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As Orange City prepares to enlarge by annexing an assortment of parcels at its edges, city leaders are also looking to enlarge the Fire Department.

The Orange City Council Dec. 11 decided to apply for a federal grant that enables local governments to add new firefighters to meet the demands of growth.

A bigger city creates a need for more first responders.

Orange City’s move comes as the Volusia County Council is poised to endorse the city’s plan to absorb 16 enclave areas that are now in the unincorporated area of the county.

 An enclave is a parcel within one jurisdiction that is surrounded by land in another jurisdiction.

The Orange City Council approved the annexation last month, despite objections from several property owners who do not want to be inside the city.

The firefighter grant is dependent on County Council approval of the annexation.

The grant program is known as SAFER, an acronym for Staffing Adequate Fire and Emergency Response.

If approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Orange City would get $346,719 over three years, allowing the Fire Department to add three full-time firefighters.

The Orange City Fire Department now has 31 personnel.

The grant would cover 75 percent of the three new salaries, benefits and costs of equipment for the first two years, but it would decline to 35 percent in the third year.

After the third year, the city would be responsible for fully funding the additional firefighters.  

The County Council will act on the annexation pact at or after 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18. A public hearing will precede the debate and vote.

The meeting takes place in the County Council Chambers of the Thomas C. Kelly County Administration Center, 123 W. Indiana Ave. in DeLand, and is open to the public.

Orange City officials say the annexation would make it easier to determine which first-responder agencies — law enforcement and/or fire services — should be dispatched to an emergency at a particular address where there is a checkerboard of city and county jurisdictions.

Along some streets, one house may be inside Orange City, but the address next door or across the street may be part of the unincorporated area.

Orange City proposes to annex a total of 242 acres.

That total includes 119 single-family homes, 72 multifamily dwellings and eight businesses.

The businesses are along the north side of Saxon Boulevard between Interstate 4 and Veterans Memorial Parkway, and include two funeral homes, a cemetery, a Sonic drive-in and a retail center.

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