Local and State News

Dorcas Fire District – The Reason Behind HB 897

With audio from Rep. Maney

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Dorcas, Fla. — Dorcas Fire District is no longer a Independent Fire District. With so many questions and no clear answer, the Crestview Broadcasting Company went looking for answers.

In 1984 the Florida Legislature created several independent special fire districts, one of which was for the Dorcas area in North Okaloosa County.

Those independent fire districts were to be governed by a five-member board of commissioners that were to be elected by the citizens those districts served.

Initially the fire districts were volunteer departments. Most have remained volunteers while a few, such as the North Okaloosa Fire District, converted to a full-time paid department to be able to provide the citizens of their district with better service.

On October 27, 2023, Okaloosa County posted notice of intent to seek legislation. The legislation was to change the independent status of the Dorcas Fire District to a dependent fire district authorizing the local governing body to serve as the fire district board.

On December 18, 2023, Representative Patt Maney filed HB 897. The bill recreated the Dorcas Fire District as a dependent fire district. Recreated being an important word.


HB 897 was signed by FL Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday, June 13th.

HB 897 – Bill Text – Enrolled

On Tuesday, June 18th, the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners voted to suspend all operations of the Dorcas Fire District and entered into an agreement with the Almarante and North Okaloosa Fire Districts as well as the City of Crestview’s Fire Department to provide fire related services to the Dorcas community. A press release provided by the public information officer for the county stated, The Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners will decide at a future Dorcas Fire District Board meeting how the District will operate and be governed. What that means is, at a future meeting The Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners will reconvene as the Dorcas Board of Fire Commissioners.

With no one stating the exact reason what brought this to be, Radio Stations WJSB & WAAZ contacted Rep. Maney’s office and requested to know why. Instead of providing a quote in an email, Rep. Maney requested to come to the radio station in Crestview to do an interview answering that question as well as any others we might have. It should be noted that Rep. Maney did not request to know the questions ahead of time.

During that interview, we asked Rep. Maney what happened to cause him to get involved.

We then asked if he would hold a public meeting to answer questions from the public.

We will air the complete interview on a future episode of View Point, the public affairs program for the Crestview Broadcasting Company.

Representative T. Patterson Maney is a member of the Florida House of Representatives serving District 4 since 2020. He can be reached at the following.

Capitol Office

  • 303 House Office Building
    402 South Monroe Street
    Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
  • (850) 717-5004

District Office

  • Suite 201
    115 Miracle Strip Parkway Southeast
    Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548-6018
  • (850) 226-5029

Email: patt.maney@myfloridahouse.gov





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