Marco Island City Council okays dollars to operate second fire station full-time

— City of Marco Island Fire-Rescue Chief Michael Murphy has been trying for years to get the city to man Station 51, the fire station on the north side of Elkham Circle East, on a full-time basis. Now, with the help of some impact fee dollars, it looks like his wish is coming true.

Monday evening, the Marco Island City Council voted to approve the expenditure of $16,000 for improvements at the station, which is currently staffed part-time. Chief Murphy lauded the move, saying it will dramatically cut response time on the north side of the island, saving precious minutes in the crucial first minutes of responding to an emergency call.

With the daytime staffing his department has had at Station 51, said Murphy, they have been able to compile statistics showing a comparison in speed of response with and without firefighters at the facility.

“In fire-rescue and life safety, time is critical,” he said. “Every minute means less damage, both in a fire and a medical emergency. We’ve seen a reduction of 50 percent in response time, utilizing the station on Elkcam Circle,” for zones served most effectively from the station.

With an overall fire department budget of $4,530,000, the department’s budget contains $35,000 for Station 51. The added $16,000 comes from revenue derived from impact fees, which can only be used to pay for growth-related expenses.

The need is pressing at Station 51, said Murphy.

“We have windows that are being held shut with duct tape,” he said, that will be replaced by impact windows with the impact fee money. Renovations also include sealing interior doors and installing a vehicle exhaust fan in the apparatus bay, to keep diesel fumes out of the station’s interior spaces. Murphy added that the firefighters have done a lot on their own to improve the livability of the facility.

Murphy displayed a chart showing response times, with times cut over three minutes for calls from areas near Station 51.

“When you’re having a heart attack, or you’re bleeding, three minutes is huge,” he said, and the same is true of structure fires, where early response is key. It adds up, said his handout, to a “dramatic improvement in response times, when we have personnel at this fire station.”

The time savings are even more noticeable during seasonal heavy traffic, or when vehicles are backed up, as they have been on Bald Eagle during the utility improvements recently, said Murphy. He also pointed out that Station 51 is much nearer to the fire department’s boat, located behind the Pier 81 marina, speeding response for marine calls.

“This has been on the table for years,” noted Council Vice-chairman Larry Magel, indicating his approval. “The chief says this will be all we spend, and we can spend impact fees, as long as it’s growth-related.”

“I think it’s a good first step, using impact fees,” agreed Councilman Bill Trotter. With Councilman Wayne Waldack making a motion for approval, the expenditure passed on a vote of 6-0, with Chairman Frank Recker absent.

Murphy said the department will staff Station 51 with one fire engine, a paramedic vehicle with trained medical emergency responders aboard.

“We’ll leave the tower (truck) and another truck here,” he said, speaking outside the fire station at Bald Eagle and San Marco.

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Comments » 22

Rustie writes:

What a waste.

ajm3s writes:

Wasteful spending and priorities run afoul, again. But I can hear the rebuttal, "its only $16K".

But we cost conscious types, know a little here and a little there ends up costing quite a bit.

Note: adjoining communities are cutting staff and reducing operational costs. But Marco Island continues on a spending trajectory.

And this with a safety center in the center of town built several years ago, to replace the outlying facilities.

This council cannot say NO to expansionism, where ever it rears its head, in a climate of fiscal constraint throughout the county and state.

Is it too much of a stretch to predict where taxes and fees are going for 2012?
Is it too bold to say inefficient use of tax revenues?

Again, I say, does P+R+I+O+R+I+T+Y mean anything in this city? Apparently, not.

marco826 writes:

Small price to pay for better response times. If your property were to be in jeopardy, I'd bet you would be thrilled by this decision.

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

All well and good, so called faster response times.
What I do not understand is that Station 51 can be improved for only $16,000, when Murphy had originally asked for $350,000 just a little over a month ago.
I would like to know what the firefighters did "on their own" that it created such a huge savings, if this is true maybe Murphy should be in charge of the entire city and get all the other city employees to work "on their on". Can you imagine the savings.
Seriously, what did they do "on their own"?
Did they have a permit if one was needed?
Did they perform all the nessesary building code improvments?
Were they qualified to perform these improvements?
Is this another case of the City aquiring permits on their own or with a secret sweetheart deal with a contractor?

ajm3s writes:

in response to happyhorowitz34145:

All well and good, so called faster response times.
What I do not understand is that Station 51 can be improved for only $16,000, when Murphy had originally asked for $350,000 just a little over a month ago.
I would like to know what the firefighters did "on their own" that it created such a huge savings, if this is true maybe Murphy should be in charge of the entire city and get all the other city employees to work "on their on". Can you imagine the savings.
Seriously, what did they do "on their own"?
Did they have a permit if one was needed?
Did they perform all the nessesary building code improvments?
Were they qualified to perform these improvements?
Is this another case of the City aquiring permits on their own or with a secret sweetheart deal with a contractor?

Thank you!

ajm3s writes:

in response to marco826:

Small price to pay for better response times. If your property were to be in jeopardy, I'd bet you would be thrilled by this decision.

That is not the real price. Any person who understands the cost of construction gets it. Now the folks will be duped with low cost as the new driver for getting things done.

Oh yeah? Just like the sewer and water upgrades and expansion. Great planning and cost controls!

Folks, history matters, and this city is far from being efficient.

Seawaller writes:

If multiple stations is the ideal (and I'm not saying it is on a 4x6 island) why didn't they just keep the one on Barfield and fix up the one on Elkam? Why build the big one on San Marco and Bald Eagle? I think it has to do with a complete lack of long range planning - in all aspects of City government. If a private business operated in such a knee jerk manner, they would go bankrupt. Lucky for the City they can avoid this by taxing and feeing us all into personal bankruptcy, something I believe at least some of the "decision makers" are all too familiar with.

August8 writes:

Squeeky wheel gets the oil,
It's your $$$$, this guy is up to his tonsils in Island Politics, works the hallway's with care and thought, and this is the result, A+ for the putz.

What-ever

ajm3s writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If you thank Chief Murphy, why would you not recommend we have a small community police station alongside to reduce response time, as well.

ajm3s writes:

in response to August8:

Squeeky wheel gets the oil,
It's your $$$$, this guy is up to his tonsils in Island Politics, works the hallway's with care and thought, and this is the result, A+ for the putz.

What-ever

A politician he is, a fire professional he is not:

Example: Mr. Murphy testified that a shell driveway as an impediment to professional rescue operations. That said it all to me. The city manager and council did not make a single critical response, which I took as an endorsement of his critical thinking.

SCARRY!

But then again, politicians think alike.

happy6 writes:

what about faster response times for the south end of the island..obviously the NEW fire station can only handle calls that are no more then 2 blocks away....or is it that we just want to respond to the north end faster than the south...i do not understand the logic here...

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

MarcoIslandWoman writes "Thank you Chief Murphy, you made a great job".
Does that mean he made a great job for himseif?
Does that mean he made a great job of screwing the taxpayers again?
Speaking of the MIPD, it seems that our City Guru has the bright idea of Community patrols, in season have a hightened police force to patrol the island, and in the off season cut the force down to only two officers on patrol.
Hey, maybe that's why Quagmire had those lights installed on his personal vehicle.
"We have people pulling guns out there" according to Phoney PHD.
I can see it now, a crime is reported, and the city sends all their employees with their NEW embroidered T shirts to act as the backup SWAT Team.
And I wonder who on the code board is embroidering the new T shirts?

August8 writes:

HappyHorowitce ???? Uh,

explain please?? Details, not slander.

Oh, and if you need that quick of response by fire, overdone for sure, perhaps rent a condo nect to the closest hospital.

RayPray writes:

in response to August8:

HappyHorowitce ???? Uh,

explain please?? Details, not slander.

Oh, and if you need that quick of response by fire, overdone for sure, perhaps rent a condo nect to the closest hospital.

Instead of stuffing your face with donuts while relaxing on duty in the parking lot, Sancho, have you ever considered taking an English as a 2nd language course?

deltarome writes:

At $16,000, the camel is getting his nose in the tent.......

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

in response to August8:

HappyHorowitce ???? Uh,

explain please?? Details, not slander.

Oh, and if you need that quick of response by fire, overdone for sure, perhaps rent a condo nect to the closest hospital.

Fact: Reviere had the city mechanic install lights on his personal vehicle
Fact: Reviere's comment and idea on community policing.
Fact: Reviere stated "we have people pulling guns out there"'
Fact: Reviere commented and had the idea of buying a new boat to allow two city employees to sail around the canals checking on seawalls.
Fact: Reviere is not a real Dr. his Phd is missing a few classes.
Fact: Murphy is not a good chief, great at being a politician.
Fact: aquestion is not slander.
Question: If you are a donut stuffer on duty as RAYPRAY stated, you might start worrying about a new line of work or another dept. to transfer to.

NobodysFool57 writes:

Living anywhere near a fire station is not a treat. Anytime the trucks leave the main station I have to listen to their sirens. I suppose they do this to remind us of what a valuable service they provide. Frankly, if my place burned, I would have it demo'd and move somwhere that the local government isn't quite so hostile to the locals.

marconed writes:

Speaking of waste why do we need 30some cops on a 25 Sqare mile island? Theyre way overpaid,they have yo have gas guzzling S U Vs.Patrol boats 4 wheelers give me a break this is not Miami. And why do they get to take Police vehicles to and from work from Bonita or Naples. I followed one to the island last Tuesday.He was going to his job just like thousands of others . I paced him at 66 M P H no lights no siren just going to work at our expense Guess the laws dont apply to them. A bunch of arrogant overpaid folks that probably couldnt make it in a big city force or left it for a gravy job. If were paying for the Sherrifs Dept,let them do it

Marconian writes:

Ok, I think this question and comment is warranted.

How much longer are the citizens of marco going to let the Phoney Phd. get away with running this city like his own personal toy.

It Has already been common knowledge that his credentials are fake,he has made severe cuts from the depts that actually need the money to operate properly in order to fund his personal fetish of a want a be fire fighter.

has openly stated and was quoted that your city employees are nothing more than grunts note he was refering to the employees that actually do you a service.

he also stated and was quoted that the citizens voice was just noise.

Steve Thomson who was more than likely the best man for the job that this island had seen in its life as a city was ran out on a rail for what the previous manager had created before his employment.
I know what your thinking now well he didnt come forward with it right away....duh... he was trying to figure out what he was looking at and how to approach it and he was deheaded before he had a chance.
so with that said how many more fire stations and mipd suvs fire trucks and upgrades to his personal vehicle will you pay for before you say enough is enough.
not looking for a fight just a simple answer!

marcojerry writes:

I'm sure the city isn't worried about budgets, I watch every city council meeting and they are wanting to privatize the water department now and layoff all the employees, privatize mackle park and layoff the city employees, privatize parts of the citys finance department and even privatize the landscaping too. We worked so hard to make marco island a city run island and now everything is going to be privatized, just like rick scott is doing to florida and all the contracts will be handed out to "friends" of you know who. rick scott is destroying the state this way and now marco island is following suit. i have lived here over 20 years now and have seen it go from county run to city run and now its heading to privately run where they will just care about the money, not the people and our services will go to crap. why is the city going to become a rick scott model, tell me this please, i have lived here long enough to see this is not right for us

JGAFF writes:

All Murphy does is waste M.I. money. $600,000 for a fire truck that has not seen flames or probably never will. $280,000 for a fire boat?? Hires 3 people when every agency in SW Flordia is laying off. Waste Murphy. Get rid of this smoothe talking spender of our tax dollars.

Maxie writes:

One assumes, and one can only hope, that additional staff will not need to be hired for this "new" station (five will get you ten the chief feels the deparment is understaffed). The city's staff is so bloated already as to defy description.

The 38 invidivuals now working for the department should be more than enough for this small island: 1 Fire Chief($105K, rounded up), 1 deputy chief ($107K!!!!), 6 driver/engineers ($51K-$76K), 6 captains ($83K-$92K), 18 various 'firefighters' ($43K-$62K), 3 division chiefs ($96K-$100K), 1 inspector ($56K), 1 code official ($79K) and 1 administrative assistant ($44K), taking home a total of $2,511,284.00 a year (Source: Sun Times).

Considering that I see a firetruck sitting behind Publix with a regularity that seems somewhat excessive, while two or three guys are inside shopping, I wonder if we are getting our money's worth?

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