North Port looking at outsourcing possibilities

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The future of emergency dispatchers, trash pickup, and E.M.S. is being discussed in North Port. City leaders want to know if they could all be done by someone else while saving money.

To go along with the cities of Venice and Longboat Key, North Port is looking into having Sarasota County take over its emergency dispatch service for police. "We are right in the middle of that. I expect it to be wrapped up in the October/November time frame," says City Manager Jonathan Lewis.

During recent budget meetings city leaders also asking staff to investigate the current trash pick up service. The pros and cons of having their own compared to an outside company. "There are multiple hauling companies in the state of Florida for them to provide us with a concept of cost."

They also now want staff to explore any potential cost savings to outsourcing emergency medical services. "Are there alternative service providers? There is a very specific process under the law under who can do emergency medical transport." says Lewis.

In 2012 North Port E.M.S. transported more than 4,600 patients. Fire Chief Bill Taaffe says he's okay with a little research. "All studies are important to do. It's a due diligence on the part of any community to look at its services."

Sarasota County could be one option. They currently run the service for other local cities like Sarasota and Venice "That is a long way for us to get to that point on if that conversation even happens."

Lewis says they'll look into any possible savings compared to levels of service during the next year saying the findings and needed decisions are a long ways off. "This is part of a financial analysis that any responsible and government should be doing. It does not mean we are changing services. The other thing Commissioners made very clear is this has nothing to do with the quality of services the men and women working here provide."

A decision on the dispatchers needs to be made soon as Sarasota County is planning for a new emergency operations center.