Cape Coral Fire Department free to spend controversial fire fee

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CAPE CORAL, Fla. –  The Cape Coral Fire Department is ready to spend some of the $24 million that’s been tied up in court.

Monday, Cape Coral leaders voted to officially free up the fire service assessment fund.

“We funded on failure and now with the FSA money, we are able to purchase and update equipment that is older in age,” said Division Chief Steve Olson.

Before the fire assessment funds became available, the fire department would have to wait until an item broke and then make budget adjustments to replace it. Now, the FSA money will be used to buy equipment firefighters need to save lives before they break.

“It gives us the opportunity to update our current equipment to current standard, it also allows us to replace or move forward with a set replacement plan,” said Olson.

The Florida Supreme Court tied up the controversial FSA funds for almost two years after residents sued, saying it was illegal. During that time, the city continued to collect money from homeowners without spending it.

Last month, the courts free up nearly $24 million of taxpayer money to be used to invest in the city’s needs.

The city will also use the extra funds to improve things like roads, repair old buildings and buy new vehicles for the police and fire departments.

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