Thursday, July 19, 2018
Public safety

Pinellas County approves settlement with Suncoast fire district

SEMINOLE — County commissioners on Tuesday approved a settlement with the Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District, closing out a lawsuit filed last year by the district over millions of dollars of emergency medical services funding.

The unanimous vote finalized the agreement the fire district's commission had already approved last week. It mainly guarantees county funding for at least two paramedic positions in the district going forward and makes certain district projects eligible for Penny for Pinellas dollars if voters renew the 1-cent sales tax in November.

The finalized agreement includes one amendment at the request of the district calling for a meeting between county and district officials within 60 days of the Penny election.

The lawsuit, filed by the district last May, demanded that $5.2 million of EMS funding that district officials said was withheld by the county be restored to district coffers. The agreement, which was the result of a months-long mediation process between the two governments, awards none of that money.

The district spent about $86,000 in legal fees throughout the process. The county used staff counsel.

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