KEY LARGO -- The Key Largo Fire-EMS District has been virtually silent in trying to secure county sales tax funds. Until now.
In November, Monroe County residents approved a referendum to extend a one-penny sales tax that was set to expire in 2018 until 2033 in order to allow the county to borrow against future revenue to pay for its sewer systems construction and other infrastructure projects.
Many entities, including the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District, have been vocal in their demands for a piece of the action. The sewer district is expecting $3.2 million a year.
After a meeting between Fire-EMS District board member Bob Thomas, district accountant Peter Rosasco and County Administrator Roman Gastesi, the fire district is now asking for $350,000 per year from the county, with possibly more to come later.
Currently, the county has set aside $150,000 for the fire district for this year's sales tax expenditures, with nothing guaranteed in the future, Gastesi said.
Thomas told the Free Press he plans on trying to secure any funding he can.
"If it's out there, we can go after it," he said. "We probably won't get as much as the sewer district, but we should get something."
The district was expected to discuss the revised request at its July 22 meeting. Also at the meeting, the district was also expected to discuss the proposed property tax rate. It is tentatively set at $100 for every $100,000 of taxable property value. The rate is expected to go down in the coming weeks as the board pares down budget requests from the fire department and Key Largo Ambulance Corps.
The district taxes Key Largo residents and uses the funds to pay for fire, emergency and ambulance services.
Results from that meeting were not available by press time.