The Board of County Commissioners affirmed yesterday that providing timely, dependable and fiscally responsible Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was paramount to the citizens of Citrus County.
The Board, as a result, voted to end their partnership with Nature Coast EMS and transition these responsibilities to Citrus County Fire Rescue.
“Emergency Medical Services is a function that cannot fail,” said commissioner Holly Davis. “Because of this, I feel it is a service that should be provided by the county. Our commitment is first to the safety of the citizens and, on the heels of that, to the men and women providing these essential services.”
During their vote, the Commissioners assured all paramedics and EMTs working for Nature Coast EMS in Citrus County that they will not be left without employment. All those wishing to continue their employment during the transition will be given temporary employee status with the county until the official hiring procedures can be completed.
The Commissioners have also committed to ensuring that these employees receive all compensation that is owed to them through the end of their partnership with Nature Coast EMS on October 1st. Fire Chief Craig Stevens of Citrus County Fire Rescue will assume leadership of EMS following the transition.
“We at fire rescue want each and every paramedic and EMT currently serving the citizens of Citrus County to know they are welcome among our ranks,” said Chief Stevens. “It is our hope that, through increased partnership and cooperation, we can provide our citizens with the best emergency services possible.”
During the September 14th meeting, multiple commissioners expressed confidence in Chief Stevens’s ability to facilitate this transition. “Chief Stevens has a proven record of effective leadership during his tenure as fire chief,” said Commissioner Ron Kitchen. “I trust him to take on this challenge, do it well, and provide the best possible service to our citizens.”
Each member of the Board of County Commissioners has expressed deep commitment to the safety and well being of Citrus County’s residents, and they will continue this commitment as the county navigates the transition away from subsidizing privately operated emergency medical services.
“Our goal is to help citizens feel their tax dollars are being spent in the most responsible way by bringing oversight of these funds into the hands of trusted leaders who have proven their ability to make tough financial decisions to benefit our taxpayers,” said Board Chairman Scott Carnahan.