DeSantis vetoes $650K for construction of Marco Island's main fire station

The new Fire Station 50 on Marco Island will include an emergency operations center, a training tower and cancer prevention technology, according to Chief Michael D. Murphy of the Fire-Rescue Department.

A $650,000 appropriation for the construction of Marco Island's main fire station was vetoed by Gov. Ron DeSantis as he signed Monday the state budget for fiscal year 2020-21. 

In total, DeSantis cut $1 billion in spending resulting in a $92.2 billion budget, according to a news release from the Governor's Office.

The city of Marco Island had plans to use the funds to help build a $10.4 million fire station and emergency center to replace the current structure built in 1991 at 1280 San Marco Rd., according to Fire-Rescue Chief Michael D. Murphy.

Murphy wrote in an email June 29 the project is "critical" and will continue despite DeSantis' veto.

"The city will again apply to the legislature for another grant next session," he wrote.

Murphy wrote that City Council is evaluating other funding sources like the city’s share of Collier County's 1% sales tax and the department's capital replacement program.

Fire-Rescue Chief Michael D. Murphy speaks during a Marco Island City Council meeting on June 1, 2020.

The approximately 25,000-square-foot building is estimated to cost as much as $11.7 million, according to a cost opinion made by BSSW Architects.

The building will be elevated to avoid flooding and it will resist up to 200 mph winds, according to Murphy. It will include new features like cancer prevention technology, an expanded fire bay area and a training tower.

The fire bay area will have an air exhaust system to remove carbon particles from engine exhaust and there will be a room away from the bay to clean contaminated bunker gear, he wrote June 9.

Employees will have to take showers and place contaminated clothing in the laundry before entering the station if they have been to a fire and or have blood exposure from a medical call, he wrote. 

On June 1, Marco Island City Council voted 4-3 authorizing staff to seek a manager at risk for the development and construction of Fire Station 50.

On June 15, City Council Chairman Erik Brechnitz instructed the city manager to evaluate the cost of hiring a second party to monitor the construction.

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