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  1. #1
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Default Orange County Fla and Orlando talk Consolidation???

    Orlando Sentinel

    Orlando, Orange begin talks on combining some services
    By Rich McKay | Sentinel Staff Writer
    Posted April 7, 2005


    Talks began Wednesday on whether Orlando and Orange County will save money by combining efforts to provide some public services.

    During the next 18 months, the 11-member Orange County/City of Orlando Consolidation of Services Study Commission will examine whether some services the city and county provide separately could be run better and cheaper by merging them.

    "It is the citizens who want us to do this," said Scott Justice, who served on the Charter Review Commission, which helped create the new study commission.

    The panel, which was authorized by Orange County voters in November, may examine services ranging from fire protection to who cuts grass at parks and who runs the dispatch centers for 911 calls.

    The committee's work is expected to be controversial because money, jobs and political power are at stake.

    Already, Steve Clelland, president of Orlando's firefighters union, has sued the county, asking the court to disband the commission because it is overstepping what the county's charter allows.

    The suit has not been resolved, but the county has asked a judge to throw out Clelland's suit, County Attorney Tom Drage said. A hearing is set for May 4.

    County political leaders are eager to merge fire-protection services. About a year ago, County Fire Chief Carl Plaugher told the Orange County Commission that at current growth rates, in a decade the county would need a bigger agency than projected property-tax revenue could pay for.

    County politicians see a merger as a way to save money on personnel, equipment and fire stations. But some city leaders oppose it because they think the county could get a better fire department at the expense of city taxpayers.

    The study commission's members, appointed by the city and county commissions and Central Florida lawmakers, include lawyers, business executives and former politicians.

    The five county-appointed members are Cesar Calvet{CQ}, Jimmy Goff, Douglas Kelly, James "Monty" Knox and Frances Pignone.

    The four city-appointed members are Don Ammerman, Derek Burke, Irby Pugh and Kathy Putnam.

    The two appointed by the Central Florida legislative delegation are Jim Kallinger and Richard "Dick" Spears.

    Members spent most of Wednesday on nuts-and-bolts issues such as reviewing the state's open-meeting and public-records laws.

    The committee will make recommendations, and voters will have to approve any changes.

    The committee's meetings are open to the public. The next one is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. April 18 at the Orange County Commission Chambers, 201 S. Rosalind St., Orlando.

    Rich McKay can be reached at 407-420-5470 or rmckay@orlandosentinel.com.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


  2. #2
    makes good girls go bad BLSboy's Avatar
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    Cap, this is finally hitting the bigger new media. Central Florida News 13 reported on this issue back in Dec. when the County and OFD had a dispute.
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  3. #3
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    I will believe it, when and if it happens. That idea has been floating around for cloase to ten years. The city and county politicans do not play ell together.

  4. #4
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Hernando county tried to take over Brooksville in 2003-04 and were unsuccessful. It began by them taking a huge part of the coverage area in 2002 which caused a lost $350,000 in budget for the city fire department. Now the city is annexing this area and preparing a contract with AMR for medical response and kicking the county of the city completely. The Brooksville hospital is moving to a new location outside the city but has already asked the county to provide backup water supply and have indicated they will also be asking to be annexed back in.....
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Not being familiar with Orlando/Orange County area in particular (No, I have never been to Disney World )

    I read this:
    County Fire Chief Carl Plaugher told the Orange County Commission that at current growth rates, in a decade the county would need a bigger agency than projected property-tax revenue could pay for.

    County politicians see a merger as a way to save money on personnel, equipment and fire stations. But some city leaders oppose it because they think the county could get a better fire department at the expense of city taxpayers.


    As saying:
    County is growing relatively low-density. Doesn't have the tax base per square mile to afford paid firefighters & keep response times within the goals. Don't know, I'd guess they're looking at 4 minute times

    The City, as cities are typically a bit denser, can afford the coverage but figures the County wants to use their tax money and "dilute" the resources to provide coverage to the lower density areas.

    Hmmmm, quick Google research:
    Orange County, pop. 970,000 in 907 sq. mi.
    Orlando City, pop. 180,000 in 77 sq. mi.

    Now, take Orlando out of the over-all Orange County numbers...
    (Yes, I know I'm discounting other cities, Reddy Creek, etc...I'm just doing rough estimates!)

    Orlando has 5,500 citizens/sq. mi.

    Orange County, less Orlando, has 790,000 in 830 sq. mi. or 951 citizens/sq. mi.

    Now maybe all of Orange County is growing in a dense area...but since the Fire Chief says their growth is outstripping tax revenue, sure sounds like a classic case of the low-density development running headlong into the desire for prompt fire protection. And the lower your density, the more stations & firefighters per population you need to pay for to achieve those numbers!

    That said, the other number I always keep in my mind is the *minimum* population overall and density for a full-time, full-service department is 24,000 and 800/sq. mi. Now, that's not scientific, but those figures seem about accurate in the 3 platoon parts of the country. (The four-platoon northeast, I figure on 30,000 total and 1,000 overall). Get to those levels, you can staff a decent sized department and have enough stations to meet 4 minute response times without the Tax Payers screaming bloody murder. Not that some don't do it for less, not that some tax payers scream anyway, but those numbers seem to hold up pretty well when you look at what's out there. So that said, Orange County is over the 800 persons/sq. mile range so I don't think they should be screaming too loudly...but I'm sure compared to Orlando itself their fire protection is relatively expensive! (Figuring you can protect several times that 800 residents/sq. mile number for the same cost in stations, apparatus, and people as it does to protect just 800...)
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