POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Polk County Fire Rescue Chief Robert Weech provided a verbal resignation Wednesday afternoon to the county, with a written resignation expected Thursday.

“While we are deeply saddened at his impending departure, we are excited for him to return to his hometown and provide top-notch, quality fire services,” Deputy County Manager Joe Halman wrote in a statement. “Make no mistake about it, Chief Weech is a professional and we will miss him dearly,”

His planned last day is July 29, according to Polk County communications director Mianne Nelson.

The Lighthouse Point City Commission voted unanimously Tuesday evening to appoint Weech as its next fire chief.

Among other attributes, city leaders referred to his local ties as a reason to choose him.

According to sources close to Weech, the chief has lived separately from his family for the last five and a half years he has been with Polk County Fire Rescue.

A representative from the Lighthouse Point Clerk’s Office said the city has a population of 10,500 people.

Polk County Fire Rescue serves over 700,000 people.

The department he is expected to leave has been dealing with staffing issues and mandatory overtime for several years as the county faces an explosive growth in population.

Earlier this year, Chief Weech announced a $1.2 million plan to address the paramedic shortage.