The Villages is taking its first steps toward establishing a special fire district.
A consultant laid out a plan last week before the Village Center Community Development District Board of Supervisors about what would be needed to establish a fire protection district.
Though it remained unspoken at the VCCDD board meeting, it is obvious that one of the reasons a special fire district would be desirable for The Villages would be to get out from under the thumb of Sumter County. Residents of The Villages were outraged when a recommendation was floated earlier this year which called for the merging of The Villages Public Safety Department and Sumter County Fire Rescue, under the guise of fixing the county’s ambulance problems. At one point during meetings of the Ad Hoc Fire, EMS and Medical Transport Committee, The Villages Fire Chief Edmund Cain raised the possibility of a special fire district for The Villages.
District Manager Richard Baier said that Sumer County Administrator Bradley Arnold wrote a letter to the District, alleging that The Villages Public Safety Department is not living up to the terms of its contract with the county. Baier said he and Arnold are at an “impasse” on this matter.
James Angle, a retired Palm Harbor fire chief, now runs the consulting firm the J. Angle Group, and provided a lengthy overview for the VCCDD Board outlining the necessary steps to break away from the county and for The Villages to establish its own special fire district.
One of the main reasons for doing so, would be because The Villages, with its elderly residents, serves a very special population. The services it provides goes above and beyond what a normal fire department offers to its residents. Angle walked the board through a funding model and said The Villages would need to find a champion to push the measure through the Legislature in Tallahassee. Ultimately, it could come back to the voters in the form of a referendum.