Fire service agreement expires, commissioners working on new agreement


The Gainesville and Alachua County commissions on Thursday night decided to come up with a new fire service agreement after the previous one expired Thursday night after 30 years.

The previous agreement dictated that the department closest to the fire responds no matter whose jurisdiction it is. Officials say the new agreement will at least address the most critical types of calls.

"City staff and county staff will look over those call types, how many call types there are that meet that category and go back to our respective commission and talk about the funding and how would they be compensated at what rate," Theus said.

Alachua County Fire and Gainesville Fire will report back to their respective boards on June 7th, to hopefully come up with this new plan.

"We have offered many extensions for the FSAA: a 1-year, 6-month, 8-month... and they haven't accepted anything," City Commissioner David Areola said.

The county has decided to not continue the agreement in order to save money for more county stations. The county said if they would have continued the agreement they would have had to pay the city $1.8 million to respond to calls outside city limits.

The concern is that could lead to longer response times for some homes.

“How can we provide services inside the city, outside the city, closest unit of response so we can make sure the residents and the citizens of Alachua County and Gainesville that their needs are met,” said deputy Harold Theus, Alachua County Fire Rescue chief. “But do so in a fair and equitable manner that doesn’t cost the county tax payers an overwhelmingly amount of money and doesn’t rob too much from the city for the services inside the city of Gainesville.”

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