To:†††††††††††††††††† Mayor Allen Green

††††††††††††††††††††††† Vice Mayor Mary Martin

††††††††††††††††††††††† Councilman Dennis Kennedy

††††††††††††††††††††††† Councilman Robert Pohlmann

††††††††††††††††††††††† Councilman George Steindoerfer


From:††††††††††††† Kenneth W. Parker, City Manager


Subject:††††††††† Fire Levels of Service


Date:†††††††††††††† November 15, 2010




When the City Council reviewed the levels of service for the Port Orange Fire and Rescue Department a few weeks ago, the City Council requested certain information and data.The City Council requested the following:


  1. An analysis of reducing the number of Paramedics to 22.
  2. An analysis of reducing personnel in the following increments, 3, 6, 9, and 12.
  3. An analysis of using SUV or Transport Capable Vehicles equipped with fire suppression capabilities.
  4. SAFER Grant




In the recently completed study for the Halifax Civic League, it was noted that there was excess number of paramedics in the County.One of the recommendations was that agencies should review the number of paramedics employed by each agency to determine whether all of the paramedics are needed.


The City of Port Orange has in the past stated that if an individual receives a paramedic license that they would be paid at the paramedic wage.†† In the existing Firefighter contract, only Drivers and Lieutenants are required to receive additional pay for being a paramedic.All others are established within the budget parameters.There are two components of the budget, the position authorization and the appropriation of the funds.


When the City Council previously reviewed levels of service, the City Council determined that a total of 22 paramedics including the Lieutenants and Drivers would be eligible to be compensated for being a paramedic.Based upon the individuals who currently hold paramedic certifications and are being compensated for their paramedic license, it would result in a net reduction of four being compensated.Commanders and Division Chiefs who hold paramedic licenses are not compensated for their licenses.Therefore, they are not counted in the 22.The savings to the City is $16,654.This is for a partial year.It is anticipated that this reduction would be implemented on January 1.Beginning October 1, the City would see an additional savings as the amount would be adjusted for a complete year.The amount may be more depending on the level of service selected by the City Council related to staffing levels.


In speaking with Russ Rafferty, the Port Orange EMS Chief, he voiced concern about not being able to provide paramedics at every station on every shift.Should a situation occur when the City would be short a paramedic, it would require the City to either run the unit as a Basic Life Support (BLS) unit or to call in a paramedic on overtime.Depending on the staffing level selected by City Council, it is possible that the number of paramedics would drop below 22.I bring this to your attention since the vast majority of all Fire Department calls are EMS calls for service.†††


Staffing Alternatives


Let me state something upfront.I know that some of my statements will draw criticism from some circles.They will point out that I am a City Manager not a trained fire professional and therefore am not qualified to make certain statements or judgments.My philosophy may be different than some in the Fire Service.My statements are based on my belief in equity of services for our residents, all of our residents. My comments will be based upon my review of the situation and input from the Fire Command Staff.


As you know, I encourage a diversity of opinion among City staff.I do not require them to agree with me.I believe it is healthy for the City Council to see the opposing opinions and options.In those instances where my opinion is different I will express that opinion.For more than 26 years, I have allowed staff to present options in staff reports that maybe different from my own recommendations.


I can almost guarantee you that there will be a difference of opinion presented on Tuesday night.However, when the final decision is made by the City Council, we will abide by and implement the decision.Our staff will support the decision fully.We fully understand that the policy decision rests fully with the City Council. We are a resource to provide you with information and options in order to assist you in arriving at a decision. It is staffís job to provide you with the information and provide options for City Council to consider.It our job to make sure that the information is complete and that you have the right information to make the decision.††


Port Orange is not the only city looking at staffing levels.Recently, the City of New Smyrna Beach adopted a policy of ďendeavor to staff with three but set their minimum staffing level at twoĒ.As you reduce staffing on an engine company, the risks increase as well.I am of the opinion that browning out a station in order to maintain three on an engine company is an option but not the best option based on the types of calls run by Port Orange Fire and Rescue. When you analyze the call volumes, the City of Port Orange Fire and Rescue Department runs high volumes of EMS calls and low volume of fire calls.Some fire professionals disagree with my analysis.It is their preference to respond from the outer stations to the middle and brown out the middle station if staffing can not be maintained at a proper level.I am familiar with one city that at one time staffed all of its fire stations with two persons and staffed a SUV with two additional individuals.If the call was EMS, only the District Station responded.If it was a fire, then the SUV with the two additional firefighters would respond along with the engine company.City Council Member Steindoerfer made a comment about staffing levels.He observed that maybe Port Orange should look at staffing stations based upon the type of calls rather than on a static model.He offered an opinion that maybe Port Orange could staff three stations with three on the engine with two of the stations being staffed with only two.As you know, Council Member Steindoerfer is a retired Pittsburgh, PA firefighter and a strong advocate for public safety.As you review staffing levels, it will be about risks.There are always risks involved.We will never totally be able to mitigate all risks.We can minimize the risks but never completely eliminate them.As the community trustees, it is the City Councilís responsibility to balance the risks with the cost and determine the proper amount of risks to assumed and the cost associated with that risks.It is logical that the more individuals that you place on the scene of a fire, the lower your risks factor becomes for those individuals working the fire.


It is logical that the fewer fires that your organization responds to, the lower the risks.However, even then, there are risks involved.Some years ago, the City did a demonstration on residential sprinklers.I, along with members of the City Council, and members of the development community, were invited to sit in a mobile home that was equipped with residential sprinklers. Fire was set to the unit with us inside.The sprinklers deployed and extinguished the fire.Very little damage was done to the home. Last year, the City Council participated in a joint meeting with the Cities of Edgewater and New Smyrna Beach.One of the presentations made at that meeting was the value of residential sprinklers.


After the demonstration in the mid-1980s, it was suggested that residential sprinklers had the potential of changing the staffing composition of the Fire Department.Homebuilders stated that it would add about $1,500 to the cost of the home and therefore making homes unaffordable to numerous people.Because of the decision not to require residential sprinklers, we can only speculate on what could have been.What savings could have been achieved in equipment and staffing?What we do know is that our staffing levels are being driven by our need to provide adequate fire protection. Earlier this year, I presented an option about fire sprinklers.I talked about encouraging new construction to install fire sprinklers in new residential properties and encourage property owners when they retro-fit there homes to do likewise.It may be good for us to provide fire impact fee credits for new construction as an incentive for installation of fire sprinklers in residential properties.If the City had adopted a local ordinance in 1986, our discussion about staffing and equipment would be much different.††† ††


There is no disagreement in the call volume percentages between EMS and Fire.When you analyze the call volume provided in the last Fire and Rescue Annual Report 72.3% of all Port Orange Fire Department calls were classified as medical related calls.2.7% of the calls are classified as fire.25% are classified as other types of calls.Of the fire number, 81 actually were structure fires in commercial, industrial, or residential units.Of the fire number, 107 were grass, land or forest related fires.Of that fire number, 25 were automobile fires.


Of the medical calls, only about 7% of those calls require an emergency transport to the hospital.Our numbers are consistent with what has been reported by EVAC.There are calls that the City and EVAC respond to that require ambulance transport but not with lights and siren.There are some Advanced Life Support (ALS) calls that require paramedic attention but the patient can be transported to a medical facility by private automobile. There are other medical calls that do not require a paramedic level of care. The availability of paramedic care is a great advantage to the citizens of Port Orange even when they are responding to a Basic Life Support (BLS) level call.A good example is responding to a diabetic call.It could range from being a BLS level call to an ALS level of call.Often times, the responding unit will not know the level until they arrive on the scene.That is why I continue to support our ALS level of service for all our citizens.The expectation level of our citizens is why the City Council at the meeting where paramedic service was discussed decided to retain ALS but limit the number of paramedics that the City has authorized to 22.


I have read the recent report on emergency medical response.Each of you received a copy of the report. What is suggested in this report does not contradict, nor are they in conflict with the findings in the study conducted by the University of North Carolina.In reading the study, I came away with the conclusion that the two tiered system response model may in fact produce better outcomes. It does not address the cost of the two tiered system only the effectiveness of the system.I would encourage you to read the study for yourself and draw your own conclusions.


Earlier this year, the County Medical Director implemented a new Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) protocol.It was designed to make sure that the correct unit is dispatched rather than a multitude of units being dispatched.In some cases both Fire and EVAC are needed.In other cases only Fire or EVAC are needed.The Regional Communications Dispatch Center (RCC) communities implemented the protocol with slight modifications in August.We are monitoring the results.It is too early to determine whether the new protocols are reducing the number of dual responses.Iím of the opinion that the protocol will have to be modified further as we see the results.It is my normative opinion that both EVAC and Fire and Rescue are still duplicating calls that one or the other could handle.


A question was asked about the average response times for Port Orange Fire versus EVAC.When you look at the reported times for both Port Orange Fire and Rescue and EVAC, you will see that there are slight differences but not material.Port Orange Fire and Rescue averages 5 minutes, 6 seconds from call received for all calls.EVAC averages 5 minutes, 20 seconds from call dispatch.A question has been raised if EVAC and Fire and Rescue use the same method of reporting response times.Fire and Rescue response time is calculated from the time the call is received until the time the unit reports arriving on the scene.By contract, EVACís response time is calculated from the time of dispatch until the arrival on the scene.


For many years I have stated that Fire and Rescue Departments are staffed and equipped based on a fire delivery model.That means that our staffing levels are dictated based upon fire risk rather than analysis of the types of calls handled.It is based on the numbers of people that are needed on the ground to fight a residential fire.In the recent Halifax report, it was stated that only Daytona Beach maybe the only local city capable to fight a major fire without calling in additional assistance.Even in that case, there have been examples where Daytona Beach had to call upon adjacent Departments for assistance.


Many years ago, the Southeast Volusia municipalities that provide Fire and Rescue services erased jurisdictional boundaries.These municipalities began responding in true first response/closest unit mode.No longer did the southeast cities have to rely only upon their staffing levels, mutual aid, and equipment.The network of 13 stations were knitted together to provide the residents with the closest available unit for both fire and medical emergency.This has worked extremely well for nine years.The key to its success is the dispatch system that we regionalized almost nine years ago.What we have learned from our experience in Southeast Volusia is that our Departments operate better in an interdependent format rather than each municipality attempting to operate independently.As staffing levels are reduced, we become more dependent upon each other since no one entity has all the resources needed to respond independently.There are those large events that require Port Orange to assist its neighbors as well as our neighbors being called upon to assist us.But, still, in the areas where savings can be achieved, there is no agreement to mutually share those cost and achieve even more operational efficiencies as well as being more effective in service delivery.


Recently, I stated to the City Council that a deficiency in the Halifax Civic League study was in their organizational assumption.If we are to be truly effective, we must look at the organization from a totally new perspective, not just shoe horning the existing operation into a new organization.


You will hear studies conducted by ICMA and others being cited.You will hear NFPA standards being discussed.In the firefighting mode, there are certain jobs and functions that are recommended to be performed.When you read the studies and reports, you will see that the optimal staffing levels are based upon each job and function being staffed and performed.In the real world, often times it is necessary for multiple assignments to be performed by a person.That is not optimal but it is reality.There are certain jobs and functions that must be performed in order to have a safe working environment.Safety must remain a priority regardless of staffing levels.As staffing levels are reduced, the risks increase.The strategies and tactics have to be modified in order to minimize the risks.


As a member of ICMA, I am well aware of the ICMA reports, studies, and book series. I have used them extensively when I was teaching on a regular basis.The reason that ICMA publishes the books, studies and reports is to assist local governments in the decision making process.ICMA recognizes that each community is unique.It recognizes that each community must evaluate and establish its own level of service. The ICMA studies and book series provide local governments with excellent resources to assist them in establishing levels of service.One of the core principles of ICMA is that locally elected officials are elected to make policy and policy decisions.ICMA understands that situations are different and that City Councils must balance a variety of risk factors when making a decision.


I do realize that staff changes will causes adjustments in tactics and strategy of how the department will fight a fire.That is included in the report prepared for me by the Fire Department.Because of staff reductions that have already occurred, it has meant that the City is evolving into a defensive response model rather than offensive model in our approach to firefighting.That means that the department will fight the fire from the exterior of the building rather than interior.It means that the department will have to adapt tactics to address additional staffing changes. Our department has been in the forefront of making these types of changes. Some time ago, Chief Weber instituted tactical changes. One example is the department placed foam on the Cityís fire apparatus.As staffing is reduced and tactics have to be changed, safety is a priority.In this new budget environment, the City Council understands and supports our safety efforts.Protecting our personnel and the citizens of Port Orange has always been a priority of the City Council and our departments.Because of fewer individuals, the City Council should anticipate an increase in property value loss.That is part of the risk factors that the City Council needs to consider.


Over the past three years, the Port Orange Fire and Rescue Department has reduced its staffing levels.When you look at the Command structure, it is different today than it was in 2008.When you look at operations the number of people assigned to the line companies are different today than they were in 2008.The Cityís authorized staffing level is down 10% from what it was in 2008.Like the Port Orange Police Department, the number of Firefighters is among the lowest in the County on a per thousand population basis.The expenditure on a per capita basis is budgeted at $131.93.This compares with the actual expended budget of $132.45 for the year that ended on September 30, 2010.For the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2009, the City expended $147.04 per capita on Fire Services.


Currently, the City authorized staffing level is 18 per shift.Recently, the City Council agreed to freeze two vacant positions.Two of the shifts are now operating with 17 and one shift is operating at 18.On November 9, the City Council approved a Budget Resolution that placed the funding of those two vacant positions into reserves.As you know, the savings from those two frozen positions amounted to $138,074.If the staffing levels were modified so that there were 17 personnel assigned to each shift, then the City could expect to save an additional $47,841.The total savings would amount to $185,915 if the shift level as established at 17.We could expect slightly more savings next year since one of the positions is for a partial year.I have attached an organizational chart that reflects this reduction.There will be times when the staffing level would be 14 because of our contract provisions.


If the City Council desires to keep the staffing level at 18 but still wants to reduce staff by three positions, you always have the option of moving the Division Chiefs to become shift leaders.Ormond Beach uses this method.The Division Chiefs still have their primary duties and responsibilities.However, rather than having the Division Chiefs working days, they are assigned to a specific shift and work 24/48.The Commanders would be reassigned to Lieutenants and some of the Lieutenants would be reassigned to Driver-Engineers.Then some of the Driver-Engineers would be assigned to Firefighter or to paramedic.From an operational mode, this is not as efficient nor does it provide the programmatic support needed today.There will be times when the shifts would operate at 15 because of contract provisions.


The movement of the Division Chiefs to shift will result in program reductions as well.For example, it will be very difficult for Chief Rafferty to monitor the flu shot program.That program would probably end.Although the flu shot program is still covering its cost, it may be a program that can now be provided by others.When the City began the flu shot program, no one was offering the shots.Today, virtually every Pharmacy is offering flu shots.Is it time to allow the private sector to take on that duty and responsibility?Chief Rafferty is the Cityís Infectious Control Officer.That means he responds when bodily fluids contaminate one of our employees.If he were to move to shift, we would need to have an Infectious Control Officer available to respond to employees who have been contaminated.Currently, Chief Rafferty responds when any of our employees, not just fire, come in contact with bodily fluids.


If the City Council determined that each shift would be staffed with 16, then an additional three fire positions would be eliminated.Because all these positions are filled, it would require lay off of three people.The savings would be an additional $99,533.Again, an option of assigning the Division Chiefs to shift is available in order to provide the additional staffing.If the Division Chiefs were moved to shift, then you would have 17 on line. There would be times when the shift would be operating with 13 or 14 individuals because of contract provisions.


If the City Council determined that an additional three positions would be laid off, it would produce an additional savings of $103,288.Staffing levels at stations would change.This establishes a shift force of 15 or 16 if the Division Chiefs are moved on shift to supervise directly the shifts.There would be times when the shifts would be operating with 12 or 13 individuals because of contract provisions.


If the City Council determined that an additional three positions would be laid off, it would produce an additional savings of $114,436.Also, it would require an organizational change in the Chief ranks.It would eliminate the Division Chief for Operations and Division Chief for Emergency Medical and assign them to the shifts. Under this option, there would be 15 assigned to each shift.There would be times when the shift would be operating with 12 people.Our contract provides for up to three individuals to be off.We will not be able to correct that feature in the contract until we begin negotiating a successor contract.


When you read the Fire Departmentís discussion, you will see that its focus is on fire service.The Fire Department is in the same position as the Port Orange Police Department in terms of personnel.On Tuesday, I will be providing you with a comparison of our staffing levels to other communities within Volusia County.Also, I will be providing you with our expenditure per capita as compared to other communities in Volusia as well.


With reduced staffing or transferring the Division Chiefs to shifts, the City Council needs to understanding that certain functions will have to be done differently.We will be shifting duties around among the remaining existing personnel.In the Fire Departmentís own internal analysis of what needs to be transferred, I have a differing opinion.To some extent, the Fire Department has been somewhat insulated from the changes that have occurred in other departments.They have seen reductions in their staffing levels but not at the same levels that has been seen in some of our other operations.We did not allow those departments to transfer their duties and responsibilities to others.We did acknowledge that there would be a change in the time frames that service would be provided and who would provide those services.The responsibilities were shared by others.But the functions were not transferred.The same can be said should the City Council determine a different level of staffing is appropriate in the Fire and Rescue Department.It is acknowledged that the department may have to drop certain programs and activities. We will bring those programs back to the City Council for your review. It is acknowledged that the department may have to modify its duties and responsibilities.Two areas that were mentioned in the department memorandum are Emergency Management and compliance with Code of Federal Regulations 29.It is my intention that these two items remain a responsibility of the Port Orange Fire and Rescue Department unless otherwise instructed to move them to other departments within the City by the City Council.Kent Donahue will assume a larger role in emergency management in terms of the grants and grant administration.He will work closely with the Department of Fire and Rescue related to Emergency Management.††


In the past, staff has provided the City Council with revenue options for helping offset the cost of fire service.In the City Councilís opinion are any of those options viable?We have talked about billing for our portion of emergency medical calls.It was the consensus of the Council in the past that this was not an option that you desired for us to pursue.In the past, we have talked changing the method of paying for fire services from a tax base payment to a fee for service.The City Council has rejected this concept in the past.The fee for service concept is widely used in other parts of the State of Florida.The closest to Port Orange that is using this concept is Lake County.I am not advocating moving to a fee for service concept.However, it clearly defines and shows exactly what cost the taxpayers are paying for in terms of service.


In the Fire Department analysis, they discuss Fire and Rescue providing transport.Nothing in this report precludes that from City Council consideration.To date, the City Council has not authorized us to proceed with pursuing a certificate from the County to provide transport services.In the Fire Department memorandum there is a statement about a certain amount of money that could be generated.We have not completed a formal feasibility study on the cost of providing the service nor on the revenues that it would generate.We have not examined staffing alternatives such as whether to use civilian paramedics instead of using firefighter/paramedics to deliver the service should the City Council authorize such a study.We have not examined regional service delivery rather than individual city transport based systems.When we looked at the data when we last submitted for a transport COPCN with the County, the results were positive if Port Orange went into the Emergency Ambulance Transport business. However a number of things have changed since that time.I do not have a sense of Council that the transport options is one that you desire us to spent a lot of time working on. It might be good to look at the empirical data.


The southeast cities that are part of the Regional Communications Center have discussed the possibility of conducting a regional study looking at the cost as well as revenues of transport.Why?We are concerned that if the County does grant Deltona and Daytona Beach a certificate we will be impacted and will need to look at alternative methods of service delivery if the County requires EVAC to reduce its cost.At this point, it will be good to be prepared just in case.Having worked in jurisdictions that provided transport, in the long term it should not be looked at as away of generating money to address budgetary issues.It may in the short term provide additional operating revenues; but in the long term it has the potential of becoming a subsidized service provided by the local government.As community demographics change so do the revenue and expenditure assumptions.As health care regulations change so do the revenues.If your community becomes richer, the revenue expectations increase.If your community becomes poorer, the revenue expectations decrease.With health care reform up in the air, this is one that in the short term that we may want to watch before becoming involved.As some of you know, I have been an advocate in the past of local COPCN.But, 12 years have transpired since we seriously looked at the potential and the risk associated with delivering the service.What I am saying is if the City Council is inclined to look at providing transport service, study before making a decision.Know the long term as well as the short cost of providing the service.Also, just donít assume one method of providing the service.There are multiple methods available to local governments rather than assuming that it will be a fire based model.Staff has not looked extensively or spent time looking at the possibility of Port Orange providing Emergency Ambulance Transport.

Summary of Staffing


You asked the City Manager to provide you with cost comparisons of reducing staffing by 3, 6, 9 and 12 and reducing the number of paramedics to 22.


1.†††††††† Paramedics†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† $16,654

2.†††††††† 3 positions†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† $185,915

3.†††††††† Additional 3 positions†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† $99,533

4.†††††††† Additional 3 positions†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† $103,288

5.†††††††† Additional 3 positions†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† $112,436


Total†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† $517,892


I am concerned with any option that would take us below a minimum staffing level of 13.If the City Council is inclined to reduce the staffing level, the best operational options are the paramedic and the reduction of three of which two are vacant and one is to become vacant shortly.That would produce a savings of $202,569.If the City Council desired additional savings, then I would suggest the moving the Division Chiefs to shift in order to maintain the maximum number of people assigned to the shift.Then you would be able to save an additional $99,533.Understand what are the operational efficiencies and effectiveness by those changes.If you adopt cost measures 1, 2, and 3, you can expect cost reductions amounting to $302,102.



SUV versus Transport Vehicle with Fire Suppression Capability


The City Council asked for a comparison between purchasing SUVís to respond to medical emergencies versus a vehicle that has both EMS/Transport/Fire Suppression Capability.The objective is to keep the large fire apparatus in the bay and using a smaller vehicle to respond to medical emergencies.Both the SUV and the Transport Vehicle that has fire suppression capability has the ability to respond to medical emergencies.


I asked the Fire and Rescue Department to look at the two vehicles and to evaluate both the SUV and the Transport Vehicle with Fire Suppression Capability.In reviewing their cost analysis, the SUV cost less to operate and to amortize.I believe that the SUV will have a life expectancy of longer than four years based upon what we are seeing in other areas of our operation.I believe that the SUV will have at least five years of operation, especially, if a diesel engine is used rather than a gasoline engine.The SUVís used in the Police Department are getting upwards of six years.


In talking with Russ Rafferty about the capability of the two units, there are positive and negative related to the two units.SUV would be an EMS response vehicle only.The department would be able to get the place all of its EMS equipment in the SUV but would not have room for fire suppression equipment.That is a limitation.The SUV is not designed for dual response role.It has limited passenger capability when responding as an EMS unit.The vehicle does have a shorter life span than the EMS Rescue Unit with fire suppression capability.


The transport unit with fire suppression capability similar to the one recently purchased as a longer life expectancy.The vehicle box can be removed a simply placed on a new chassis.EVAC often purchases the new chassis and simply moves the box to the new chassis instead of purchasing a complete new unit.We are assuming a new unit is purchased rather than just a chassis with the box being moved.The reason is that we have no experience with the life expectancy of the box and the suppression equipment component.I have taken a conservative position with the comparison.The lifespan for the transport/suppression vehicle is somewhere between seven to ten years.Also, the vehicle has a seven year bumper to bumper warranty.This is two years beyond the normal extended warranty that we purchase with our vehicles.†††


The Transport with Fire Suppression Capabilities is specifically designed for Fire Service.It can carry up to four personnel in the vehicle.Further, it is climate controlled which allows the Fire Department to use the vehicle at fire scenes for rehabbing firefighters.It gives us an opportunity to place them inside a conditioned space.


When you look at the financial analysis over a ten year period you see the following:


  • SUV- 10 year cost is estimated to be $315,584 in unadjusted outlay.
  • EMS Rescue Unit with Suppression capability is estimated to be $405,190 in unadjusted outlay.This is per vehicle.


In essence the City would be giving up transport capability; firefighting capability; and carrying capacity of personnel.The SUV is a single source vehicle that could be used only for EMS calls.


The goal is to use a lower cost response option in responding to EMS calls than a one of our Fire Engines.The goal is to extend the useful life of the Fire Engine by using a lower cost option to respond to EMS calls.Our goals are not to turn the wheels on the Fire Engine unit unless it is going to a fire..Another way of looking at it is providing the best vehicle at the lowest cost to respond to a specific type of call.†† It is apparent that both can SUV and the Transport/Fire Suppression vehicle can accomplish the task.However, the Transport/Fire Suppression vehicle has more capabilities than the SUV and provides the City with more long term options.


An option available to the City Council is to test the SUV concept to determine which type of vehicle meets the long term needs of the City of Port Orange rather than committing to one or the other.The dollars are available to purchase one or two SUVís and modify them to be EMS response vehicles.


If you have any questions concerning this item, please feel free to call Russ Rafferty.




There has been a lot of incorrect information provided about the Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant.There was only one issue that caused the City Council to reject the grant.It was the language that required the City to guarantee the existing staffing levels would be maintained throughout the life of the grant.Additionally, the individuals hired under the grant would have to be employed an additional year beyond the end of the grant period.What was enticing about the grant is the ability to have experienced firefighters on board as individuals who are in the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) left the Cityís Fire Service over the next one to five years.


What was of a concern to the City Council was the inability to make changes to the Fire Services staffing levels should the economy continue to be soft.With a declining revenue base, the City Council felt that it was in the best interest of the City not to obligate itself with the grant requirements which would severely restricted the Cityís ability to address revenue issues.


It was totally an economic decision based upon the grant restrictions.When the Council authorized the City to submit the grant, the Council made it clear that it wanted to review the terms and conditions of the grant before making a final decision on whether to accept the grant or not.




In the past, the City Council has always taken a far different approach with its operating budget review and oversight.Rather than immediately after the adoption of the budget beginning to review service levels, the City Council waited until the City received the first quarter budget reports.The City Council has always looked for trend analysis during the first quarter before making adjustments to the operating budgets and service levels.As you will recall, the budget was adjusted downward by 2% last February based upon the trend analysis.This was based on the trend analysis that had developed during the first quarter of the year.That method has worked extremely well in the past.What it did allow was for the organization to absorb the changes that had been made in October and then stabilize. With the February adjustments, the departments were able to make subtle changes in order to achieve their budget reductions.


I am looking forward to discussing this with you on Tuesday.