Fire budget fans flames

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Tempers clash at meeting over contract, coverage issues

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

Chiefland City Manager Kevin Gay took his request for more money in Chiefland Fire Rescue's contract with the Levy County Commission to its budget workshop on Tuesday and what resulted was a fiery clash of words  followed by a cooling off period — until the commission's next meeting on Sept. 3.

Before Gay took the podium the commission struck deals with Williston and Cedar Key to provide small increases in their budgets for equipment but not personnel. 

Cedar Key Fire Chief Robert Robinson asked for $4,000 to pay for personnel, money to be equally matched by the city. But the commission instead voted to provide $5,000 for materials and equipment. The money will be provided in addition to the $64,539 paid by the county under contract for providing coverage for unincorporated county areas surrounding Cedar Key and providing mutual aid to county fire districts. 

Williston Assistant Fire Chief Danny Wallace asked  6 percent increase — about $12,000 — but the commission said it would only approve a one-time allotment of $12,600 for materials and equipment.

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