MARCO ISLAND — Marco Island Fire Rescue Department to be stimulated with new fire truck, and a chance for new station through a U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant.
About $50,000 for design plans for a revamped back-up fire station on Elkcam Circle were approved by Marco Island City Council Monday. This is in anticipation of the city receiving about $1.5 million in federal stimulus funds to tear down and replace the building, which is currently used as back up and for a training facility, Fire Chief Mike Murphy said.
In addition, council approved about $530,000 for the purchase of a new fire truck to replace a 20-year-old one, which had a 15 year life expectancy. This expense will come out of capital improvements paid for by the city.
The truck will be leased for 10 years at a cost of $5,850 and the city will get $12,000 for selling its used fire truck.
Murphy said there is more than $200 million available for fire stations in FEMA grants through the Department of Homeland Security.
"We haven't sat down with the architects, but I'm thinking it would be about $1.5 million. We could get a $2 million," he added.
Living quarters, which the station currently doesn't have, would be a part of the upgrades.
"So we're gambling $50,000 for $1.5 million in free money, or zero," Vice Chairman Frank Recker said.
"I don't mind giving him $50,000, but when he doesn't get his grant, then we're stuck buying a $1.5 million station for him," said Councilman Ted Forcht.
In an unusual occurrence, Forcht and Councilman Bill Trotter were the two councilors opposed to the request, which was approved in a 5-2 vote.
Forcht was skeptical of the need for new software to be used by the building services department as well.
He said the department issued fewer than 30 building permits in the past 12 months and the program costs about $120,000, so that would mean more than $3,000 per permit to pay for the software in a year.
Forcht suggested a comprehensive look at all city software at one time might be more helpful, although the timing of the expense is not ideal.
Trotter pointed out that a feature he liked was that residents and applicants could go online, fill out their applications, see what stage in the process they are at and other benefits for users as well as staff.
Community Development Director Steve Olmsted said the current software is 10 years old and of the departments he oversees, each use different software programs that are not compatible causing inefficiencies and possible room for error.
Council approved the request 6-1 with Forcht voting no. The software and hardware purchase is about $120,000 with a $10,000 annual maintenance cost.
Other council votes:
-Approved moving 12 properties from East Winterberry district into the Mackle Park district of the STRP to save an estimated $3,000 per property in adding them to the island-wide central sewer system.
-Approved a contract with Better Roads, Inc. to widen the bike lanes on Bald Eagle Drive between Collier Boulevard and Marco River Marina at a cost of $145,495.
-Approved up to $3,500 in community grants for the July 4th fireworks if more community funding isn't coming.
Council meeting notes:
-Councilman Wayne Waldack announced that City Clerk Laura Litzan is working to coordinate a flyover by the Homestead Air Force Base on the morning of July 4.
-Thompson reminded council of the 1 p.m. Collier Boulevard forensic audit result meeting 1 p.m. Monday in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.
-Scheduled a bond issue review and utility rate study for the July 20 council meeting, which is to be the only council meeting in July.
-Tentatively scheduled two budget work sessions in August, one August 3 and one August 17, in the afternoon before the regularly scheduled council meetings.
-Resident Bill McMullan led the invocation and Linda McCune led the pledge of allegiance.