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WFD gets equipment money

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By Lou Elliott Jones

 The Levy County Commission wrangled with fire department budgets on Tuesday striking funding deals with Williston and Cedar Key to provide small increases in their budgets for equipment.

The decisions on fire funding came at a budget workshop following the commission's regular meeting.

Williston Fire Department requested a 6 percent increase in funding — about $12,000 — but the commission said it would only approve a one-time allotment of $12,600 for materials and equipment.

Williston Assistant Fire Chief Danny Wallace presented the request for a 6 percent increase from this year's $201,226 that it receives from the county to provide coverage for the unincorporated county areas surrounding Williston and mutual aid for county fire districts.

Because the county cannot just cut a check to the City of Williston, the fire department will submit purchase orders and invoices for the items purchased for the contract.

“We would prefer the increase on the contract, but we can accept that,” Wallace said.

In the case of Cedar Key, Fire Chief Robert Robinson asked the county commission for money to pay volunteers who respond to calls in the unincorporated county or or cover the CK station while other CK personnel respond to calls in the county.

“That $4,000 increase will strictly go to manpower and the city is putting in $4,000,” Robinson said.

Robinson said the cost of having someone on hand needed to be covered. He said, “ This weekend we had a call in Rosewood. We covered it.” He said at the same time the Levy County EMS ambulance stationed outside Cedar Key was out, so he had to have a volunteer at the station in case a call came in.

County Commissioner Danny Stevens suggested that instead of the county paying $4,000 for personnel that the county instead add $5,000 for equipment.

“At another time and another place I could go along with helping 50-50 with personnel,” Stevens said.

Commission Chair Ryan Bell said, “We want you to have the equipment and the city could move the money for the personnel.”