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Fla. Commissioners OK Workshop to Discuss Fire, EMS Consolidation

NAPLES, Fla. -- Early next year, Collier County could make some headway toward consolidating fire department and EMS services.

Perhaps the North Naples fire department could be running EMS services for the rest of Collier County.

The Collier Commissioners are ready to talk about it.

They voted 4 to 1 on Tuesday to hold a workshop between themselves, Emergency Medical Services officials and the fire chiefs of the city of Naples, city of Marco Island and North Naples fire departments. Commissioner Tom Henning was opposed saying a workshop was unnecessary.

"Go consolidate. Period," Henning said.

The meeting, which will be held early next year, is contingent on the Marco Island City Council and the Naples City Council giving the OK for the fire departments to participate.

The workshop, which could be held as early as next month, would look at the potential issuing of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity - given by the commissioners to qualified patient transport providers to provide Advanced Life Support services - to the three fire departments for pre-hospital emergency medical transport.

Under the county's current model, EMS and ambulance service is run through Collier County government under the license of county Medical Director Dr. Robert Tober, who reports to the County Commission. Through agreements, the Collier County Sheriff's Office and the various fire districts and municipal fire departments assist with on-scene medical care.

Attorney Burt Saunders, who represents the North Naples fire department and the city of Marco Island, said the proposals could lead to a discussion about the city of Naples Fire Department providing EMS services for the city; the Marco Island Fire Department providing EMS services for Marco Island; and the North Naples fire department providing services for the rest of the county.

"It might address areas that are underserved now," he said.

Immokalee Fire Commissioner Pam Brown asked that the fire commissioners from each fire district also be included in the meeting. That also was accepted by the majority of Collier Commission members.

In other commission business

Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt decreases to several county impact fees.

The move affects the road, community parks, regional parks, jail, emergency medical services, library and government buildings impact fees based on the application of the county's adopted indexing methodology.

The move decreases impact fees from 0.6 percent for libraries to 8.9 percent in regional parks. It means a loss of revenue of between $1,980 in EMS impact fees each year to $347,000 in transportation impact fees.

The change did not affect impact fees of the Isles of Capri and Ochopee Fire Departments, which will stay at their current level. School and law enforcement impact fees, which generate fees lower then the indexing methodology, will also remain unchanged.

Commissioners voted to authorize the county attorney to advertise amendments of two ordinances for future consideration. The ordinances relate to public solicitation of contributions and the issuance of permits for charitable solicitation at intersections.

The amendments would, among other things, require those soliciting for military organizations to prove their affiliation with a valid charity or organization and would require solicitors to have signs that indicate who they are collecting money for.



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