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SPARRING OVER EMS COSTS The County Commission sits in session in Venice in June. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE COUNTY COMMISSION TAKES ISSUE WITH VENICE'S REQUEST FOR COUNTY REIMBURSEMENT EVERY TIME A CITY FIRE TRUCK RESPONDS TO A CALL WITH COUNTY EMTS By Roger Drouin County Editor Sarasota County commissioners have fired back in an ongoing dispute with Venice city officials over the cost of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in the city. The County Commission voted 4-1 Tuesday, July 9, to have County Administrator Randall Reid send a stern reply to Venice officials who want the county to pay the city every time a city fire truck responds to an emergency call along with county EMTs. Reid writes in the letter: "I am very concerned about the city's request as the current system is based on a cooperative approach." The letter goes on to note that the county provides other emergency services in Venice, such as a Hazardous Materials Team and 911 call taking and dispatch for the Fire Department. Reid writes: "As opposed to jeopardizing our current collaborative effort to provide emergency service to the citizens of Venice, it may be in the city's best interest to assume responsibility for providing Fire and EMS service to your citizens." The letter, dated July 9, highlights the fact that the county spends in excess of $100,000 each year on EMS services in the city of Venice, If they would like Venice EMS, they and points out that the Englewood Fire De- can take it. Otherwise, we need to end this partment provides the conversation. same exact response Christine Robinson Commissioner assistance and does Sarasota County not receive a subsidy. The political wrangle is yet another sign of lean budget years and rising expenses. The debate intensified in May when the Venice City Council members discussed a proposal

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