Isles of Capri fire board takes first foray into partnership with Marco Island’s Fire Department

Isles of Capri Fire Advisory Board Chairman Joe Langkawel, left, Ted Decker and Kevin Walsh (with glasses) listen to questions about a partnership with Marco Island's Fire Department during a meeting on March 15. Walsh is the board's liaison for talks with the City of Marco Island. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Isles of Capri Fire Advisory Board Chairman Joe Langkawel, left, Ted Decker and Kevin Walsh (with glasses) listen to questions about a partnership with Marco Island's Fire Department during a meeting on March 15. Walsh is the board's liaison for talks with the City of Marco Island. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Members of the Isles of Capri community and two members from the Fairways on Mainsail Drive consider discussions to join with the City of Marco Island's Fire Department at the Isles of Capri Fire Advisory Board meeting on March 15. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Members of the Isles of Capri community and two members from the Fairways on Mainsail Drive consider discussions to join with the City of Marco Island's Fire Department at the Isles of Capri Fire Advisory Board meeting on March 15. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Ochopee Fire Chief Alan McLaughlin explains to the Isles of Capri Fire Advisory Board that a search for a new chief for its fire department could take until Oct. 1 when the board's fiscal year 2013 begins. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Ochopee Fire Chief Alan McLaughlin explains to the Isles of Capri Fire Advisory Board that a search for a new chief for its fire department could take until Oct. 1 when the board's fiscal year 2013 begins. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

— Residents of Isles of Capri’s Fire District including representatives from Marco Shores discussed early talks with Marco Island’s Fire Department on joining forces.

A committee appointed to meet with Marco’s representatives said the first meeting was reassuring with no roadblocks to continuing its investigation.

The report was given as part of Isles of Capri’s Fire Control District Advisory Board’s regularly scheduled meeting on March 15. Board member Kevin Walsh, who had been appointed as the board’s liaison in the talks, gave the summation.

The investigative committee met with Marco Island Fire Chief Mike Murphy, Deputy Chief Chris Byrne and city council liaison, Chairman Larry Magel. That meeting followed one with Collier County’s Board of Commissioner and the committee that Walsh said was productive.

The committee asked for and received approval from commissioners to continue to conduct its investigation into changing administration of its District from the county to the City of Marco Island. The group also learned that Dwight Brock, county clerk, would help the committee qualify the financial models to be used in developing the Marco partnership.

Marco Island’s attorney reviewed the legality of what the committee was considering and determined there were no impediments to the investigative process, Walsh said.

Members of homeowners associations in Marco Shores and Fiddler’s Creek were contacted about the fire board’s meeting. Their properties fall within the Isles of Capri Fire District giving them a stake in the outcome. Two representatives from the Fairways on Mainsail Drive attended the meeting.

Board Chairman Joe Langkawel answered their questions about rationales for seeking the change.

“The reason we’re doing this is the advisory board has to look at the health and well-being of the fire department,” he said. “We must keep it intact and fiscally solvent.”

Langkawel stressed the desire to keep a hometown atmosphere for the District that included keeping firefighters and equipment with the department.

“The issue is not Chief Rodriguez,” board members said. “Those issues are strictly between the county and Rodriquez. We’re strictly financial. We do not hire. We do not fire. We can only give recommendations.”

The fire department currently is overseen by Ochopee Fire Chief Alan McLaughlin, who is there as a provisional supervisor appointed by the county. The county has solicited resumes to fill the chief’s position vacated when Rodriguez was fired. Members of the community asked McLaughlin if he had applied.

“If you are there, it’s assumed you can be an applicant,” McLaughlin replied. Acey Edgemon was appointed to be the board’s liaison with firefighters as changes progressed.

For Marco Island, Magel said the city wanted to help out a neighboring fire department if possible.

“They have to decide what they want to do. Then we’ll look at it and cost it and see what makes sense,” he said. Magel didn’t think the taxes paid by fire district homeowners and businesses could come directly to the city.

“They would have to give it to the county and the county would give it to us for administration,” he said. “It would be a break-even agreement. The city is not looking to profit from this.”

Chief Murphy agreed.

“Fire Rescue is a business that the city operates as a business. We’re willing to provide a business solution if required,” he said. “Anything we can do to help, we will do it.”

The Isles of Capri Fire Rescue District includes the Isles of Capri community, condominiums and Hammock Bay gated community on Mainsail Drive, and the front portion of Fiddler’s Creek gated community.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 5

magel4marco writes:

Maybe that's because they pay 1.5 mils just for fire while Marco Island pays 1.91 mils for the entire city operation.

magel4marco writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are not getting the point. I'm talking about the tax rate in mils/1000 of assessed valuation, not dollars. If you have a house worth 100,000 on the Isle of Capri you would pay $150 just for fire service only. and $191 for all of your Marco Island services, including Police, Fire, and City Government, etc.
In addition I'm now told the Isle of Capri millage rate is 2.0/1000 not 1.5/1000 in my earlier post. So it's $200 just for fire on the Isle vs $191 for all of Marco Island.
In other words Isle of Capri pays more for fire service than Marco pays for all of City Government.

ajm3s writes:

in response to magel4marco:

You are not getting the point. I'm talking about the tax rate in mils/1000 of assessed valuation, not dollars. If you have a house worth 100,000 on the Isle of Capri you would pay $150 just for fire service only. and $191 for all of your Marco Island services, including Police, Fire, and City Government, etc.
In addition I'm now told the Isle of Capri millage rate is 2.0/1000 not 1.5/1000 in my earlier post. So it's $200 just for fire on the Isle vs $191 for all of Marco Island.
In other words Isle of Capri pays more for fire service than Marco pays for all of City Government.

Hey, wait one minute!

In keeping with Mr. Magel's latest message as written in the LTE in the Sun Times, we need the facts. And its generally not the facts that bother me, its the stuff that is not included in the analysis.

How about that pesky term, economy of scale! If you wish to use Magel4Marco as your moniker, why must you focus your argument on the tax rate, mils/1000? I appreciate the laser focus on millage, as I appreciated Mr. Magel's focus on "bullet" voting in his first campaign to focus on condos. It was very effective, but it did not represent the entire population of Marco.

Sometimes the facts get in the way when using a metric that severely skews a small community vs a city, especially for high cost services. But bear in mind, I believe, the Isles of Capri community WANTED and continues to support a fire station vs a city with residents that question the acumen of safety leadership on this island.

Now, in an attempt to provide insight, there are minimum and fixed costs associated with staffing and equipping a fire station, and in most cities the larger cost burden outside of schools. Consider,the smallest fire engine with mandated staffing can service a much larger population than is currently on the Isles of Capri, which would lower the millage. But again, Isle of Capri is not expanding, not adding condos.

So please, be wary of facts, it can sometimes create an illusion of efficiency. When in fact, it represents the residents, a small population, of Isles of Capri supporting a fire station.

Can the same be spoken of Marco Island?

August8 writes:

Careful Boy's ?????????

Islanderguy239 writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

wow talk about uneducated......

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