North Collier Fire counting on voters to help fund services

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Dr. Jerry Kumin says his decision is a no-brainer. He’s voting yes to the question North Collier Fire is putting on the August ballot.

“I think it’s very important for protection and for everybody that lives in Collier County,” Kumin said. “I think they deserve a tax raise to be able to provide all the services they want to do.”

North Collier Fire says the days of responding to just flames and medical calls are long gone.

“All governments, we’re taking on more. What’s being asked of fire, EMS and police is truly evolving and is still evolving and we have to be able to meet those demands,” said Sal D’Angelo, executive director of NCF.

Demands like having boat crews, dive teams and equipping crews with bullet proof gear and training for active shooter situations didn’t exist in the past. But they do now.

“There’s a cost for all of that and the costs are not decreasing, they’re increasing,” D’Angelo said.

Voters in the district will be asked if they want to pay a fixed tax—like a storm water fee—to cover costs. Property taxes fund most of their budget, but it’s no longer enough.

“I’m not in favor of raising taxes,” said voter Michael Faeder.

But Faeder is willing to give if the money is going to the right place.

“I would be in favor of them helping out in the schools in terms of the problems they’ve had in the schools of active shooters and things of that nature,” he said.

If voters approve the referendum on Aug. 28, Collier Fire hopes to generate $3.5 million.

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