LARGO — City commissioners here voted unanimously Tuesday to take the county to the bargaining table over proposed cuts to Pinellas emergency medical services system.
The vote triggers a conflict resolution process that state law requires before a lawsuit is filed. Should the mediation fail, the Largo commission could vote to sue Pinellas County.
Former Pinellas County Administrator Bob LaSala has proposed cutting about $2.3 million over the next three years from the overall $116 million EMS budget. LaSala wanted to slash the budgets of the five departments — Largo, Clearwater, Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg and Lealman — that answer 70 percent of the 150,000-plus fire and EMS calls in the county. Seminole would also see a reduction.
Largo officials have tried to negotiate with the county over the proposed cuts, but Pinellas officials refused to do so. Largo's vote to push the county to the bargaining table includes and invitation to Pinellas' other cities and four fire districts to participate in the process.