Botana’s Plan B to Dissolve The FMB Fire District

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A new bill to dissolve the Fort Myers Beach Fire District will be taken up on November 30th at a delegation meeting of Southwest Florida state legislators in Fort Myers. Representative Adam Botana is pushing the bill because he believes it will save Florida taxpayers money.

After a flurry of feedback in opposition to his first plan, a merger of the Bonita Beach Fire District with Fort Myers Beach, the Florida delegation decided not to vote on Botana’s bill in October. In addition, Florida Senator Jonathan Martin said he would kill the bill if it ever came across his desk in Tallahassee. Martin said the residents of Fort Myers Beach had too much to deal with from Hurricane Ian and didn’t need this piled on top of them.

Botana’s new bill is very different than his first bill.

The new bill, which will come before the delegation at the end of this month, calls for completely dissolving the Fort Myers Beach Fire District. Botana now wants to create two new districts from three existing districts and that involves Bonita Springs, Fort Myers Beach and Iona-McGregor. The Matanzas Pass Bridge would split the two new districts.

One district would be created from the Matanzas Pass Bridge east to Iona and become the Iona-McGregor Fire District. Currently, the Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District extends over the bridge on San Carlos Boulevard. The other new district would cover everything from the Matanzas Pass Bridge south toward Bonita and become the Bonita Beach Fire District.

Botana’s new bill does not call for a study before being implemented. It does call for a referendum of the voters, which is what he promised when the first bill died. If this latest plan moves forward, it would be on the ballot in November of 2024. When Fort Myers Beach residents go to the polls next year here’s what they may see if this plan advances to a referendum:

“A referendum question shall be placed on the ballot of the qualified electors of the Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District in substantially the following form:
Shall Chapter 2024-____, Laws of Florida, dissolving the Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District, annexing the areas presently therein to the Bonita Springs Fire Control and Rescue District and Iona-McGregor Fire Protection and Rescue Service District, and distributing the assets and liabilities of the Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District to those districts, become effective?
(____) YES.
(____) NO.

The referendum would be voted on by the voters in all three districts.

Fort Myers Beach Fire Chief Scott Wirth says the district’s position hasn’t changed. They are against Botana’s latest plan. “The mergers in Collier County, which have 10 years of evidence to look at, show a cost increase rather than a cost decrease. This delegation needs to figure out why that happened before they accidentally impose higher taxes on the taxpayers of Lee County.”

14 COMMENTS

  1. Are they closing fire stations or firing (pun intended) personnel? Can they use Gulf water and a long hose instead of city water? Where is the savings? Where is the increased efficiency and the saved property and lives with the consolidation? Makes no sense!! What has he got against Ft Myers Beach or how is he benefitting from Bonita Springs?

  2. I’m all for less Government, Lets merge these fire districts that won’t be putting out many fires since half the town’s gone especially the old homes that were most vulnerable and are being replaced with all the updated codes imposed by the state and county so at a minimum we should reduce the fire department on FMB, let’s also unincorporate the Town of Fort Myers Beach and merge with Lee County. “Government Light” that was promised, is now “Government heavy” Just like the fire department, growing like weeds at the tax payers expense.

  3. When the politician says he’s for “less government” what he is really saying is that he is for “Big Government.” Merge smaller more localized governments into larger entities and you have created “big government” which will raise taxes and dilute the voice of the voting public. This failed concept has been tried many times in Florida and the result was always higher costs and taxes. If you want to see proof for yourself and compare apples to oranges, check this out – https://www.sancarlosfire.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Fire-Consolidation-Realities-Report-2017.pdf

  4. What a stupid fucking Idiot this Botana is! So FMB residents have to die before he see’s that his proposed bill doesn’t make any sense! It will take a fire company 20 to 30 min to go to a true emergency or fire. By that time the structure will be fully compromised and the people will be Dead!
    Gerhard
    Bay Beach Ln, FMB

  5. We are with the Chief. This plan does nothing to help FMB. At least leave FMB alone. And a new fire station is not needed?! We lost one in the storm and according to this plan, we’d lose the one over the bridge. Do I understand this correctly?

  6. Help me understand why merging 3 fire districts into 2 fire districts won’t save money.
    Also, help me understand why they cannot simply vote to do a study showing what the financial (and other) impacts would be.

  7. At least someone is trying to address the inefficiencies of Big Stupid Govt-
    A little common sense is all it takes to see that current set up is ridiculous and building a new fire station on FMB is absurd –
    What was going on was a Boondoggle for more Big Govt with never ending increased spending and continued lowering of service and standards.
    Guaranteed the vast Majority of those who are Vaxxed want the Fire Dept –

  8. What’s the chance that Botana either has a buddy in the fire dept web who needs a new title and a raise OR is he trying to keep his name in the headlines for future political recognition?? This idea does NOT make sense and will not serve our island well! Leave us alone!

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