Bluffs Wraps Up Largo Fire Contract
By Leo Coughlin
BELLEAIR BLUFFS - A few jots and tittles remain to be done, but recognizing the good will and intentions of the parties, the City Commission agreed at its meeting Monday night to leave the final details of execution to Mayor Chris Arbutine on the fire and rescue agreement with Largo.
There are two aspects of the agreement the largest of which is the agreement itself. Subordinate to this, but of key interest, is the status of the fire station in the Bluffs which Largo will use for operations.
All the details involving the rental of the station have not been resolved, but the overall agreement, which will run to September, 2014, is set and Arbutine will handle all the final aspects.
Belleair Bluffs will pay $244,225 yearly to Largo for fire and rescue services subject to increases not to exceed 5 percent a year in the future and a possible reduction if Largo expands its service.
That expansion could go to the unincorporated areas south of Belleair Bluffs which had been served by the Bluffs.
The savings under the new arrangement will amount to $50,000 to $60,000 for Belleair Bluffs.
Echoes from the March election still linger, with Dave Shimkus, an unsuccessful challenger to Arbutine for mayor, continuing attacks on Arbutine.
Shimkus says that Arbutine is guilty of election violations and says that he has asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which usually concerns itself with weightier criminal violations, to investigate.
Belleair Bluffs had a referendum in September which gave the City Commission authority to contract for fire and rescue services.
Shimkus maintains that the law was broken in that city officials had advocated for approval of the question but the information distributed was limited to explaining what the vote was all about.
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