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City manager addresses concerns about fire department merger

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JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – The Jacksonville Beach City Council is expected to vote next month on whether or not to merge its fire department with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. 

The council postponed the vote earlier this month after questions and concerns were raised by both council members and Jacksonville Beach residents. 

On Monday night, the council held a workshop and had those concerns addressed in a 20-page report from the city manager. 

Some of the questions and answers in the report included:

Q: Would there be relocations for some Jacksonville Beach firefighters to Jacksonville fire stations?
A: Yes, there would be relocations. 

Q: Could there be a possible trial period of the city taking over Jacksonville Beach duties?
A: No, but there is a two-year notice period for cancellation. 

Q: How long would it take for a Jacksonville Beach call to be transferred to JFRD?
A: Every call would be different, depending on whether fire/EMS is needed or if police can respond. 

At the public input meeting earlier this month, opinions on both sides were expressed. Many Jacksonville Beach firefighters were in support, saying that sometimes they work 72 hours straight. But people against the merger said they still worry about longer response times.  

The council is scheduled to vote at its meeting on May 20.