Workshop to consider fire merger

OKEECHOBEE — Should the city and county fire departments merge?

A joint workshop meeting of the Okeechobee City Council and the Okeechobee County Commission is planned for Nov. 12, 6 p.m. in commission board room of the Historic Okeechobee County Courthouse.

The agenda proposed by the city includes:
• Feasibility of county providing fire service;
• Call outs not covered;
• Inspections to businesses;
• Response times;
• Fire plan and inspections;
• ISO rating;
• City equipment;
• Required additional staffing for county; and,
• Financial costs to city for services.

Commissioner David Hazellief opined: “We need the city to answer two questions: What service do you want us to provide? What mechanism will be used to pay for these services?”

He said the agenda proposed by the city covers too much to discuss in one meeting.

“We are going into this meeting open minded to gather information,” said Commission Chair Burroughs. He said they will probably need more than one meeting to discuss the issues.

“None of us want to decrease the level of service to anybody,” said Commissioner Hazellief.

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