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Joint study to help determine fire department’s smoky future.

Lake City Reporter; Thursday, April 24, 2008, by Michael Mitseff 

The issue is money. 

The question to be answered is whether the county will add the City of Lake City Fire Department to its other county fire stations, relieving the city of its financial burden. 

To reach an answer, the city and county meet periodically to discuss the matter, including Wednesday's 3 p.m. meeting. 

"Thepurpose of the meet­ing was to discuss the feasibil­ity and merits of the county providing fire service countywide," City Councilman Mike Lee said. "The bottom line would be this, if the county said we will provide fire service countywide, and the city agreed to that, then it means the city would go out of the fire business. 

"Then there would be a countywide fire assessment, including the city. We now have our own city fire assessment, (which) would become a county fire assessment," Lee said. 

Lee said that the two items that are driving the discussion are efficiency' and cost.

 "We all know that with Amendment 1 and the reduction in revenues, and there is more coming down the pike, and the citizens should be concerned about that, we have an obligation to provide the most cost effective way to provide service," Lee said. 

To get answers to the feasibility questions, a joint county/city study will be conducted to get real numbers so the county can determine if converting the city fire depart­ment to county control makes economic sense. 

"None of this is intended to do away with anyone's job," Lee said. 

"The main question to keep in mind is whether it is advantageous for the residents of Lake City to have one fire department."