Renew Thoughts on Fire Consolidation – By Marvin Easton

Automatic Aid/Mutual Aid where the Closest, Available, Appropriate Unit (or units) responds, as administered by the Collier County Sherriff’s 911 System, no matter the fire agencies’ borders, which is participated by all 5 fire agencies in Collier County (Marco Island, Naples, Greater Naples, Immokalee, and North Collier) is a great benefit to the residents, visitors and commuters to Collier County and must be maintained.

In fiscal Oct 2021 – Sept 2022 there were 69,017 EMS calls: 13.6% or 9,371 were fire or fire alarm calls; 65.4% or 45,123 were medical or medical alarm calls, and 21.0% or 14,523 were rescue or other calls.

The IFD budget was $7,496,079 divided by 4,879 responses = $1,778 per call

The NCFD budget was $48,518,776 divided by 28,958 responses – $2,211 per call

NCFD responded to 379 calls into IFD, and IFD responded to 59 calls into IFD, for a net of 320 calls @ $2211/call or $707,520 funded by NCFD resident taxpayers to respond to IFD territory incidents.    

The annual tax rate for NCFD residents is 1 mill

The annual tax rate for IFD residents is 3.75 mills

Potential solutions:

  1. Modify the borders between IFD and NCFD such that more for the areas that NCFD in mostly responding into IFD territory are legally transferred to NCFD.

The advantage to the NCFD taxpayers is the cost of responding into that area is funded by the resident taxpayers of that area versus being funded by the taxpayers of NCFD.

The advantage to the current IFD taxpayers is their tax rate could be reduced.

  1. Consolidate IFD into NCFD as was done a few years ago when 6 Independent Collier County Fire Agencies combined to form NCFD and Greater Naples Fire Dept (+ Immokalee, Naples, and Marco Island) that improved both operational efficiencies and backoff efficiencies.
  2. Similar to 1 Collier County Sherrif Office, and 1 Collier County 911 System, and 1 Collier County EMS system, combine the 3 Independent Fire Agencies (GNFD, IFD, & NCFD) into 1 agency as a separate Collier County Fire Agency,

or as 1 department combining with the County EMS system,

or as 1 Collier County Public Safety Dept (combining the Sherrif, EMS, 911 and Fire).

  1. There are approximately 30 counties in Florida who have organized their fire departments into either one department for the entire county,

or one department for the unincorporated part of their county plus additional “city” based fire departments.