Consolidation of Brevard County aviation units might not fly

Cost saving consolidation of Brevard County aviation units might not fly

Posted: Updated:
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

An idea to consolidate Brevard County's two aviation units -- those of the Sheriff's Office and Mosquito Control --  appears to be grounded.  Ernie Brown, county director over Mosquito Control says Eurocopter, the company that sold his department two new helicopters for a net cost of $4.6 million dollars, won't allow the county to assign the contract to another buyer.

Brevard County looked at getting out of the costly purchase of new helicopters for mosquito control after Sheriff Wayne Ivey pitched the idea the county could save a million dollars plus $150,000 a year off the budget, by consolidating the aviation units. Sheriff Ivey also said a surplus military helicopter his agency recently bought for $2,000 could be used instead of buying the new helicopters.

But with Mosquito Control unlikely to get out of it's contract for the new helicopters, the taxpayer money saving idea may not fly.

"At this juncture, there are some real challenges in selling them because of the short time frame, and the unique outfitting of our aircraft" said Ernie Brown.

Now the Sheriff is considering whether or not to keep the 1973 UH-1 military surplus chopper. He says he's exploring ideas with the fire department to see if it justifies the cost of keeping the chopper.

"If we have a disaster or a hurricane we might be able to use it to evacuate people, or deliver the swat team... There are so many different things it could be used for. But we have to ask is it efficient for us in that capacity" Ivey told Fox 35.

Brown said he's still trying to work with one last broker to sell the new choppers, but said it appeared unlikely it would be successful.

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