Published: Aug 31, 2010 4:37 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 31, 2010 1:37 PM EDT

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. - Monday night the North Fort Myers Fire District Board of Commissioners held an emergency meeting to discuss the millage rate increase that was slated to be on the November Ballot.

The Board voted unanimously to remove a referendum from the November ballot. The referendum was to increase the Fire Districts millage rate from 2.5 mils to 3.0 mils.

There was consensus between the Board of Commissioners, the Districts Union, and administration that the district's residents would be over burdened with another tax increase. North Fort Myers residents are already being overwhelmed by unemployment, falling home prices other taxes and fees, the board felt that if the district could balance the budget, then don't increase fire taxes at the present time. In preparing for a loss of revenue in the past 2 years the district has utilized many cost saving benefits.

The district has reduced its suppression staffing through a voluntary separation plan.

Unfortunately, the district has laid off 4 non suppression personnel.

The district limited the amount of take home vehicles to only those that would respond to an emergency outside normal working hours.

The Union has made huge concessions in the past 2 years in both benefits and salary. Average pay for district employees was reduced $3,000.00 to $5,000.00 per employee.

The district was planning on building a new fire station but those plans are put on hold.

The district is planning to close a fire station so they can keep more trucks on the road from the other 3 stations.