Longboat staff to roadshow Fire Station rebuild plan to Key voters

Editor & Publisher

Longboat Key Town Staff will soon start a roadshow on the island to inform voters about the plan to build a new fire station on the south end of the Key and to renovate the north station.

To pay for this endeavor, voters will have to approve $5.895 million in bonds during the March election this year.

The south station is especially in need of replacement according to Fire Chief Paul Dezzi due to its substandard condition and lack of adequate space to accommodate the needs of the male and female staff. In addition to gender and code requirements, there are also issues of ADA accessibility that will be addressed.

A new station on the south end will cost about $4,624,111, and that will buy the town a new, single-story, 10,400 square foot facility.

The renovation of the north fire station, which is 9,169 square feet, is estimated to cost slightly over $1 million. This will include interior renovations, roof strengthening and new bathroom facilities.

Last fall, the Town Commission decided to use the issuance of bonds to pay for the project. The cost will be anywhere between $11 and $16.28 per year as a tax increase on a $500,000 home if the bonds are paid over 20 years.

Last week, the commission directed staff to implement a public outreach and education strategy to inform voters.

Florida law prohibits either staff or the commission from directly advocating for the project, but they can make an appeal through information and through answering questions.

The scheduled dates to learn about the fire station renovation plan will be published on the Town’s website: www.longboatkey.org.

The strategy providing information through public outreach meetings as well as brochures that will be distributed in property owner’s utility bills is similar to the initiative employed by the town in educating voters on the undergrounding referendum and beach bond referendum in years past.

The scheduled dates so far include:

• Federation of Condominiums – Jan. 20 at 9:30 a.m.

• Sleepy Lagoon Homeowners’ Association – Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. at Public Works

• Town Hall Meeting – Jan. 25 at 9:30 a.m. in Town Hall Commission Chambers

• Longbeach Village Association – Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. at Longboat Drive North

• Democratic Club LBK – Feb. 13 at 12 p.m. at Portofino Restaurant

• Kiwanis Club – Feb. 15 at 11:30 a.m. at Portofino Restaurant

• Town Hall Meeting – Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. at Town Hall Commission Chambers

• North End Coalition Meeting – Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Christ Church

• Community Open House – Mar. 3 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at North Fire Station

• Rotary Club – Mar. 6 at 5 p.m. at All Angels’ Episcopal Church

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