You may be Pro or Con but I have heard discussion of consolidation for my entire carreer in Pinellas County. In that time a few small players have fallen such as Kenneth City, OPC, Lake Seminole, Redington Beach, Gandy, HighPoint, Belleair and most recently Belleair Bluffs.

As a result some departments took over their territory and grew. Today we seem to be on the brink of another round of potentially bigger mergers. Beach communities talking about joining as one, Largo taking over Belleair Bluffs (who took over Belleair), St. Pete losing Tierra Verde to Lealman then Lealman telling Kenneth City they want to end/renegotiate their contract. Who and what is next?

At least one feasibility study is under way, maybe more. Some want movement now, others want to wait and see what happens. What do you think?

During the recent budget cuts we saw that the politicians across the county treated us like every other agency with equal across the board cuts. Should those cuts be equal or is Public Safety worth a little more?

Is the answer consolidation?

Who do you think is for it or against it? Pushing for or against it?

The citizens?
The politicians?
The fire chiefs?
Rank and file members?

What's the biggest hurdle?

Can it even work here? Lot's of Counties have done it in Florida but has it truly worked out for the better there?

Today I believe that budgets and staffing are the biggest issue facing Public Safety particularly Fire/EMS, especially here in Pinellas. Would consolidation fix this or not? That, is the $64,000 question.

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