Pushback from county and residents over Indiantown dumping Fire/rescue
Indiantown, Fl (treaasurcoast.com)- Indiantown’s push to create its own fire rescue and EMS operation — breaking away from Martin County Fire Rescue — is facing pushback from county officials as well as from its own residents.
The county’s resistance was out in the open Tuesday, with the County Commission questioning the village’s intentions and the county administrator challenging cost projections and alternatives from an Indiantown consultant.
In addition, dozens of Indiantown residents protested outside Thursday’s Village council Council meeting, carrying signs in support for Martin County Fire Rescue.
Even since Indiantown incorporated in 2017, village officials have talked of providing their own independent fire rescue services, primarily to reduce what’s now paid to Martin County. Indiantown initially asked the county to negotiate a lower cost, but that only would cost other county taxpayers more, according to County Administrator Taryn Kryzda.
For every $1,000 a county property owner pays in taxes, about $2.70 goes to fire rescue and EMS services, Kryzda said.
In a February report to the Village Council, its consultant, The Center for Public Safety Management, offered alternatives such as outsourcing all rescue services to a private provider and creating a new fire department. The council, however, voted to adopt a hybrid model: outsourcing EMS and providing fire services in-house.
Separating the two services, Village Manager Howard Brown said, would benefit the village by providing more highly trained advanced life support personnel on medical calls, which make up the majority of Indiantown emergencies.
Kryzda, though, disputes the argument: Every call for service has a paramedic, who can administer medicine and drugs, she said, while emergency medical technicians can’t.
A hybrid fire rescue model would cost Indiantown $6.6 million in its first year and $4.8 million in the second year, the consultant said.
That compares to about $5.4 million Indiantown currently pays Martin County for fire rescue services, according to county records.
But factoring in a tax incentive the county is providing to Florida Power & Light Co. in Indiantown, the village’s current cost is only $4.6 million, Kryzda stated.