The city of Dunnellon is facing budget decisions that could lead to the defunding of its fire department.
After a survey of property owners showed opposition to an increase in taxes, Dunnellon’s city council is considering contracting with Marion County Fire Rescue and disbanding from its fire department.
Eliminating the department and partnering with Marion County would save Dunnellon $180,000 annually, a measure that would help reduce debt and balance the city’s budget, city council member Chuck Dillon said.
“We’re up there to try to make sure that the city runs as efficiently as we can,” he said. “We need to make decisions on real-world, physical information and not emotional.”
However, not all residents are on board. Some say they’re worried that dissolving the department would put first responders too far away and leave the community at risk.
“It would be detrimental to the health of the citizens and their livelihood,” Dunnellon resident Heidi Robinson said.
But city council members say that Marion County’s closest fire station is within close range to Dunnellon and should not be a concern to residents.
A city council meeting is scheduled for April 10 to further discuss the issue.
Editor’s note: In a previous version of this story, we incorrectly stated that partnering with Marion County Fire Rescue would save Dunnellon $80,000 annually. The correct amount is $180,000.