The Coastal Star

Delray Beach: Robocalls stir pot while fire-rescue talks simmer

By Jane Smith

The man’s voice on the robocall sounded as if something dangerous were happening. 

In mid-September, he warned of Delray Beach elected officials’ transferring fire-rescue services to the county. The county will get the equipment, buildings and staff, and you will get nothing but a separate tax for county fire-rescue services.

Some Highland Beach residents also were called, but none in Gulf Stream, according to the town managers. 

Delray Beach, which provides fire-rescue services to both towns, is seeking an offer from the county that it can analyze so it can tell its residents which service would be more cost-effective.

The robocaller, which said the call was made by the so-called Citizens for a Safe Delray, advised residents to call the main number at City Hall and tell the mayor and the commissioners that they oppose any fire deal with the county.

As of noon Sept. 18, the city received 43 calls, according to Rosanne DeChicchio, public information relations coordinator. 

She was working in the city manager’s office late afternoon on Sept. 15 when the calls started.

She put up a public notice on the city’s website about 6 p.m. that day. The notice included this statement: “Please be advised that the city of Delray Beach has made no decision regarding the transfer of fire/emergency equipment and services.”

The city reopened discussions in early summer with the county and is still waiting on a viable proposal. The full-cost methodology proposal is no longer on the table. Delray Beach property owners and those of the towns it serves would have to pay a flat rate of $3.46 per $1,000 of taxable value. 

At issue are the staffing levels, equipment and building valuations and other items.

If it gets to be the middle of October and the county has still not replied with a viable offer, the City Commission will have to make a decision. “We just can’t go on like this,” said City Manager Don Cooper.

 

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