JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Months after city leaders in Jacksonville Beach voted in favor of a plan to merge the city's fire department with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, the decision became official after a unanimous vote Tuesday night.
During a Jacksonville City Council meeting, leaders vote 18-0 in favor of the merger. JFRD posted the decision on Twitter.
IT’S OFFICIAL!!! JFRD will take over Jacksonville Beach Fore Department....passed 18-0 in city council meeting! Welcome to the family Jax Beach Firefighter’s! @CityofJax— MyJFRD (@JFRDJAX) September 10, 2019
Jacksonville Fire and Rescue will now provide services to people living in Jacksonville Beach. The proposal was faced with opposition.
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A poll conducted by the University of North Florida found that 46% of registered voters surveyed supported the move while 41% were opposed.
Some in favor said it would make a positive difference, while those against worried it could make response times longer.
The Jacksonville Beach fire marshal has said the response time would increase from four minutes to roughly five and a half minutes. But those who support the move said it would mean better staffing inside the stations, cutting down on firefighter fatigue on the job and more opportunities for promotion and better training.
Kendall Knorr, a Jacksonville Beach resident, said the merger means more resources for service calls.
"Being able to pull resources from Jacksonville city limits, as far as Jax Beach, we're just a little beach town out here, so being able to use those is great," Knorr said. "The more resources the better."
City Council members said the move could save $1.5 million over a 10-year period. The effective date would be no sooner than October 1, 2019.