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NFM Fire District approves budget
October 9, 2019

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The North Fort Myers Fire & Rescue District on Monday approved its 2020 budget while keeping the millage rate the same.

The meeting took less than 20 minutes for the fire commissioners to unanimously approve the budget after approving the preliminary budget and millage during the Sept. 16 meeting.

There was no public comment nor was there much in the way of public.

Fire Chief David Rice said the millage rate will remain at 3.50, while the budget will be $16,365,705, with some major spending to be done as the district continues to catch up following the economic downturn.

Among them will be the replacement of staff vehicles and the possible replacement of the brush truck, which has been in service since 2002.

"It needs to be replaced with something a little more reliable in order to fight brush fires. I think we need something smaller and more maneuverable in the woods," Rice said.

The chief will also reinstate two fire inspectors and are expected to begin in October, and do a lot of station maintenance that has been put off, with the big project being the replacement of the apron at Station No. 3.

Rice said while he doesn't foresee much growth while he is still in office, there will be eventually. When that happens, then the possibility of reducing the millage can happen.

"I would like to see a Paradise Isles in North Fort Myers. All we have right now is Magnolia Landing," Rice said. "Eventually, all the growth is going to have to come here."

For now, Rice said he is happy with the budget and the ability to rebuild the reserves.

"I feel blessed we can get these projects done. I want healthy reserves and that's what we've been doing since we got the increase," Rice said. "We have to put money together for the new engine that we need next year."

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