This letter is in response to the Naples Daily News Editorial on June 1, 2016 regarding improving inter-government communication. I am running for City Council on Marco Island and this is one of my main campaign issues. It is imperative that Marco Island has an improved working relationship with the Collier County Board of Commissioners because without one, Marco Island essentially has “taxation without representation”. Demographically, geographically and monetarily, in terms of taxes, Marco Island is almost identical to the City of Naples. Yet, so frequently Marco Island is an afterthought.
Marco Island citizens want local control over their emergency medical services. Through an “inter local” agreement with Collier County, Marco Island currently seems to be functioning. However, with the push for consolidation of fire/rescue services in unincorporated Collier County, our residents fear that we will be inadequately supported. The City of Naples has five ambulances stationed full time within their city limits while Marco has only one full time ambulance. For five months during season, a second ambulance is stationed part time on the island during daytime hours. On several occasions this past season, there were four concurrent emergency calls. Marco Island needs their own COPCN to deal with these emergency issues in a timely manner.
The editorial also raised the issue regarding the road to Goodland. This is a complex issue that cannot be resolved simply. Yes, there are different interpretations between the City and County as to what the original agreement means. Additionally, there are serious environmental issues in which both the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and Rookery Bay are eager to participate. Add to that, the cost for hydrological studies and the enormous cost to raise the road bed need to be addressed.
The City of Marco Island and the Collier County Board of Commissioners need to meet in order to help resolve these issues as well as other issues of mutual interest such as the beaches on Marco Island, the impact of increased density in eastern Collier County and others. This should be a “two way street” and direct meetings would be much more productive than working through a third party.
Dr. Jerry Swiacki, Candidate for Marco Island City Council