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Officials: Brush fire season ends

June 6, 2018
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue Districts officials were happy to finally have a conclusion to a very long dry season. Every year Southwest Florida suffers from a drought between the months of November and May; a time where brush fires tend to abound.

According to Fire Chief Robert DiLallo, quick acting fire crews and the addition of their new brush fire truck, paid off this season.

"This year's brush fire season seems to be over. We had a very successful season in regards to our response times and the ability to contain the fires. Our new brush truck has really assisted crews in putting these fire out quickly," said DiLallo.

During his report, Chief DiLallo also announced the fire district board awarded Right Construction with a contract to provide services including the rebuilding of the district's downed fire stations and repairs to stations 104 and 105.

"I'm currently working on drafting out the contract now, but due to the emergency needs of the district, Right Construction had agreed to move forward with our necessary construction needs without a contract in place," said Attorney Richard Pringle.

The fire district also closed on the purchase of three lots located on Sunshine near 17th Street, West.

"Our impact fees are paying for the majority of the costs for the new properties on Sunshine," said Finance Manger Anita Kressel.

The board discussed an unfinished business item, which centered on the creation of legislation to amend chapter 191. Due to time restrictions and other factors, the commissioners agreed to revisit the item next year.

Commission Chair Cathy Kruse motioned to cancel the agreement with People, Smith and Mathews, which was presently working on the legislation.

After some discussion the board approved a motion to revisit the issue during next year's session.

According to Pringle, the board would have to enter into a new agreement with the law firm handling the creation of the legislation.

"We would need to contract People, Smith and Mathews again come next year to get chapter 191 amended. We might also consider approaching other fire districts as well to spread out the costs. There are presently about 17 independent districts," said Pringle.

Under new business was a motion by Kruse to find ways to shorten commission meetings.

According to Kruse, the reading of staff reports is taking up a considerable amount of time and can be read by commissioners prior to the regular meeting. Commissioners could then reserve the right to ask specific questions if necessary prior to each meeting. This would not apply to any agenda item that is to be voted on now or in the future.

Kruse motioned to eliminate staff presentations, which was unanimously approved.

Board commissioners also approved other items under new business, which included the extension of audit services by Tuscan and Company P.A. for three more years and to set dates for their upcoming budget workshops, tentative budget hearing and final budget hearing.

The following tentative dates were set and approved for the budget workshops; July 24 at 4 p.m. and Aug. 7 at 4 p.m.

The Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District will hold its next regular meeting on June 26 at 5 p.m. The meeting are held at fire station 104 located at 3102 16th St., S.W., Lehigh Acres.



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