Lynch and Lewis Mathews wanted to contest the plan, saying it violated the city's contract with the county.

    According to the contract, the county would have had to notify Davenport by April 15 if it planned totake away any of the protection area. County officials sent a letter to the city Aug. 5 notifying them of the change. "How is this fair?" asked Mayor Kim Miller, who occasionally raised his voice during the meeting. "How is this a good business practice?"

    Miller also wanted the county officials to explain how this plan could be a cost savings for the county.

    Lewis said it would save the county money because the money it would have paid Davenport could have gone back into the Fire Department budget for other uses, and since the county already owns the inspection building there would not have been as much of a cost there either.

    "I just don't see how three firefighters can cover the area as easily as we can with all of our volunteers," Miller said.

    Eventually, the two sides agreed to disagree and council members had planned to ask the city attorney how they could fight the change.

    Interim City Manager H.B. "Rob" Robinson said that issue became moot Wednesday when the county changed its mind.

    "We are very pleased this has been worked out," Robinson said. "This will also give us time to plan better for next year."

    Robinson credited Miller with the change of heart.

    "I think the mayor did a heck of a job in bringing this about," Robinson said.

    Lewis said he also is pleased everything has been worked out.

    "This was never an adversarial thing," he said. "We have always worked well with the city and we plan on working with them in the future as well."

    Amber Smith can be reached at amber.smith@theledger.com or 863-422-6800.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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