“Would you support consolidation of the five independent fire districts and two dependent fire districts into one independent fire district for unincorporated Collier County provided that consolidation will improve efficiency and promote a more cost-effective use of tax dollars?”
East Naples also asked
The East Naples fire district introduced a second straw ballot question that will ask voters in that district if they would support consolidation if the result is higher taxes and depleted service.
GOLDEN GATE — A nonbinding straw ballot question will ask most Collier County voters if they support a move to merge seven of the county’s fire departments into one.
Merging, or consolidation, of fire departments has been an ongoing debate in Collier County for decades, but the straw ballot is the first time voters from all of the fire districts in question would be able to weigh in on the discussion.
The question asks voters whether they would support consolidation of all dependent and independent fire districts in Collier County if that would “improve efficiency and promote a more cost-effective use of tax dollars.”
Voters living in Collier County’s five independent fire districts (Big Corkscrew Island, East Naples, Golden Gate, Immokalee and North Naples) and two county-run districts (Isles of Capri and Ochopee) will vote yes or no on the question. Voters who live in Naples or Marco Island will not vote. The results of the ballot will be broken up by precinct so fire officials can see how their district’s voters responded.
One of a series of stories about candidates and issues on Tuesday’s ballot. Watch for the countdown series daily at naplesnews.com and in the Daily News.
The nonbinding question, approved for the Nov. 2 ballot by the Collier County Commission, will not force fire districts to consolidate.
However, supporters of the ballot question, including the Golden Gate firefighters’ union, believe it may compel elected fire officials to take another look at the issue, which lately has been stalled.
Detractors of the bill, like the East Naples Fire Commission, take issue with the ballot wording. East Naples Fire Commissioner Tom Cannon said the question is misleading and purports an unrealistic view of consolidation’s consequences.
In response, the East Naples Fire Commission added its own nonbinding straw ballot for East Naples voters to consider.
That question essentially reverses the wording of the other. It asks East Naples Fire District voters if they would support consolidation if it resulted in higher taxes and a decreased effectiveness in emergency services.
- STAFF PHOTOS: Photos of the 2010 Elections
- READER PHOTOS: Submit your Election 2010 photos
- VIDEOS: Videos about the 2010 Elections
- PRECINCTS: An interactive map of early voting sites in Collier and Lee counties
- CANDIDATE INTERVIEWS: Editorial Board video interviews with Florida candidates
- ENDORSEMENTS: Daily News endorsements for the 2010 Elections
- TWITTER: Latest tweets from Florida candidates
- SPECIAL SECTION: For candidate video interviews, map of polling places, photos and more stories about the 2010 elections.