FACTS: Non-renewal of Margate Fire/EMS Contract

by Yvonne Lopez | Feb 26, 2021

Coconut Creek is increasing and enhancing Fire/EMS service levels at a financially sustainable cost.

Non-renewal of Contract with Margate Fire/EMS
Fact Sheet


Dispatch Services: Currently Police and Fire dispatch services are provided by BSO Regional System.  Coconut Creek will benefit from increased level of service provided by Coral Springs, not only to residents, but also Police and Fire personnel.

Fire/EMS Services: Currently Fire/EMS services are provided by Margate.  If Coconut Creek stays with Margate, we are precluded from transferring dispatch services to Coral Springs.  Other providers of Fire/EMS services were evaluated and are not feasible.

Fire/EMS Contract with Margate: The Coconut Creek and Margate inter-local agreement (ILA) expires September 2021.

Benefits of Coconut Creek Fire/EMS Department

  • Able to utilize Coral Springs for Police & Fire Dispatch
  • Controls cost escalation in future years
  • Ability to seek grants to fund personnel and equipment
  • Ability to set performance standards and be accountable
  • Responsive to community needs and desires

“Operating Costs/Tax Increase”

  • Margate provided Coconut Creek a cost increase estimate of $3 million from the current $10,050,000 in operating costs to staff the temporary fire station, bringing their overall contract cost to $13,980,760.Coconut Creek’s cost minus the initial startup capital is estimated at $13,742,954.The estimated cost from Public Consulting Group to bring in-house is $13,213,410.
  • October 2017:  Commission increased FY18 budget to fund improved dispatch services. Funding for the new Coconut Creek Fire Department will come from what is currently paid to Margate.
  • No tax increase is projected.

There was no: "Sudden Secret Meeting"

  • Discussions regarding Fire/EMS services and Dispatch Services have been going on since 2017. At issue were service levels related to dispatch as well as cost and performance standards related to Fire/EMS.
  • October 2017:  Coconut Creek Commission increased FY18 budget to fund improved dispatch services.
  • January 2018:  Began considering joint Fire/EMS services, and Police & Fire Dispatch by Coral Springs to the cities of Coconut Creek, Margate, and Parkland.This would have been the most efficient and cost effective system.
  • June 2018:  IAFF Local 3080 submitted letter of non-support for a regional fire service and Margate Commission indicated that they did not want to give up the Margate Fire Department due to hometown pride.
  • January 2019: Coconut Creek Workshop to discuss Fire/EMS services and Police & Fire Dispatch.At the urging of Margate and Local 3080 for a longer agreement, Coconut Creek extended the Fire/EMS ILA for an additional two years with the understanding of transitioning Police & Fire Dispatch from BSO to Coral Springs.
  • February 2019: Coral Springs provided Coconut Creek and Margate with Police & Fire Dispatch Interlocal Agreement (ILA).
  • April 2019: Joint public meeting with Margate to discuss Police & Fire Dispatch ILA.
  • October 2019: Margate raised taxes to fund dispatch with Coral Springs.
  • November 2019:Coconut Creek and Margate finalized Police & Fire Dispatch ILA with Coral Springs.
  • January 2020: Coconut Creek Commission approved Police & Fire Dispatch ILA with Coral Springs.Coconut Creek was informed by Margate of intent to not place Police & Fire Dispatch ILA on their agenda unless Coconut Creek committed to a ten-year Fire/EMS ILA.Over the last ten years, the Margate contract increased by 94% to $10,050,000 as compared to 35% for all other City departments.  Coconut Creek does not have any control over Margate's increasing costs.

“Coral Springs Dispatch vs. BSO Regional Dispatch”

  • Coral Springs will not dispatch Coconut Creek Police solely.In order for Coconut Creek to transition to Coral Springs Police & Fire Dispatch, Margate had to agree to partner with Coral Springs.Margate ultimately refused.
  • Two joint (Coconut Creek/Margate) Commission meetings were held to discuss both dispatch and fire services.Staff from both cities held numerous meetings since April 2017 when Coconut Creek Commissioners provided a consensus to find alternatives to regional dispatch.
  • Coral Springs’ dispatch center computer equipment will be able to communicate with BSO’s Dispatch Center computer equipment.This will be an improvement to the current intra-dispatch 911 caller transfers allowing for near-simultaneous dispatch of Coconut Creek Fire Rescue and Margate Fire Rescue units that are closest to a fire or EMS call.
  • This improves from current level of service.

“New Fire Station/Response Times”

  • Funding for a new temporary Coconut Creek Fire Station 113 was included in the FY19 Capital Improvement Project (CIP) budget (approved in September 2018). The CIP includes the cost of a temporary modular station, fire engine, fire rescue vehicle, battalion chief vehicle, and other construction and livable costs.The temporary location will be on City-owned property that is located behind Home Depot.
  • A new permanent Fire Station 113 is also planned in the CIP to be located in Coconut Creek’s MainStreet area (between the Promenade and the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek).
  • With increased travel time from Fire Station 98 located in Margate to central Coconut Creek, the new 3rd station will reduce response times.
  • This ensures service coverage throughout the City.

“Employment Issues/Staffing”

  • Public Consulting Group recommends 72 employees for the new Coconut Creek Fire Department.
  • Coconut Creek is required to hire 44 Margate firefighter paramedics.
  • The additional 28 personnel will be hired through traditional means.Margate firefighter paramedics are encouraged to apply.
  • Maintaining over 60% of Margate personnel will ensure continuity of service.

“ISO Rating”

  • Margate received an ISO Class 1 rating in 2013. Coconut Creek did not receive it until 2017.
  • The current ISO 1 Rating is based upon a staffing of 3 firefighter paramedics on a rescue unit and 2 firefighter paramedics on a fire engine.To enhance future services and ensure that Coconut Creek maintains the ISO 1 Rating, staffing of 3 firefighter paramedics on a rescue unit and 3 firefighter paramedics on a fire engine is planned and accounted for in the costs.
  • The City of Coconut Creek’s implementation goal is to maintain the ISO Class 1 Rating. An ISO representative will be an active participant of Creek’s implementation team.
  • Additionally, Coconut Creek will meet Center For Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) Accreditation Standard and the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) Standard.The 72 Fire Department staffing includes an Accreditation Manager to ensure that Coconut Creek meets these standards.Margate has indicated that they have no plans for accreditation.
  • This ensures a top quality Fire Rescue/EMS system.

“Automatic Aid / Mutual Aid”

  • Automatic Aid is when a surrounding agency is dispatched in conjunction with a local Fire/EMS agency to a serious fire or EMS call.
  • Mutual Aid is when a local department needs additional apparatus and personnel other than automatic aid.
  • All communities have Automatic Aid and Mutual Aid agreements.
  • Coconut Creek will have Automatic and Mutual Aid consistent with what we have today.
  • This ensures coverage throughout the City at all times.