Columbia County Going Private?
It may be the start of a trend in North Central Florida. Municipalities cutting costs by switching from county emergency services to private ones. Levy County has already looked into the possible benefits of private services, and now Columbia County EMS leaders feel their change is fast approaching.
Columbia County Commissioners need to trim their budget and with private companies offering the same service for less, commissioners say why not? Part of Columbia Counties transfer will mean one of their biggest cities will no longer get service. County manager Dale Williams says the commissioners unanimous vote to request for qualifications,or an RFQ, of a private service will not include Lake City. Williams says the County has always provided emergency service to Lake City, and that overtime it's become expected of them. An expectation they can no longer afford.
The possible move to a private service, like Century Ambulance, is not sitting well with EMS Union leader Michael Anderson. Anderson says commissioners made the motion to privatize at a meeting February 3rd, after the counties labor attorney, Michael Grogan, skimmed the topic with no proof of benefits.
Dale Williams says they will have the vendors requests in by the end of next week and will compare numbers. If commissioners decide private service isn't worth the switch, commissioner Ron Williams says they will not continue to provide service to Lake City. The county sent a letter to city commissioners this week regarding the change, and have not heard back.
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