Letters to the Editor, March 15

Marco Eagle
Editorial cartoon

Fire agencies' calls and costs

Comparing costs of one fire agency with another in responding to emergencies is not an exact science.

There are variables such as geography covered, types and numbers of residential and commercial buildings, and population and its demographics, to name a few.

The National Fire Incident Reporting System categorizes fire agency responses. For calendar year 2017 the five local fire agencies were dispatched to 54,820.  

By percentage these were: rescue and emergency medical services, 63 percent; good intention calls (canceled before arrival or controlled burning) 15.2 percent; false alarms 8.9 percent; service calls (person in distress or other public service assistance) 8.2 percent; hazardous but no fire 2.2 percent; fires 1.9 percent; overpressure but no fire 0.1 percent; severe weather 0.1 percent; special incident complaint 0.1 percent.

Each local agency’s percentage breakdown was similar.

Taking annual personnel and operating budget costs (not counting yearly capital-related expenses) and dividing this by the responses, you arrive at the average operating cost per response.

Using 2017-18 fiscal budgets and 2017 calendar year responses, the overall result was $81,929,042 per 54,820 responses equals $1,494.51 per response.

  • Immokalee: $3,868,947 per 4,349 responses equals $889.62
  • Greater Naples: $28,352,756 per 20,927 responses equals $1,354.84    
  • Marco Island: $6,019,938 per 3,872 responses equals $1,554.74
  • Naples: $9,818,028 per 6,234 responses equals $1,574.92
  • North Collier: $33,869,373 per 19,438 responses equals $1,742.43     

To: “Would you support a single combined Fire and Emergency Medical Response Independent Special District in unincorporated Collier County that is governed by an independent elected body, to provide a unified emergency response?" In March 2016 voter response was 63 percent “yes.”

What is the next step for fire agency leadership of the three independent fire districts? 

Marvin Easton, Naples

To give golf a go

The Golden Gate golf course might be economically feasible if the following conditions are met: 

The course could be open only during the "season" Nov. 1 thru. April 30.

The private courses that open to the public during the summer would charge a fee that would go to the maintenance of the course during the summer.

Florida residents would play at a discount.

Ed Gerhart, Naples

Life forms lost to red tide

I have been a snorkel swimmer for over 70 years, including 25 years, seasonally, at Naples beaches. In that time, I have always managed to see nature's life forms under the ocean, no matter where I have been. My current season at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park beach, at the Gulf, has been very disappointing.

I have been snorkel swimming there since October 2018, whenever red tide did not interfere. I have yet to see living creatures under the surface water. I used to see schools of small bait fish, occasional snook and plenty of sheepshead fish. On the sand below the water, would be live sand dollars, small live conch, crabs and other life forms.

Tom Vasilos, Naples

Waiting for park in Estates

It is beginning to look like the ever-growing Estates area's planned Big Corkscrew regional park will never get built. There are no parks in the Estates area for the 50,000 Rural Estates and Corkscrew residents. Those of us who live in the Estates area have been talking about this park for decades, and it's still not built.

Mr. Scott Lepore of the one-cent sales tax citizen oversight committee says the park project does not improve the county's hurricane preparedness.

"This project seems to me to be a money grab," Lepore said.

What about the health and wellness of the Estates residents and their families?

This is no money grab, Mr. Lepore. This project was clearly laid out in the ballot language that was passed by Collier County residents.

During the months of public comment and meetings, we discussed the amenities of this park. I suggested that the indoor athletics complex be used as an additional hurricane shelter and be hardened if necessary, which I am sure is in the project. Maybe that would be sufficient for Mr. Lepore.

A "money grab" is insulting, Mr. Lepore. We have waited too long.

Randy Bills, Golden Gate Estates

It’s not OK

Is it OK to mock other people and laugh at their disabilities?

To allow children of immigrants seeking amnesty to be abused and neglected? To take public money to fund private schools which have more lenient rules? To charge a patient $7,500 per year, in addition to their insurance, to call themselves "concierge doctors," so patients are scared that they will be neglected in hospitals? As a result, internists in Florida, who accept regular insurance, have closed their practices because they have too many patients. Now, many people cannot find internists who are connected to NCH.

Is it OK to honor dictatorships and criticize democracies when one is president and still claim he is making this country better? To give our President the powers of a king and not have checks and balances in our government? To allow rich people to govern who commit crimes but put poor people in jail and take away their vote.

This is never OK.

Beverly Zeldes, Naples