The Lake County Board of County Commissioners held a public meeting on Tuesday, April 14, 1998, at 7:00 p.m., at the Plantation Clubhouse, Plantation at Leesburg, Leesburg, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: G. Richard Swartz, Jr., Chairman; and William "Bill" H. Good. Others present were: Marlene S. Foran, Deputy Clerk.
There were approximately 300 citizens present.
Mr. Mal LaShay, President, Plantation Residents Organization, welcomed those present to the meeting this date, and introduced Mr. Paul Fielder; Mr. Dick Davis; Mr. Carl Famina; Mr. Walt King; and Mr. Earl Thiele, General Manager, Plantation at Leesburg, who would be assisting with the microphones. He further introduced Commr. Richard Swartz, Jr.; Commr. William "Bill" Good; Mr. Bill Compton, Chief Executive Officer, Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services; and Mr. David Jordon, Regional Director, Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services. Mr. LaShay noted that the purpose of the meeting was to allow Commr. Swartz the opportunity to present the proposals for fire and emergency medical services for Lake County, and to provide an opportunity for the residents to ask questions that pertain to the proposals. He stated that the Plantation Residences Organization Board has not taken a formal stand on this issue.
Commr. Richard Swartz, Jr., Chairman, Lake County Board of County Commissioners, stated that the two principal proposals before the Board of County Commissioners, at this time, were the Fire Advisory Board Option 3 proposal and the Florida Hospital Waterman/Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services proposal. He stated that the efforts and concerns of the residents have brought to the attention of the Board of County Commissioners that there were residents in Lake County that want a higher level of service for fire protection and emergency medical services and have indicated a willingness to pay for the higher service, and that there were residents that have indicated that they are not inclined to pay more dollars for a higher level of service, which makes it difficult for the Board of County Commissioners to find a proposal that addresses the concerns of those two extreme positions. He briefly discussed Florida Hospital Waterman's history in the community and the exclusive contract for ambulance service advance life support in Lake County. He stated that it was important to find the best way to spend limited tax dollars and to provide a better level of fire protection; therefore, he requested that Florida Hospital Waterman/Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services submit a proposal for fire and emergency medical services. Commr. Swartz stated that the brochure titled Frequently Asked Questions on the Fire Protection Plan, which was available at the back of the room, was an attempt to answer questions that have been asked and provides what the cost would be for achieving the level of service that would be provided by the Florida Hospital Waterman/Florida Regional EMS proposal, and the Fire Board Option 3 proposal.
At this time, Commr. Swartz presented a slide presentation and discussed the existing level of service, and the proposed level of service for each of the above noted proposals. He further discussed a chart illustrating the net operating cost and other costs associated with said proposals. He noted that the Florida Hospital Waterman/Florida Regional EMS proposal was for combined advanced life support/ambulance and fire service at a net operating cost of $4,100,000; and that the Fire Board Option 3 proposal was for basic life support and fire service at a new operating cost of $9,650,000. He explained that the Florida Hospital Waterman/Florida Regional EMS proposal would result in a residential assessment of $59.00 and that the Fire Board Option 3 proposal would result in a residential assessment of $128.00. He expressed concern with the level of dialogue that has occurred regarding the issue of fire service in Lake County and introduced Mr. Arlan Kemp, District Chief, Florida Regional EMS, and a volunteer Battalion Chief, Lake County Fire and Emergency Services; and Mr. Tom Siegfried, head of the proposed fire service program, Florida Regional EMS, and noted that these gentlemen were an example of the quality of personnel that would be involved in the Florida Hospital Waterman/Florida Regional EMS plan.
At this time, questions and comments were presented by local citizens pertaining to fire service, cross training of personnel, level of service, fire equipment, basic life support/advanced life support, volunteer fire fighters, public versus private fire service, performance bonds, and the insurance rating system. Commr. Swartz responded to each question and comment.
Commr. Swartz stated that a Board of County Commissioners workshop has been scheduled on April 21, 1998, at which time the Chairman of the Lake County Fire Advisory Board would present a review of the Florida Hospital Waterman/Florida Regional EMS proposal, Mr. John Wesley White would present Strategies for Lake County Fire and Emergency Services, and County staff would present a report and evaluation of the Fire Board Option 3 and Florida Hospital Waterman/Florida Regional EMS proposals.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
__________________________________ G. RICHARD SWARTZ, JR.,CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK