Starting Saturday, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department will begin providing fire and emergency services to Jacksonville Beach.
The merger was approved by the Jacksonville Beach City Council in May and by the Jacksonville City Council in September, according to WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union.
As part of the transfer, Mayor Lenny Curry’s Office announced Friday that Jacksonville has committed to place an Advanced Life Support Rescue Unit at the South Beach Parkway fire station.
In an email to WJCT News, Mayor Curry’s Office said the additional unit will double the number of rescues assigned to Jacksonville Beach.
Since consolidation, JFRD has merged with a number of formerly independent fire departments.
Although the fire departments are merging, Jacksonville Beach will retain its city government and its police department.
But the move isn’t without controversy. Jacksonville Beach Mayor Charlie Latham said in May that merging the fire department is “the first step in dismantling our city.”
Mayor Latham went on to say if saving money is the primary concern, “We can dismantle our Charter, sell our buildings, and become Eastern Jacksonville and save everybody a bunch of money,” according to the May 20, 2020, Jacksonville Beach City Council minutes.
Mayor Curry's Office said the consolidation "creates a standardized level of emergency response and reduces duplication of services which will result in lower response times and increased service levels."
The Times-Union has previously reported that Jacksonville Beach will pay $2.2 million in year-one of the 20-year deal. That payment would go up annually by 2.5 percent or the increase in the consumer price index, whichever is greater