Not one person from the public was present during the first of two public meetings required to formalize the $4.388 million Boca Grande Fire Department budget for 2012-13.
That's likely because the BGFD Board held the line with no millage increase other than the unavoidable .06 percent boost created by the rise in property assessments. Island property assessments rose as a whole for the first time in five years, according to Lee County Assessor Kenneth Wilkinson.
The budget includes $2.419 million in expenditures and $1.969 million in reserves. The Boca Grande Fire Control District will now levy a millage rate of 1.238 or $1.24 per $1,000 in assessed property value.
BGFD Chief C.W. Blosser
The Boca Grande Fire Department Board gave firefighters a 2 percent cost-of-living increase. Wages and benefits were raised $108,870 to a total of $1,949,400.
The budget becomes official after the second public millage hearing at 5:15 p.m. Sept. 19 at the BGFD, 360 E. Railroad Ave.
All BGFD firefighters who have met training and education requirements for the year earn a 2 percent COLA and longevity increases are also granted after six years service. The longevity increases help retain experienced firefighters.
What: Boca Grande Fire Department Board millage hearing
When: 5:15 p.m. Sept. 19
Where: 360 E. Railroad Ave.
Why: second and final hearing
The BGFD Board voted to dip into reserves for $50,000 rather than increase property taxes to support the pay raises. The BGFD carried $2.018 million in reserves into this fiscal year and have budgeted $1.969 million for the next fiscal year.
Starting BGFD pay is $36,380 annually. BGFD firefighters with two to fours years experience earn salaries ranging from $38,220 at the low end to $44,520 max.
BGFD firefighters with five to seven years experience will earn $45,629 to $52,698 plus the 2 percent COLA.
Senior firefighters with eight to 14 years experience will receive a maximum of $67,908 and $56,683 at the lower end.
Three BGFD lieutenants with 10 to 14 years experience earn $76,418 to $76,646. They were given a 2 percent COLA and a 4 percent to 6 percent longevity raise. The top raise for this group will be $6,132 to a salary of $82,778.
Chief C.W. Blosser will earn $95,226 after the COLA increase.