Florida Fire Board Discusses New Terms

Myakka City Fire District's board met for the first time since it was announced that all the commissioners terms had expired.

The five commissioners, who will continue to serve until successors are named, discussed the procedure put forward by the county in 1992.

"The demographics have really changed out here but local control is where we want to stay," said Fire Chief Bobby Dodge.

Manatee County has divided the 230-square-mile district into five subdivided areas and tries to use main roads as clear barriers and evenly capture the area's more populated sections. To apply for a board position, a resident must own land within the district jurisdiction for which they are applying.

In other business, Dodge informed the board on the costs the district incurred as a result of recent hurricanes. Collectively, the district spent about $35,000, and approximately $25,000 of that sum was from damage caused by Hurricane Charley.

"We've had a pretty active couple of weeks here," Dodge said.

Between hurricanes Charley and Frances, the district also spent $15,470 to clean up approximately 4,000 gallons of gasoline when a tanker overturned. The company responsible for the spill will be billed for the incident, Dodge said.

The only expense the department incurred during Hurricane Ivan was Dodge's trip to Pensacola where he worked on a team doing search and rescue in the coastal areas.

"I've been on 14 or 15 deployments with the overhead team and I think that one had the biggest impact on me and I was only there for four days," Dodge said.

Dodge also updated the board on the district's new Station 2, slated for construction in the Panther Ridge area.

"Our building plans are ready to go as soon as the site plans are approved," Dodge said.

The plans had to resubmitted when the county asked that several small changes be made.

"We looked at the plan change and all they did was set the building back a bit," said David Parks, the district's fire commission chairman.

The project is expected to cost $407,000, with $100,000 of that money coming from Manatee County.

"We want to break ground within four or five months," Dodge said.

Initially, the new station will be staffed with volunteer firefighters.

Station 1 has received a $33,000 grant from Federal Emergency Management Administration to install hurricane shutters and reinforced bay doors.

The station's bay doors were damaged during Charley.

"Luckily, we had already applied for a grant to shutter and buy new reinforced doors," Dodge said.

The new bay doors should be able to withstand 130 mph winds.