Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo to cover fire service for Belleair, maybe Belleair Bluffs, too

Largo has won the contract to provide fire services to Belleair starting Oct. 1.

As a result, the Belleair Bluffs Fire Department may go out of business and Largo could wind up with that fire contract as well.

The contract with Belleair constituted about $500,000, or nearly half of Belleair Bluffs' $1.1 million fire department budget — a reduction that will make it difficult for the 12-man, one-station department to survive, authorities said.

"There are options out there," said Chris Arbutine Sr., Belleair Bluffs mayor. "We could raise taxes in effort to run a smaller department. It does appear that the Largo option is the more clear cut, but it's up to the residents. Whatever we decide to do, we have to put it to a vote."

Belleair Bluffs commissioners will discuss the issue at 7 p.m. Monday during their regularly scheduled meeting.

If commissioners decide it's not feasible to provide fire services, the matter would go to a referendum of the community's 2,200 residents.

If voters decide that it's too expensive to continue with their own fire department, the city will then have to look for a fire department.

And that's where Largo comes in.

Largo has the capacity to handle fire services for Belleair Bluffs, said Largo fire Chief Michael Wallace.

Largo will likely take control of the Belleair Bluffs fire station No. 43 at 682 Indian Rocks Road. Wallace said the 12 firefighters at that station will be employed by Largo.

There are 130 firefighters and five stations with the Largo fire services. Its coverage area will go from 30 square miles to about 35 with the addition of the town of Belleair.

"There will be no change in the way fire services are provided to Belleair or Belleair Bluffs," Wallace said. "The only difference is the people will now be served by Largo."

The domino effect began earlier this month when Belleair commissioners, in a unanimous vote, decided not to renew a five-year contract with Belleair Bluffs and chose Largo.

Largo won the bid to provide the services for $453,000 a year. Clearwater said it could be done at $464,600 a year. Belleair Bluffs initially bid $533,600 a year and later lowered that figure to $425,000, but it was too late.

Town Manager Micah Maxwell said Belleair will pay about $120,000 less than it did the year before on fire services.

"My main concern, whatever happens, is that the citizens don't notice any change at all, that it be a smooth transition," said Chief Patrick Competelli of the Belleair Bluffs Fire Department. "Nobody is a bad guy here. It came down to dollars and cents."

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at or (727) 445-4174.

Largo to cover fire service for Belleair, maybe Belleair Bluffs, too 05/16/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 16, 2009 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees


    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact


    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show


    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.