Sunday, October 25, 2020

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Marco Islanders: Fasten Seatbelts – Approaching Turbulence

On Monday, the City Council discussed how to word the ballot that you will be voting on in August. That vote will decide whether or not the city should add its own ambulance service to the service already being provided by the county. Chairman Grifoni presented a proposed ballot that, in my opinion, was embarrassingly obvious in its design to produce a “Yes” vote from you. The casually informed voter would mistakenly think that a “No” vote might leave Marco Island without any ambulance service at all. Even more disappointing was the appearance that, out of the seven elected councilors, only two seemed willing to present the ambulance issue objectively, with the remaining five councilors apparently dug in and rooting for a “Yes” vote. Happily, Councilors Reed and Roman correctly criticized the biased language of the proposed ballot, and other faults such as costs, funding and what problem exactly is this supposed to “fix”? Statistically, Marco enjoys above national average ambulance service from the County. Also, will Marco have to give up something in order to remain within our 3% spending cap? Chairman Grifoni felt that it was up to the voters to do their own homework because it’s impossible to explain everything within the word-limitations of a ballot. Well, yes indeed, there’s a seventy-five word count limit to any ballot, but nevertheless I happen to think it’s the Council’s responsibility to educate the constituency on the pros and cons of any given issue well before voting day, don’t you? Unless, of course, there’s an agenda here somewhere.

At any rate, a few gnawing concerns deserve attention:

1. If approved, Marco’s ambulance service and costs DO NOT REPLACE the

County’s service and costs but are in ADDITION to them.

2. If approved, Marco-owned ambulance service will, by law, still come under Collier

County control.

3. County ambulance response service to Marco, (93% of responses are 8 or less minutes), far exceeds the national average, so what exactly is the problem that owning our own ambulances is supposed to fix?

4. Owning our own ambulances seems to promise three certain things: doubles our costs, adds a city bureaucracy and paints

“City of Marco Island” on the ambulance.

Unless the hospital moves nearer to Marco, all else remains the same.

I’m just an interested resident and certainly no expert, but this seems to be what my little research has turned up. How about yours?

Russ Colombo

Marco Island

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