For those who missed it this past week, the newly formed group to encourage our citizens to vote in favor of the ambulance referendum, OCOA (Our City Our Ambulance), put on a highly informational meeting featuring our fabulous Fire Rescue Chief Michael Murphy. The Chief’s presentation was excellent, and featured all the reasons why every registered voter on Marco should plan to vote, either in person or via absentee ballot, for the Referendum.
As I watched the people in attendance, and listened to their questions, I’m concerned that there might have been a little too much information. I’d like to share with you my “take-aways” from the meeting:
1. Despite the fact that Marco has 28 licensed and State-certified ALS (Advanced Life Support) paramedics, they are unable to use drugs that will save your life if you are in duress, or administer the “golden drugs” that can help prevent a stroke, thus possibly making you a living vegetable!
2. Regardless of how severe your medical emergency might be, and despite the fact that every piece of equipment Marco owns is ALS certified, they are NEVER allowed to transport a patient to a hospital! (As an aside, during Hurricane Irma the County removed our EMS Ambulance and there was a medical emergency that required transport; Chief Murphy had the courage to ignore protocol and told our people to transport the patient, but instead of giving him a medal for courage, he was reprimanded!)
3. If you or your loved ones needed drugs and had to be transported you would need to wait for a Collier County EMS Ambulance to arrive.
Despite no cooperation from the Collier County Commissioners, our citizenry demonstrated so much support for our willingness to support having our own ambulance service that our local State representatives Bob Rommel, Kathleen Passidomo, and Byron Daniels got near unanimous support in the Legislature (One dissenting vote between the House and Senate) to allow Marco Island to be the FIRST AND ONLY CITY that could have it’s own ambulance service. Further, thanks to our citizens’ calls and emails, and despite lobbying by private ambulance services, Governor Scott signed the bill into law; when he signed it he said something to the effect, “that I thought Marco only had 12,000 voters, but I’ve gotten at least 16,000 emails!”
The specific costs of approving a plan that would provide two full-time ambulances (we currently have one full-time from the County and a second for 4 months), as well as a back-up third unit, are not known, however the most recent report from the Consultant indicates that depending on when or if you used Homestead your cost could be as much as $30 per YEAR for each $250,000 of taxable value (don’t forget that you can have a $1,000,000 home/condo, but if you Homesteaded it some time ago your taxable value could be as low as $250,00).
Is your life worth that?
The sole objective of OCOA is to get as many registered voters as possible to support the Referendum.
Why do we need our citizens to support this: (1) the Bill that was passed requires approval of the Referendum in order for us to get the ambulance service (called COPCN); (2) it only requires 50% plus one to pass!
How can you help save your life and those of others? 1. Be sure to vote; if you are a seasonal resident and have not yet elected to receive an Absentee Ballot, do it now! (You can go online to colliervotes.com and sign-up; 2. Contribute to OCOA by going to their website Ourcityourambulance.com for more information and how to contribute so that they can continue their efforts; 3. Tell everyone you know about this critical issue.
And most importantly,
4. Vote “Yes” for this referendum on August 28!