Letters to the Editor, Feb. 20

Marco Eagle

General fund option to pay for ambulance service

The city is pushing hard to get its own ambulance service to be operated through its Fire Rescue Department. To me, the most logical method to fund this project is to increase the millage rate for general fund revenue. this would cover the expenditures under the spending cap. This would also give the taxpayers the control they need to ensure that City Council is being “fiscally responsible.”

Editorial toon


This oversight means that the City Council is abiding by the language in the City Charter (Section 1.04 expenditure limitation).

Ordinance 17-03, Section 3 establishes the current millage rate at 1.8976.  ($1.8976 for every $1,000 of taxable property value). Hypothetically, if a higher rate was used above FY 2018 (meaning an increase in the millage rate) sufficient revenues should still be generated to cover the increases in the City’s operating expenses and fund the ambulance service.

Maria Lamb, Marco Island

Rebuttal: Ambulance service

As both a new full-time resident of Marco Island and a member of the “Fire Rescue Foundation,” please accept my letter as rebuttal to the “Letters to the Editor” published on Feb. 12 (Marco Eagle) and Feb. 14, 2018 (Naples Daily News) questioning the need for Marco Island to have its own EMS/Ambulance Service(s). 

Having personally attended recent City Council meetings, it should be clear that the Marco Island Council has voted unanimously to apply for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (COPCN) with both Collier County and state authorities. This should initiate the application process for eventually providing our city with its own EMS and ambulance services, in which I am in favor. The fact that the council continues to do its “due diligence” should not be misconstrued by some that the majority of the council is negative toward this concept. On the contrary, it is important for our City Council, and indeed all Marco Island residents, to fully question and understand the costs, funding required, infrastructure, manpower, etc. to properly justify the benefits for this important service on a local basis.

My basic understanding of the benefits for adding such a locally controlled ambulance service (compared to the current service that is totally controlled by Collier County) has been made clear by information provided from both an independent consultant’s (Fitch and Associates) data driven “summary report” for the Marco Island City Council plus discussions with our local fire-rescue services. (The “summary report” is available on the City of Marco Island website).

For the 911 calls (about 3,900) on Marco Island in 2017, Collier County provided one full-time ambulance and a second ambulance only for 12 hours per day during the season (5-months). Although about 90 percent of response time was excellent (under 8 minutes), in January 2018 there were 19 calls recorded between 10-19 minutes. Of equal importance, over 50 percent of the time transport to the hospital took approximately 60 minutes or longer.

The proposed addition of three ambulances strategically located around Marco Island, and under the control of Local EMS First Responders, will no doubt improve the current response time. This is most significant for our community which continues to grow significantly in population on an “all-year-round” basis, while still maintaining popularity among snow-birds and tourists during season. 

The cost for these proposed Marco Island EMS facilities is estimated at about $3-million annually. This is reported to equate to an increase in approximately $50 for each $500,000 of “assessed” (not market) value of your home or condominium unit. 

These Marco Island ambulance facilities will not act as “independent” entities, but will coordinate with the entire EMS network through-out our County.  This should provide a synergistic effect for all of Collier County by freeing-up EMS resources as population growth continues to move into the unincorporated regions of our county.

Finally, I am encouraging all eligible voters of Marco Island to do their homework regarding this topic prior to the ballot on Aug. 28. I’m confident that the City Council will make it clear that a “yes” vote will be in favor of our own ambulance facilities. If you are leaving Marco Island prior to Aug. 28, my suggestion is that you do a “mail in” ballot.  Thank you.

Len Schuman, Marco Island

Be better Earth custodians

Yes, the climate is changing. Yes, humans are mostly responsible. So are ants,

fungus, animals, the sun, oceans, etc. The real culprit is too many people (7.5 billion) on Earth and perhaps there is no solving this problem. Excuse me; Mother Nature will.

There is a problem with how we discuss it, however. The environmentalists think we can actually do something meaningful about it. At a recent meeting of climatologists (reported in Scientific American a couple of months ago), a leading scientist noted that if we went to zero pollution now it would take 700 years for the Earth to recover. Think about it.

The other side rants and raves that humans aren’t the problem. They are partially correct in that the sun’s cycles have a lot more to do with our climate. This has been going on and is directly coordinated with past cold and warming cycles in our history.

Let’s keep the far left and right sides out of it and come together to make a concentrated effort to do better as custodians of Mother Earth.

Larkin Barnett, Marco Island