In July of 1956, the "Ozona, Palm Harbor, Crystal Beach Volunteer Fire Department"; (OPC) was organized to provide fire protection to the residents of those communities. The Fire District was chartered by the State of Florida in the early 1960's. When first organized, the department operated with all volunteers who also built the fire station. That building served as the main station until the construction of Station 65 in 1988. The name shortened in 1979. As of July, 2000, the Department's legal name became Palm Harbor Special Fire Control and Rescue District. For daily operations, the name used is Palm Harbor Fire Rescue. The District is currently 20 square miles with a population of approximately 62,000 residents. The District is mainly a bedroom style community with 70% of the residents working outside the District. Most commercial activity is with strip shopping centers located along U.S. 19 and U.S. Alt19.
The District's final station was built in 1991. Unless the District experiences serious future growth, its need for stations has been satisfied.
For a number of years, funding was done through Special Assessments where residents paid a determined amount for each dwelling. In 1985 the District requested that the Pinellas County Legislative Delegation approve a charter change allowing the District to tax residents and businesses based on assessed value of property (ad valorem). There was some resistance to this change so the Delegation had a four (4) question ballot created for the referendum. Included on that ballot were questions that ranged from whether the voters felt the District should go to ad valorem taxation with a 2 mil cap, to whether the District should remain the same or become a Dependent District under Pinellas County. Because there were too many options, the voters were confused and subsequently elected to have the district remain status quo.
To read the Charter mentioned above click here: PHFR Charter
In 1996 the voters approved a .50 mileage cap increase.