Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Old department proposes lease deal

KEY LARGO -- A property lease agreement proposed by the town's former fire department was expected to be turned down by the Key Largo Fire-EMS District at its meeting Monday night.

Results from the meeting were not available by press time.

"They have a moral obligation to give up the property," said Scott Robinson, who sits on the board of directors for the new fire department. The former department owns the mile marker 99 property upon which sits the district's fire station.

While the district was to turn down the Key Largo Volunteer Fire-Rescue Department offer of just over $1,900 a month to lease the property, it may make a purchase offer.

Dirk Smits, attorney for the district, said an offer of $15,000 for the Fire Station 24 property would likely be offered to the former department. This money would be equivalent to the closing costs of what the department paid when the county gave it the property, Smits said.

If the permanent lease of $1,900 is refused, the district will become holdover tenants on the property.

"I don't think they want to escalate things to an eviction level," Theron Simmons, who co-counsels with Smits, said of the old department.

The $1,900 deal was brokered between the former department and district board member Jennifer Miller.

The attorneys for the district were not sure of the justification for $1,900 per month. The former department's liabilities include electricity for a building that sits next to the fire station, insurance and payments on a fire chief's vehicle.

In other news, the district is bringing a new ladder truck to its garage later this month.

Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department Batallion Chief James Griffeth, along with district board member Bob Thomas, are planning to leave Wednesday, Jan. 15, for a two-day trip told Holden, La., for a final inspection of the $600,000 vehicle.

Following the trip, Griffeth said the truck will be driven down by the manufacturer. Training on the vehicle is set for the last week of January, and it should be in service the following week.

"The truck delivery is a month ahead of schedule," he said.

The new truck will be based out of Station 24. Also new to the station are a squad truck and tanker truck. These vehicles cost approximately $450,000 and $300,000, respectively.


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