North Collier Fire board pushes for voters to decide on proposed fire fee

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Collier County residents expressed differing opinions about a proposed fire fee.

“We live on a budget and you should too,” said North Naples resident Janet Vasey.

Others, like neighbor Shirley Cothran, took another position.

“You cannot cut costs when you don’t know what the demand is when the services you can provide come up,” Cothran said.

The North Collier Fire District Board unanimously agreed voters should decide in August if they want to support a fire fee.

“Rather than saddling us with your proposed new fee idea, you need to look inward at your operating costs,” said North Naples resident Steve Demidovich.

If the fee is approved, homeowners would pay a flat rate of $254 per year.

“What they have in front of them is a big increase in some areas and not an increase in another area — I don’t know where we’re going with this i think it should be voted down,” said Doug Fee, of Naples.

The North Collier Fire Rescue District said you’re ultimately voting on safety.

Funding currently comes from property changes, which can change. A fixed fee would give a steadier source of income to keep up with population growth, calls and equipment needs.

“I’d like to applaud all the firefighters here because if you’re going to crawl through my condo to save me and my family I appreciate that,” resident Bob Brown said.

There will be a decision whether or not to pass the fee in August.

If passed, the fire fee would generate approximately $3.5 million annually.

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