The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Thursday, April 16, 1998, at 10:00 a.m., at the Clubhouse, Pennbrooke Fairways, Leesburg, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: G. Richard Swartz, Jr., Chairman. Others present were Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
There were approximately 200 people in attendance.
Mr. Frank Haas, President, Florida Leisure Communities, and Developer of Pennbrooke Fairways, opened the meeting by informing those present that the meeting was being held in response to a previous meeting that was held, regarding the issue of fire services for Lake County. He stated that the purpose of the meeting was to answer questions from the residents of Pennbrooke Fairways, regarding the matter.
It was noted that Commrs. Gerber and Good were scheduled to be present at the meeting, however, due to other commitments, were unable to attend.
Mr. David Schenerman, a member of the Resident Volunteer Fire Services Program for Pennbrooke Fairways and a newly appointed member of the Lake County Fire Advisory Board, addressed those present, stating that he and some fellow committee members attended the meeting that was held recently at The Plantation, regarding the issue of privatizing the County's fire services. He stated that approximately 20 communities were represented and that it appeared most of them were against privatization. He then addressed the issue of the Whitney Road Fire Station, stating that it is the goal of Pennbrooke Fairways to get said fire station open for business, with paid firefighters, along with volunteers, noting that they are willing to do whatever it takes to do so.
Commr. Swartz addressed the issue of privatizing fire services in Lake County, noting that the purpose for doing so is to try to provide a higher level of fire service for the County, as well as increasing the level of service for medical calls. He distributed a handout (Frequently Asked Questions on the Fire Protection Plan), containing 28 questions and answers about the issue of privatization and the following chart, indicating two proposals being presented - one from Florida Hospital Waterman/Florida Regional, which he feels is the least expensive way to provide fire and emergency services for Lake County, and one from the Lake County Fire Advisory Board, which he reviewed with those present and answered questions regarding same:
Florida Hospital Waterman/ Fire Board
Florida Regional Option 3
Net Operating Cost $ 4,100,000 $ 9,650,000
Less Current Assessment -3,200,000 -3,200,000
New Operating Cost 900,000* 6,450,000**
County Admin. Cost 300,000 750,000
Equipment/Stations 1,000,000*** 1,300,000***
Total New Cost 2,200,000 8,500,000
S/F Res. Assessment 59.00**** 128.00****
Comm/Indust. Assessment .101**** .219****
* The Florida Hospital Waterman/Florida Regional proposal is for combined Advanced Life Support/Ambulance and Fire Service. It results in a minimum of two paid fire fighters/paramedics responding to calls for service.
** Total New Operating Costs for Basic Life Support and Fire Service.
*** Annual Capital Costs over five years. First year cost in both proposals would be approximately $2.5 million. The difference would be paid using existing funds from the County Fire Budget.
**** Estimated costs are based on the existing special assessment formula ($35.00/s.f. for residential and .06/s.f. for commercial and industrial buildings). Actual assessment amounts may differ.
Considerable discussion occurred regarding the issue, at which time Commr. Swartz; Mr. Tom Siegfried, former Fire Chief for Altamonte Springs (24 years) and the gentleman who would be the Fire Chief for Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services, should the Board choose to go to privatization; and Mr. David Jordan, Regional Director, Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services, answered questions and tried to allay many concerns the residents and various firefighters who were present had regarding the privatization issue.
Commr. Swartz informed those present that he felt privatization was the best thing for Lake County, or he would not be recommending it. He stated that the current contract with Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services does not expire until September 30, 2000, and the County has to honor the contract until said date.
It was noted that the Board of County Commissioners has scheduled a workshop meeting for April 21, 1998, at 1:00 p.m., in the Board of County Commissioners Meeting Room, on the second floor of the Administration Building, Tavares, Florida, to further discuss the issue of fire services and the privatization of same
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:50 p.m.
___________________________________________ G. RICHARD SWARTZ, JR.,CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK