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Dr. Biles' commentary is timely, truthful and quite telling. Among other things, I was reminded of one occasion wherein a woman called Marco police because she had locked her car keys inside her automobile. It was startling to witness a fire truck, an ambulance AND a police car all responding to her call! If this is Marco's "standard" procedure, it might explain why Chief Murphy needs more personnel, more fire engines and more budget protection. If City Council votes to change all, or even PART, of the Chief's budget from dependance on property taxes to a separate, special assessment, it could become financially possible for the Fire Chief to turn his department into the "gold standard" of Fire Departments. I have nothing against "gold standards" of anything, including Fire Departments. They're certainly worthy models to strive for PROVIDED YOU NEED IT AND CAN AFFORD IT. I suspect that in today's economy only people that sell firefighting equipment will join a Fire Chief in trying to create a "gold standard" Department on a tiny island, especially where a lesser level has proven equally effective.
A prudent, pragmatic Marco City Council would reject the idea of a special Fire Assessment, particularly since (1) Collier County is actively considering consolidating ALL fire departments and (2) Florida legislation is considering making all such assessments ILLEGAL because they are designed to avoid the taxpayers' savings that the State's recent property tax "roll-back" law mandates. It'll be interesting to see how this city council will vote.
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