A recent letter to the editor brought up the fact that financial information on the West Manatee County Fire District is not easily available.
The latest information that I have access to is 2006 but can give you a foundation for investigating further. This information comes from Patrick McConnell.
Manatee County has 320,000 people with 10 fire districts. Each one is an opportunity for exploitation of the taxpayers. At that time, there were 61 calls for fire. Using the operating budget, each fire response cost almost $96,000.
Keeping in mind that we have 43 fire personnel, in 2009-10 the total wages and benefits were $105,000 per employee. There were 16 administrators, six support people and only 21 actual firefighters. They work 24 hours on and 48 hours off; they are actually paid while they sleep. In a month, they work 10 days, part of this sleeping.
Consider their administrative building. Purchased for $1.1 million, 8,037 square feet is dedicated to administration. Since there are 16 administrators and six staff, this gives an average of 365 square feet for every person. To put it in prospective, this would be an office 12 feet by 30 feet.
Look at Anna Maria Island's fire district to get an example of extravagant spending and waste of taxpayers monies. There are only two buildings that are 60 feet high and they already have a perfectly good 75-foot ladder truck. But the chief wanted a new 100-foot ladder truck that they had no use for and it was purchased at a cost of $870,000.
How about a tour of all the extravagant buildings housing the various fire departments. I bet it would be an eye-opener. Let's see the current financial documents along with calls serviced. Taxpayers/voters, wake up to the waste in Manatee County.