By Tim Pallesen
Gulf Stream’s bill for fire protection from Delray Beach will jump 35 percent to $428,198 this year.
“It’s a result of annexation. Delray Beach is providing additional service because our land mass has increased,” Gulf Stream town manager William Thrasher said.
Delray Beach charged $315,580 annually before Gulf Stream annexed 16.6 acres of condo buildings on its northern border last year.
The annexation added about 150 residents to the oceanfront town that recorded a population of 786 in the 2010 census.
The $112,618 increase includes $72,877 owed by Gulf Stream to Delray Beach for the time period immediately after the March 2011 annexation vote until the current budget year began on Oct. 1.
Gulf Stream tried unsuccessfully to recoup that money from Palm Beach County after the county stopped providing fire-rescue services last year.
A separate Delray Beach contract for fire-rescue services to Highland Beach will increase only slightly, from $2,951,890 to $3,085,100, in the next fiscal year.
Delray employs 22 firefighter/paramedics at the fire station owned by Highland Beach.
Delray Beach fire chief Danielle Conner has requested an overall budget of $23.5 million next year for a 3.23 percent increase over this year’s $22.8 million budget.
The request includes two new hires, a support services manager and technical support specialist, who were denied last year. The fire department now has 147 employees.
Conner said more than $500,000 will be saved in next year’s budget because of a new contract with firefighter/paramedics that freezes salaries through 2014, increases employee pension contributions by 50 percent and eliminates two holiday days. Ú