Captiva Fire Board Approves Annual Audit and Listens to Update | News, Sports, Jobs – SANIBEL-CAPTIVA


The Captiva Island Fire Control District Commissioners signed off on the prior year audit at their recent meeting and received an update on lease agreement negotiations with the county.

At the June 8 meeting, the committee voted unanimously 3-0 to approve a resolution accepting the district’s audited 2020-21 financial statements prepared by CliftonLarsonAllen. Prior to the vote, company director Chris Kessler presented the final report.

“The audit was clean” he said. “No exits.”

Kessler said the company came to a clear opinion in its analysis of the district’s finances, adding that the numbers provided were the actual determined numbers and there were no adjustments.

“Everything here is consistent with previous years”, he said.

Kessler pointed to the comparison of income and expenses on the district’s income statement.

“Everything is pretty consistent from year to year” he said.

Commissioner Jeffrey Brown applauded Fire Chief Jeff Pawul’s handling of the budget.

“You do a very good job of budgeting,” he said.

Pawul explained that there were savings that were not attributable to him. For example, the district was unable to send staff to all the trainings it had planned due to the ongoing pandemic.

“But we stay very close to what we budget, what we bring in and what we spend,” he said.

Also during the meeting, Pawul provided an update on ongoing negotiations with Lee County EMS to house and staff an ambulance at the Captiva station for no less than $3,000 per month.

Currently, the county has one ambulance in Sanibel that serves both islands.

“We should be pretty close to the end of a lease,” he said.

Pawul explained that county staff accepted the offered $3,000 and are now working on the terms. If an agreement is presented to the departmental commission, it will be for the 2022-23 budget year.

He noted that if approved, the big issue the county could face is ambulance staffing.

Commissioners have expressed interest in finalizing all details by July or August.

Also at the meeting, Pawul provided the committee with an overview of some key elements of next year’s budget that will need to be discussed in the coming months. He cited rising costs for fuel, equipment, repairs and maintenance and suggested creating a long-term plan to deal with this increase.

Pawul came up with the idea of ​​securing a boat lift for the fire rescue vessel to get the transport out of the salt water and preserve it, possibly tapping into grant funds to partially cover it. He noted that the chassis and floor of the beach rescue vehicle, which is 8 years old, are rusty and no longer repairable.

“I think we’ve reached replacement life, not repair life,” said Paul.

He pointed to the new state-mandated performance audit for fire districts, adding that San Carlos District was quoted at around $70,000 for one and Bonita at $72,000 to $75,000.

“I really don’t know what to expect on this” said Paul. “I have the number set at $50,000.”

He also noted salaries and pay scale increases.

“Personnel is the most important item in anyone’s budget”, said Paul.


– Pawul reported that the Captiva Fire Station was featured in a recent issue of Firehouse magazine. She, along with others in the state, was highlighted in an article about resorts designed and built to meet specific community needs and Florida’s extreme weather demands.

– The district responded to 50 calls for service in May.

“At this point, we are above where we were last year,” he said to compare the numbers from the beginning of the year.

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