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WMFR continues remodel plans at Station 2

By Kathy Prucnell, Islander Reporter

West Manatee Fire Rescue Commissioners Randy Cooper and Scott Ricci show their district Breast Cancer Awareness Month shirts at the Sept. 20 commission meeting. Islander Photo: Kathy Prucnell

West Manatee Fire Rescue District commissioners at their Sept. 20 meeting gave the go-ahead to Fire Chief Andy Price to negotiate a lease and likely purchase of property behind Station 2 in Cortez.

        As part of remodeling plans to accommodate a full-time force at the volunteer station at 10350 Cortez Road, Price told commissioners he’s working on a lease with Manatee Fruit Company, the owners of the 80-by-400-foot parcel.

        In the Sept. 5 draft lease, there is an option for future impact fees to be credited against an unstated purchase price.

        Additional terms include rent of $1 for 10 years, an option to terminate or if there’s no termination, automatic five-year renewals. The proposed lease also limits the property for fire district and public service purposes, including Manatee County Emergency Medical Services.

        “It sounds like a good deal,” said Commission Chair Randy Cooper. “And they’ve been very cooperative.”

        Price agreed, saying Manatee Fruit has been “very gracious.”

        The parcel is needed for stormwater retention and relocation of parking so the build-out can take place near the front of the station, Price said after the meeting.

        The plan is to update, repair and provide firefighter living quarters at the station.

        In May, commissioners chose Ross Built Construction Co. of Holmes Beach and Manuel Synalovski Associates of Fort Lauderdale as the design-build team for the $900,000 project at Station 2, originally built in 1987.

        The district currently leases a similarly sized property owned by Manatee Fruit Company for its training facility behind the station. Price said the proposed acquisition would “square off the property.”

        In other matters:

        • There were no appeals at a public hearing of the 2012 fire assessment rate. At a May 17 hearing, commissioners increased the district assessment about $4 more than the 2011-12 rate to meet rising operational costs and expected increases in health insurance costs. The new fiscal year began Oct. 1.

        • Cooper announced WMFR is looking to host another Citizens Academy to allow the public to observe and learn side-by-side with firefighters in training. More details are expected in October.

        • Commissioners heard the first reading of an ordinance, amending the district’s Firefighters Retirement Plan to reflect mortality table updates for accruals and to allow for a maximum of 300 hours in retirement calculations.

        • A unanimous vote also set aside a 2000 Ford Expedition as surplus equipment. Pursuant to state law, the vehicle will be offered to other public agencies and, if there are no interested departments, it will be sold at auction.

WMFR wears pink for October benefit

        West Manatee Fire Rescue is in the pink for October.

        Commissioners, staff and firefighters will be wearing pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

        The firefighters will wear pink T-shirts daily.

        Staff will wear a pink polo shirt once a week.

        And fire commissioners will wear their pink shirts at the Oct. 18 district meeting.

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