Saturday, January 22, 2022

Letter to the Editor: COPCN… “To Be or Not To Be”

I have read with interest and confusion the recent commentary from Members of the Marco Island City Council and other Citizens leaning for (or against) approval of the August 28, 2018 Referendum to grant a COPCN for the City of Marco Island. As a full time resident of Marco, who has been a Snow-Bird since the mid- 1970’s, I would like to again take a more pragmatic view and present the following reasons for considering a “YES” Vote on August 28:

  1. With the enhancement/significant investment by both the Marriott (to JW Marriott status) and Hilton Hotels, “major” conferences and exhibitions will now be held on Marco Island. Logically, there is no way that 1.2 Ambulances (1 full and I part-time in season) can provide for the potential emergency needs that will be required.
  2. The increasing “senior” population on the Island also warrants our bolstering of local Emergency Medical Services, including total availability of life saving drugs.
  3. The “straw” vote taken in 2016 by the “unincorporated” regions of Collier County (excludes Naples, Marco Island and Everglades City), showed that about 61% want to put Fire/Rescue and Ambulance/EMS Services for the County into an Independent Taxing District.

Such action would take “all levels of control” away from Marco Island, if this vote were officially repeated in 2020. The result is that the “sucking sound” you will be hearing is the tax money leaving Marco Island to pay for these services for the expanding population into areas in both North and East Collier County.

  1. Without the COPCN (direct transport license), Marco will again be subject to the County pulling its Ambulances off the Island during any potential emergency situation. This occurred during Hurricane Irma for fear of flooding. My understanding is that in the midst of this storm cycle, the Marco Fire/Rescue Serves were forced to transport a seizure victim “directly” to the hospital (most likely helping to save the individual’s life). As a result, they were officially reprimanded by the County for not waiting for a County Ambulance to provide direct transport, although the County Ambulance could be 30 minutes or more away. (Totally Ridiculous! In an emergency, I believe good judgment circumvents Protocol).
  2. Both the need and justification for Marco Island to control its own Ambulance/EMS Services has been clearly delineated by the Independent Consultant’s Report provided to the City Council over two years ago and appears on its Website. The proposed “economic proposition” indicates that the payment of $100 per year for a $500,000 “Assessed” Property Value will cover the addition of two Green Ambulances, plus the appropriate number of EMS Personnel and a full-line of drugs to support their emergency activities. This has been reviewed by the City Council and placed on the upcoming August 28 Primary Ballot.

My recommendation is to Vote YES on August 28 for the COPCN for Marco Island. I am confident that both our City and County will continue to cooperate regarding these important life saving services. A YES Vote will provide the Marco Island Council the leverage it needs to negotiate a fair and long term arrangement for our Residents and growing community. “Let it Be!”

Len Schuman

Marco Island

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