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Orlando, Orange begin talks on combining some serv

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By Rich McKay | Sentinel Staff Writer

Posted April 7, 2005

Talks began Wednesday on whether Orlando and Orange County will save money by combining efforts to provide some public services.

During the next 18 months, the 11-member Orange County/City of Orlando Consolidation of Services Study Commission will examine whether some services the city and county provide separately could be run better and cheaper by merging them.

"It is the citizens who want us to do this," said Scott Justice, who served on the Charter Review Commission, which helped create the new study commission.

The panel, which was authorized by Orange County voters in November, may examine services ranging from fire protection to who cuts grass at parks and who runs the dispatch centers for 911 calls.

The committee's work is expected to be controversial because money, jobs and political power are at stake.

Already, Steve Clelland, president of Orlando's firefighters union, has sued the county, asking the court to disband the commission because it is overstepping what the county's charter allows.

The suit has not been resolved, but the county has asked a judge to throw out Clelland's suit, County Attorney Tom Drage said. A hearing is set for May 4.

County political leaders are eager to merge fire-protection services. About a year ago, County Fire Chief Carl Plaugher told the Orange County Commission that at current growth rates, in a decade the county would need a bigger agency than projected property-tax revenue could pay for.

County politicians see a merger as a way to save money on personnel, equipment and fire stations. But some city leaders oppose it because they think the county could get a better fire department at the expense of city taxpayers.

The study commission's members, appointed by the city and county commissions and Central Florida lawmakers, include lawyers, business executives and former politicians.

The five county-appointed members are Cesar Calvet{CQ}, Jimmy Goff, Douglas Kelly, James "Monty" Knox and Frances Pignone.

The four city-appointed members are Don Ammerman, Derek Burke, Irby Pugh and Kathy Putnam.

The two appointed by the Central Florida legislative delegation are Jim Kallinger and Richard "Dick" Spears.

Members spent most of Wednesday on nuts-and-bolts issues such as reviewing the state's open-meeting and public-records laws.

The committee will make recommendations, and voters will have to approve any changes.

The committee's meetings are open to the public. The next one is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. April 18 at the Orange County Commission Chambers, 201 S. Rosalind St., Orlando.

Rich McKay can be reached at 407-420-5470 or [email protected]

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Hmmm, Its funny that Dyer receives strong criticism for trying unusual attempts to reinvigerate Orlando's budget such as placing the water department under OUC control and annexing large areas of developed property in the county which just so happens to have immense budgetary ramifications on the county. But i guess its quite alright for Orange County's Fire Chief to state merging the two departments would bail out the county in the long haul. There is no doubt that both fire departments get the job done and are very good at what they do. Having said that the City of Orlando Fire Department was founded in 1885 and has alot of pride and tradition. It is widely known in the local Fire Service that OFD is THE BEST department in Central Florida and has been called the FDNY of Florida. They have heavy manning levels on thier fire apparatus such as minimum of 4 personnel on the 5 ladder truck companies in the city whereas the county only runs 3 men on the 4 ladder trucks in the entire county. And the City has 15 engine companies at 4 men minimum whereas the county has 35 engine companies where 16 are at 4 men and the rest are at 3. The other biggest diferences are strategy and tactics, response times, and overall mentality in management. Countys dont have any idea how to or should run Urban City Fire departments. Those are only a few of the reasons the City Firefighters Union absolutely dont want this to happen. This would dilute everything the city has accomplished in 120 years. For all you Urban enthusiasts out THERE,an analogy would be the difference in how the City and County do comprehensive land planning and development. However, Orlando would be for consolidation through ANNEXATION not Unification. Firemick

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Hmmm, Its funny that Dyer receives strong criticism for trying unusual attempts to reinvigerate Orlando's budget such as placing the water department under OUC control and annexing large areas of developed property in the county which just so happens to have immense budgetary ramifications on the county. But i guess its quite alright for Orange County's Fire Chief to state merging the two departments would bail out the county in the long haul. There is no doubt that both fire departments get the job done and are very good at what they do. Having said that the City of Orlando Fire Department was founded in 1885 and has alot of pride and tradition. It is widely known in the local Fire Service that OFD is THE BEST department in Central Florida and has been called the FDNY of Florida. They have heavy manning levels on thier fire apparatus such as minimum of 4 personnel on the 5 ladder truck companies in the city whereas the county only runs 3 men on the 4 ladder trucks in the entire county. And the City has 15 engine companies at 4 men minimum whereas the county has 35 engine companies where 16 are at 4 men and the rest are at 3. The other biggest diferences are strategy and tactics, response times, and overall mentality in management. Countys dont have any idea how to or should  run Urban City Fire departments. Those are only a few of the reasons the City Firefighters Union absolutely dont want this to happen. This would dilute everything the city has accomplished in 120 years. For all you Urban enthusiasts out THERE,an analogy would be the difference in how the City and County do comprehensive land planning and development. However, Orlando would be for consolidation through ANNEXATION not Unification.  Firemick

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

But let's be honest about this: it wasn't 'unusual' attempts, but secretive and/or contentious means of effecting change which got Buddy in hot water.

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But let's be honest about this: it wasn't 'unusual' attempts, but secretive and/or contentious means of effecting change which got Buddy in hot water.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

hold on a second, wasn't it Crotty who had like, "AH"nold and other random celebrity politicians call and put pressure on Dyer to eliminate his bid to annex land? Land that, may I remind you, was agreed upon before both Dyer and Crotty existed in Orlando/Orange County matters.

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hold on a second, wasn't it Crotty who had like, "AH"nold and other random celebrity politicians call and put pressure on Dyer to eliminate his bid to annex land?  Land that, may I remind you, was agreed upon before both Dyer and Crotty existed in Orlando/Orange County matters.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You're not really trying to compare underhanded with hardball, are you ?

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No, because I'm not suggesting that there was any "underhanded" activity taking place in regards to Dyer's attempt to annex (you are), and I wouldn't consider Crotty's stunt anything that resembles hardball. In fact the opposite.

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The tale of two mayors

Bottom line is that Crotty is pro sprawl and pro gridlock. Buddy is pro urbanization of the CBD. Both use forceful methods to get things done; unlike Hood who accomplished very little. Underhanded vs. hardball is in the eye of beholder.

It

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No, because I'm not suggesting that there was any "underhanded" activity taking place in regards to Dyer's attempt to annex (you are), and I wouldn't consider Crotty's stunt anything that resembles hardball.  In fact the opposite.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'm not talking about the Dyer's shameful attempt to ramrod through annexation either. I'm talking about the secretiveness (which was condemned by his own party) with which which he considered selling off OUC to raise cash to build his big-ticket items.

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The tale of two mayors

Bottom line is that Crotty is pro sprawl and pro gridlock.  Buddy is pro urbanization of the CBD.  Both use forceful methods to get things done; unlike Hood who accomplished very little.  Underhanded vs. hardball is in the eye of beholder. 

It

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I'm not talking about the Dyer's shameful attempt to ramrod through annexation either. I'm talking about the secretiveness (which was condemned by his own party) with which which he considered selling off OUC to raise cash to build his big-ticket items.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well if thats what you meant it would be wise to speak plainly as to avoid confusion. :thumbsup:

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Well if thats what you meant it would be wise to speak plainly as to avoid confusion.  :thumbsup:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Point taken. :)

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