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Pinellas Park sweetens firefighting pot in offer to Kenneth City

KENNETH CITY — This town would get a refurbished fire station complete with fire truck and three firefighters under a deal proposed by Pinellas Park.

If the council accepts the deal, it would be the first time since the mid 1990s that the town would have firefighters there at all times. About 13 years ago, the town disbanded its volunteer department and contracted with the Lealman Fire District. But last month Lealman voted to cancel the contract because Kenneth City had annexed several properties from that unincorporated area.

This month Lealman fire Chief Rick Graham told Kenneth City his district was willing to continue providing fire service to the town if it agreed to pay the tax money the fire district lost by those and any future annexations. The payments would last for four years.

Kenneth City attorney John Elias refused those terms but said the town is open to further negotiations.

In the meantime, Pinellas Park has offered to take over fire service for Kenneth City. As part of the offer, Pinellas Park says it will pay up to $50,000 to refurbish the town's former fire station. The town would pay Pinellas Park back at the rate of $5,000 a year.

Pinellas Park said it would also place a fire truck in the station and would place the name "Kenneth City" on the vehicle. Three firefighters would be stationed in Kenneth City at all times.

Under the Lealman contract, fire calls are run from stations in Lealman.

Kenneth City would pay Pinellas Park the same amount it would pay Lealman for this fiscal year.

In the 2010-2011 fiscal year, it would pay Pinellas Park $212,405 for the fire service plus a $5,000 reimbursement for the refurbished fire station, for a total of $217,405.

Lealman would have gotten $212,256 for that time period. The cost would increase by 3 percent each year after that, as did the fees under the Lealman contract.

The Pinellas Park contract price would be renegotiated in 2014.

If You Go

Kenneth City workshop

Kenneth City Town Council members are scheduled to discuss the town's fire service during a Wednesday night workshop. The 7:30 meeting will be in the Community Hall, 4600 58th St. N. The meeting is open to the public. The council is also scheduled to discuss red light photo enforcement. For information, call (727) 498-8948.

Pinellas Park sweetens firefighting pot in offer to Kenneth City 10/24/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 24, 2009 4:31am]

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