News

On August 17, I attended the Open House held by The Villages Public Safety Department at Station 40 on Parr Drive.  I sent an email to all the North Area Neighborhood Representatives to tell them about what I learned.  That email follows:

I just got home from attending the first Villages Public Safety Open House at Station 40 on Parr Drive.  It was very impressive.  With my daughter, who is an experienced paramedic, we toured the entire facility and spent most of our time studying the new Ford F-450 ambulance.  This is a very high-end truck, with power-assisted gurney lift, air lift box for leveling on sloped drives, pumps and ventilators and room for large numbers of EMT/Paramedics in acute cases.

We were able to speak with Deputy Chief James Goodworth and Chief Edmund Cain to learn a lot about the impact of the proposed Special Fire District.  Here are some key takeaways:

  • Both Chief Cain and Deputy Chief Goodworth “cut their teeth” in emergency medical service, merging EMS with firefighting as their careers progressed.  As they add full EMS service to The Villages Public Safety Department, we are fortunate to have management that understands the duties and difficulties of emergency medical intervention and transport.
  • Currently, under the existing contract with AMR, there are nine ambulances serving all of Sumter County, including The Villages.  The Villages Public Safety Department has received three units as of today, with three more due this month, and three to six more in September.  If any are delayed, the manufacturer will provide “loaners” to bring the total to twelve.  Sumter will continue to provide a fleet to serve the rest of the county, so the result will be a lot more ambulance coverage for the same total area.
  • One of the new ambulances will be based at the existing stand-alone paramedic station at Springdale postal station, replacing the old first-response truck.  For District 4 residents, we will now have both a Villages and a Marion County ambulance based within mere blocks.
  • As reported in The Daily Sun, a new cooperative agreement has been signed with Marion County, so the added Villages EMS capability should have little impact on our taxes or fees.  It should improve the service in that the closest truck will be able to serve us AND transport us to the appropriate emergency room, as needed.
  • Another of the ambulances will be based at the Paradise fire station.  For folks in the historic section of The Villages, this means that service should come from the nearer of The Villages EMS or a Lake County ambulance.
  • Again, as reported in The Daily Sun, there is a new agreement with Lake County, so the added EMS capability, by itself, should not have much effect on taxes or fees.
  • Initially, for the next year, a cooperative agreement with Sumter County will be in place, and as a result, for the upcoming year the added Villages EMS capability should not significantly affect taxes or fees.  In all three counties, the costs will of course be affected by inflation, but NOT by the new services.

It behooves us to attend The VHA General Meeting on September 14 (which is open to ALL Villages residents) to learn all we can about the long-term effect on taxes for Sumter County and fees for Districts 2 and 3 in the North Area.  If I lived in Sumter County, I would vote “Yes” for the independent Villages Fire/Rescue District, and I believe the upcoming Open Houses and The VHA meetings will help make that clearer for everybody.

There will be another VPSD Open House on September 20 at Station 47, 4856 S. Morse Boulevard.  In addition, The VHA will hold an open meeting on October 24 at Ezell Recreation Center featuring Chief Edmund Cain.  If you live in Sumter County, I urge you to inform yourself so you can vote wisely.

Karl Arps, Vice President
karl.arps@ gmail.com
(920) 285 – 1382