Rescue services

Martin County Provides Grant to Indiantown to Benefit Fire Rescue Services

COUNTY OF MARTIN – Will money speak? In the case of the county and town of Indiantown, which wants to get rid of Martin County Fire Rescue and start its own department, the magic number could be $ 300,000.

On Tuesday, the county offered Indiantown $ 300,000 per year for five years, or $ 1.5 million in total, to help improve water flow in the village and ultimately assist the county firefighters when they are on emergency call.

But the money comes with conditions. Indiantown would be required to maintain county fire departments for a period of five years, County Prosecutor Sarah Woods said on Tuesday.

The offer comes two weeks after county officials told a committee meeting that negotiations were impossible as long as Indiantown maintained it was paying too much for rescue services.

With plans to separate from the county department, Indiantown has hired a consultant to consider alternatives, but some county officials and residents of Indiantown have expressed opposition.

Discussions about establishing its own fire department in Indiantown have simmered since the village was incorporated, and the county has set aside funds in anticipation of the loss of Indiantown’s taxes that go into fire services. fire relief, said administrator Taryn Kryzda.

“I’m not worried, frankly, because I prepared for it,” she said about two weeks ago.

The $ 300,000 about-face would come from the American Rescue Plan Act. The county is expecting $ 31.5 million for the federal COVID-19 stimulus package, county officials said.

Following:As Indiantown plans to get rid of Martin County firefighters, split faces opposition

Following:St. Lucia, Martin spending millions of dollars from the CARES Act; Indian River leaves $ 14 million on the table

Indiantown currently pays Martin County about $ 5.4 million per year for fire rescue services before factoring in a county tax incentive to Florida Power & Light, reducing the cost to $ 4. $ 6 million.

The budget for the general village fund is $ 4.9 million for the current fiscal year.

County commissioner Sarah Heard was the only vote against Tuesday for offering money to Indiantown, arguing it looked like “handouts” to the village.

“It seems to me that this is not a good idea. It creates an exception to our eligibility rules for these grants before anyone applies,” Heard said. “We cannot subsidize one group at the expense of all the others.”

The county’s offer will be discussed by the village council at its May 13 meeting, village manager Howard Brown said.

“It sounds positive,” Brown said of the offer. “It is good news that the county is open to negotiations with our board of directors.”

Lina Ruiz is TCPalm’s surveillance reporter for Martin County. You can reach her at [email protected], on Twitter @ Lina_Ruiz48 or at 321-501-3845.