ARTICLE XXIII. - ALMARANTE FIRE DISTRICT
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Editor's note— This article derives from Ord. No. 88-50, adopted Dec. 20, 1988.
Section 1. - Creation; boundaries.
(1) Upon this ordinance becoming a law all of the following area in Okaloosa County shall be established as a special fire protection district which is created for the purpose of providing fire protection for the benefit of the residents within said district, to be known as the Almarante Fire District in which name it may sue and be sued, lease, own, possess and convey real and personal property, by purchase or gift, or otherwise, in order to carry out the purposes of this ordinance:
Begin at the southeast corner of Section 1, Township 4 North, Range 22 West; thence north along the east line of Range 22 to the northeast corner of Section 25, Township 6 North, Range 22 West; thence west to the Yellow River; thence southerly along the said Yellow River to the south line of Section 6, Township 4 North, Range 23 West; thence east to the point of beginning. All being in Okaloosa County, Florida.
Less and except:
That portion of property within the city limits of the City of Laurel Hill.
(2) Any federal lands or lands within a municipality included in the boundary of the district as described herein shall be excluded from the district and its jurisdiction. If any area, tract or parcel of land within the boundaries of the district shall hereafter become annexed to a municipality, such area, tract or parcel of land shall be excluded from the district effective the next January 1 following such annexation by a municipality. Nothing contained in this ordinance shall preclude any municipality from annexing lands to the territorial limits of the municipality even if such land is included within the district.
(3) Should any part of the territory covered in this ordinance be held not to be included herein, then this ordinance shall continue in effect as to the balance of the territory.
Section 2. - Board of fire commissioners [—Generally].
The business and affairs of the district shall be conducted and administered by a governing board of five (5) fire commissioners, who shall be qualified electors residing in the district. Said fire commissioners, upon their appointment or election and qualification as provided in Section 3 and annually in January, shall organize by electing from their number a chairman, a vice-chairman, and a secretary-treasurer or, alternatively, a secretary and a treasurer. The commissioners shall not receive any compensation for their services as such but shall receive compensation for out-of-pocket expenses incurred for the conduct of the business and affairs of the district. Each commissioner shall, before he enters upon his duties as such commissioner, execute to the governor for the benefit of the district, a good and sufficient bond in the sum of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) with a qualified corporate surety conditioned to faithfully perform the duties of such commissioner and to account for all funds to come into his hands as such commissioner. All premiums for such surety on all such bonds shall be paid from the funds of the district.
The board of fire commissioners shall be the governing body of the district.
(Ord. No. 97-34, § 1, 8-5-97)
Section 3. - Same—Terms of office.
The board of fire commissioners shall consist of the following people: Mr. Tim Dixon, Mr. James Willis, Mrs. Nancy Hollingsworth, Mr. Ricky Majors, and Mrs. Claudina Riley. Said commissioners shall hold and remain in office until their successors are elected and qualified in the general election in the year 1994, unless such commissioner ceases to be qualified to act or is removed for cause. In the 1994 general election, three (3) commissioners shall be elected for four-year terms and two (2) commissioners shall be elected for two-year terms. The three (3) candidates attaining the highest number of votes shall be elected for the four-year terms and the two (2) candidates receiving the next highest number of votes will be elected for two-year terms. In subsequent elections, each commissioner shall be elected for a term of four (4) years. They shall qualify for office in the same manner as is provided for other general county officers. In the event any commissioner ceases to be qualified to act through resignation, removal for cause, other compelling reason, or due to the failure of any candidates to qualify for the office, the vacancy thereby created shall be filled by appointment by the majority of the remaining members of the board of fire commissioners of the district until the expiration of the term of the member who has become disqualified or failed to qualify for election.
(Ord. No. 91-11, § 1, 2-19-91; Ord. No. 93-03, § 1, 1-26-93; Ord. No. 93-35, § 1, 8-18-93)
Section 4. - [Same—] Officers; meetings.
The officers of the board of fire commissioners shall have the duties usually pertaining to like officers. The board of fire commissioners may adopt its own bylaws for conducting its business and meetings. A record shall be kept of all meetings of the board and in such meetings concurrence of a majority of the commissioners present constituting a quorum shall be necessary for any affirmative action by the board. The meetings of the board and minutes of the meetings shall be open to the public at all times.
Section 5. - Audit.
The books and records of the district may be audited annually at the expense of the district, by the auditor general or other qualified auditor retained by the district. Copies of any audit so procured shall be submitted to the board of county commissioners.
Section 6. - Powers.
(1) The board of fire commissioners shall have authority to:
(a) Acquire by gift, lease or purchase, a fire station or stations and such fire fighting equipment and other equipment and supplies as deemed necessary for the protection of the district and to make and enter into contracts with firms, individuals, corporations or municipalities relating to the purposes of the district.
(b) Make reciprocal or interlocal agreements with the officials of other fire departments in adjacent or neighboring areas to provide fire protection or mutual assistance in providing the same.
(c) Adopt rules and regulations not inconsistent with any portion of this ordinance as it may deem necessary in the transaction of its business and in carrying out the provisions of this ordinance, and may promulgate and enforce reasonable fire regulations by resolution, copies of the same to be filed with the board of county commissioners and posted in the fire district at the fire station.
Section 7. - Fire marshal; firemen.
The board of fire commissioners may hire such employees as are necessary to implement the purposes of this ordinance at salaries to be determined by the board of fire commissioners.
Section 8. - Funding.
(1) The board of fire commissioners is hereby authorized to levy and impose an annual assessment or service charge against all property in the district in an amount adequate to fund the operations of the district, and shall advertise and conduct all public hearings necessary for the imposition of the same in the manner required by Florida Statutes prior to adoption of the resolution hereinbelow specified in subsection (2).
(2) The aforementioned annual assessment or service charge shall be levied and imposed by the board of fire commissioners by resolution which shall be reduced to writing and a copy of such resolution shall forthwith be forwarded to the property appraiser of Okaloosa County, the tax collector of Okaloosa County, and the board of county commissioners. The board of fire commissioners shall comply with all state laws relative to the levy of the annual assessment or service charge.
(3) All assessments to be levied and collected pursuant hereto shall be due and assessed and certified by the property appraiser of Okaloosa County and collected by the tax collector of Okaloosa County in the same manner as municipal property taxes of the various municipalities in Okaloosa County, Florida.
(4) The annual assessment or service charge hereby authorized to be levied, assessed, and imposed shall thereupon become a lien upon property within the district and enforced in the same manner as liens for ad valorem taxes. Such lien for such district annual assessment or service charge shall be a first lien superior in dignity to all other liens except ad valorem tax liens.
(Ord. No. 90-33, § 1, 8-7-90; Ord. No. 94-21, § 1, 5-24-94)
Section 9. - Indebtedness.
(1) The board of fire commissioners is authorized to borrow money for the purposes of the district, not to cumulatively exceed the total annual assessment roll, and pledge for the payment thereof mortgages and collections on such roll, and give anticipation notes, which shall be the sole security for such loans. Neither the district nor the commissioners shall be personally or individually liable for the loans or any part thereof. In the event of such pledge, it shall be the duty of the commissioners, upon collection of the assessment roll so pledged, to apply the first proceeds thereof to the payment of principal and interest payments on such loan for which such assessment or lien was pledged until full payment of the loan.
(2) Except as provided in this ordinance, the board of fire commissioners shall not create indebtedness or incur obligations for any sum or amount which it is unable to pay out of the district funds properly appropriated therefor in its current annual budget.
(Ord. No. 93-43, § 1, 9-21-93)
Section 10. - Use of funds.
No funds of the district shall be used for any purpose other than the administration of the affairs and business of the district, for the construction, care maintenance, upkeep, operation and purchase of fire fighting equipment which shall meet the standards of the fire marshal and the underwriters' association, fire stations, installation of fire hydrants, payment of public utilities, payment of insurance premiums, salaries of employees, and such other expenses as the board of fire commissioners may determine to be for the best interests of the district.
Section 11. - Penalty.
Any person, firm or corporation who violates any of the provisions of this law or any of the regulations adopted pursuant to the provisions of this law, upon conviction therefor, shall be punished as provided by Section 125.69, Florida Statutes (1987).
Section 12. - Election ballot.
The board of county commissioners shall cause to be printed on ballots for the election of the board of fire commissioners of the district the names of any qualified persons as candidate for the offices of the members of the board of fire commissioners who shall have qualified as prescribed by law.