The Deerfield Beach Charter (Section 7.09.) covers a mandated referendum on public property worth more than $750,000 in the case of: “Sale, gift, trade, transfer or lease”. The wording in the charter that makes a vote necessary if BSO takes over our fire/rescue operations is: “Lease is defined as a contract for possession or use of real property.”
That’s pretty clear, if BSO is going to use our firehouses which are surely worth over $750,000 there has to be a referendum vote by the Deerfield Beach voters.
The last time that question was up for a vote a vast majority of voters turned the idea down. Now, the proposal is being considered again and considering the savings to the city, the vote might be different.
Yes or NO? It is certain that the move is only being considered to save money.
Concerns that have been raised are that if both fire and police are handled by BSO, over 52% of our budget will be controlled by the sheriff. We will have no control over salaries etc. Will the savings continue? Or, is this a low ball figure which will go higher and higher as the years go by? At lunch today I heard that Lake Worth is regretting their switch to PBSO and now cannot afford the upfront costs to go back to a city managed force.
So the jury is out, we need to go to the meetings and listen to the presentations by BSO, before we decide. This is a decision that needs more than a knee jerk decision.
Going with BSO will eliminate the possibility of getting creative and coming up with a different style of service with our fire and rescue in the future.
Staying with the city force may cost us millions.