Largo Implements Grant for Fire Equipment and Saves the City $117,800
By Leo Coughlin
LARGO - In these days where every penny counts (at least with some folks) the City Commission gave the green light at its meeting Tuesday night to proceed with implementing a federal grant that will save the city $117,800 for needed fire fighting gear.
Keeping in mind the ever present financial pinch, the commission also authorized an increase in fees for Recreation Department activities in the first reading Tuesday.
The $277,200 grant came from the Department of Homeland Security and will partially pay for the cost of replacing self-contained breathing apparatus, which is critical in fire fighter use.
Originally, $425,000 had been earmarked in the fiscal year 2011 budget for purchase of the equipment, but in seeking a vendor, the city managed to get a price of $395,000 by piggy-backing on a contract that Lake County already had.
Under terms of the grant, the city has until next April 15 to spend the funds for the purchase of the equipment.
One of the features of the equipment is a safety alert system, which emits light and sound if a fire fighter stops moving for more than 30 seconds.
Without the grant, the entire cost of the equipment would have come out of the general fund, which is very hard pressed.
Submission of the application for the grant was okayed by the City Commission in May of 2009.
The membership Recreation fee for Largo residents has been doubled to $10 while non-residents have been hit with a 12.2 percent increase, bringing their total annual fee to $55.
Various increases were imposed on aquatic and swimming pool activities as well as fees at the fitness center at the Highland Center. There has also been an increase in rental fees at the Southwest pool.
Greens fees and cart rental costs have been increased at the golf course.
In other action, in an item on the consent docket, the commission okayed lending $120,000 to Catholic Charities Housing that will go to building housing for low-income families.
The organization assists families that are homeless or have very low income.
The commission heard an excellent briefing from Matthew Anderson, the city's housing commissioner, on the Community Development Block Grant Action Plan. This is a wide ranging and complex plan that embraces a variety of assistance programs and is, like many other projects, suffering from the financial crunch.
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