Officials are trying to wrap their heads around the potential cost to residents for a special fire protection district and ambulance service in the Sumter County portion of The Villages.
The idea of a special fire protection district for The Villages was hatched this past summer during the turmoil of the meetings of the Ad Hoc Fire, EMS and Medical Transport Committee, tasked with finding solutions to the unacceptable performance of Sumter County’s ambulance contractor, American Medical Response.
A bill has been introduced in Tallahassee to form the special fire protection district in The Villages. Eventually, a referendum on the question will go before voters, assuming the legislation is approved.
“Everyone is behind the idea of setting up a special fire protection district,” said Community Development District 8 Supervisor Duane Johnson.
However, he said officials need to see the math that supports the level of service envisioned by residents.
“We need to see some hard numbers,” Johnson said.
Some community development district supervisors have expressed surprise that the new Villages ambulance service will only serve Sumter County residents.
The Villages Center Community Development District Board approved a $3.385-million purchase of ambulances and equipment earlier this month, taking a big step forward toward bringing ambulance service in The Villages’ portion of Sumter County under the umbrella of The Villages Public Safety Department. The ambulance service in The Villages portion of Sumter County will be turned over Oct. 1 to the public safety department.
Homeowners and businesses in The Villages and elsewhere in Sumter County currently pay $124 a year for fire protection, but that doesn’t pay all the costs. Fire protection is also funded through ad valorem taxes.