Lee to vote on public safety department

LEESBURG, Ga. -- As part of an overall plan to improve fire protection services, Lee County Commissioners are expected to take action on a proposed ordinance at their July 23 meeting to establish the Lee County Public Safety Department.

The action is part of a recommendation by Skip Starling, president of National Fire Services Offices and a consultant employed by the County to come up with a plan to provide more fire coverage and to lower fire insurance ratings.

Starling has proposed that the Public Safety Department be formed and the position of Public Safety Director be established to manage both the Fire Services Division and the Emergency Medical Services Division.

Under Starling's plan, the fire chief would continue to be responsible for the firefighters in the county. The EMS personnel would continue to report to the EMS director. The two division chiefs would report to the Public Safety Director.

Starling appeared before the Commission Tuesday night to give his second report to the board. Starling told Commissioners that three additional substations and three more stations to be manned by a yet-to-be formed volunteer firefighting force could be constructed for around $800,000.

Starling said all of the stations could be completed within 90 days, if approved and financed by the Commission.

If built and staffed, Starling said 99.5 percent of the residents of Lee County would be within five miles of a fire station.

Under Starling's plan, firefighters and EMS personnel would work together in manning stations and fighting fires.