(1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Employing agency” means any municipality or any county, the state, or any political subdivision of the state, including authorities and special districts employing firefighters.
(b) “Firefighter” means any person who meets the definition of the term “firefighter” in s. 633.30(1) who is certified in compliance with s. 633.35 and who is employed solely within the fire department of the employing agency or is employed by the division.
(2) QUALIFICATIONS FOR SUPPLEMENTAL COMPENSATION.—
(a) In addition to the compensation now paid by an employing agency to any firefighter, every firefighter shall be paid supplemental compensation by the employing agency when such firefighter has complied with one of the following criteria:
1. Any firefighter who receives an associate degree from a college, which degree is applicable to fire department duties, as outlined in policy guidelines of the division, shall be additionally compensated as outlined in paragraph (3)(a).
2. Any firefighter, regardless of whether or not she or he earned an associate degree earlier, who receives from an accredited college or university a bachelor’s degree, which bachelor’s degree is applicable to fire department duties, as outlined in policy guidelines of the division, shall receive compensation as outlined in paragraph (3)(b).
(b) Whenever any question arises as to the eligibility of any firefighter to receive supplemental compensation as provided in this section, the question, together with all facts relating thereto, shall be submitted to the division for determination, and the decision of the division with regard to determination of eligibility shall be final, subject to the provisions of chapter 120.
(3) SUPPLEMENTAL COMPENSATION.—Supplemental compensation shall be determined as follows:
(a) Fifty dollars shall be paid monthly to each firefighter who qualifies under the provisions of subparagraph (2)(a)1.
(b) One hundred and ten dollars shall be paid monthly to each firefighter who qualifies under the provisions of subparagraph (2)(a)2.
(a) The employing agency is responsible for the correct payment of firefighters pursuant to the provisions of this section. The division may review, in a postaudit capacity, any action taken by an agency in administering the educational incentive program. The employing agency shall take appropriate action when a postaudit shows that an action taken by the employing agency was in error.
(b) Each agency employing firefighters who are eligible for this compensation shall submit reports containing information relating to compensation paid as a result of this section to the division on March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31 of each year.
(c) There is appropriated from the Police and Firefighter’s Premium Tax Trust Fund to the Firefighters’ Supplemental Compensation Trust Fund, which is hereby created under the Department of Revenue, all moneys which have not been distributed to municipalities and special fire control districts in accordance with s. 175.121 as a result of the limitation contained in s. 175.122 on the disbursement of revenues collected pursuant to chapter 175 or as a result of any municipality or special fire control district not having qualified in any given year, or portion thereof, for participation in the distribution of the revenues collected pursuant to chapter 175. The total required annual distribution from the Firefighters’ Supplemental Compensation Trust Fund shall equal the amount necessary to pay supplemental compensation as provided in this section, provided that:
1. Any deficit in the total required annual distribution shall be made up from accrued surplus funds existing in the Firefighters’ Supplemental Compensation Trust Fund on June 30, 1990, for as long as such funds last. If the accrued surplus is insufficient to cure the deficit in any given year, the proration of the appropriation among the counties, municipalities, and special fire service taxing districts shall equal the ratio of compensation paid in the prior year to county, municipal, and special fire service taxing district firefighters pursuant to this section. This ratio shall be provided annually to the Department of Revenue by the Division of State Fire Marshal. Surplus funds that have accrued or accrue on or after July 1, 1990, shall be redistributed to municipalities and special fire control districts as provided in subparagraph 2.
2. By October 1 of each year, any funds that have accrued or accrue on or after July 1, 1990, and remain in the Firefighters’ Supplemental Compensation Trust Fund following the required annual distribution shall be redistributed by the Department of Revenue pro rata to those municipalities and special fire control districts identified by the Department of Management Services as being eligible for additional funds pursuant to s. 175.121(3)(b).
(d) Salary incentive payments to firefighters shall commence in the first full calendar month following the initial date of certification of eligibility by the Division of State Fire Marshal.
(e) Special fire service taxing districts are authorized and empowered to expend the funds necessary to ensure correct payment to firefighters.
(5) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.—The payment of supplemental compensation and expenses of the administration provided by this section is found to serve a state, county, district, and municipal purpose and to provide benefit to the state and to its counties, municipalities, and districts.
History.—ss. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, ch. 81-287; s. 2, ch. 82-189; s. 5, ch. 83-115; s. 130, ch. 83-216; s. 1, ch. 84-244; s. 5, ch. 88-209; s. 1, ch. 89-99; s. 8, ch. 91-189; s. 51, ch. 93-193; s. 10, ch. 95-250; s. 18, ch. 95-379; s. 438, ch. 97-102; s. 97, ch. 99-255; s. 1403, ch. 2003-261.