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Get construction permits or pay dearly

Crystal River City Council gave its final approval this week to stronger penalties for people who fail to get city building permits before construction work begins. Previous penalties were double the permit fee, which could range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. The new ordinance, approved by the council Monday evening, establishes a fine as high as $500 and jail time up to 60 days. The council had pushed for the new ordinance after the March storm when some people began work without getting the necessary permits.

City will purchase new fire trucks

During this week's regular meeting, Crystal River City Council approved a schedule to replace fire trucks lost in the March storm. All five trucks flooded in the storm will be replaced by February and the new vehicles will be bought using insurance money and up to $250,000 in city reserve funds. The first replacement truck arrived in the city last week. The council also voted Monday to table a request that the city's volunteer firefighters be put on the city payroll as part-time workers to help them with income tax complications. City Manager Merv Waldrop said that several questions had arisen about other city benefits for part-time employees, and he planned to bring the issue back at a future meeting.

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