Town Council Opposes Fire District Merger

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The Fort Myers Beach Town Council is sending a letter to the Florida delegation of legislators opposing a proposed merger of the Fort Myers Beach Fire District into Bonita Springs. A Bill has been submitted to the delegation to merge the districts from Representative Adam Botana.

Botana’s plan to merge the two districts was shared with Fire Chief Scott Wirth and Mayor Dan Allers 10 days ago. Botana has said he believes the merger would save taxpayers money but he did not provide any specifics. Over the weekend Botana sent Allers a letter with more details which you can read in our next story.

Fort Myers Beach Fire Chief Scott Wirth told the Town Council Monday that the Botana Bill serves no public service and Botana is disrespecting the people he swore to serve. Wirth said a study should be done to see if a merger makes sense to the taxpayers. An economic impact statement must be submitted with the Bill according to Florida delegation chair Jenna Persons-Mulicka.

Fire District Commissioner Ron Flemming told the Town Council Monday that this was a hostile take over of the fire district. “This bill is dangerous. He (Adam Botana) is ignoring his constituents and he refuses to answer any questions.”

Jennifer Gordon who represents the firefighters union said the Bill takes the will of the people out of the equation. “This Bill eliminates a huge piece of history. We think the beach has lost enough. This is your fire department, voted in by the people.”

Vice Mayor Jim Atterholt said he cannot imagine seeing this kind of initiative being taken without data. “I support a council resolution to urge a study be done and encourage all parties to be involved in that study.”

Councilman Bill Veach said a real study needs to be done not a back-of-a-napkin sketch.

Town Attorney Becky Vose will draft a letter in opposition to the merger that Mayor Dan Allers will sign and deliver to the delegation on October 30th.

The local delegation will vote on the Bill on October 30th at FSW in Fort Myers (unless it’s withdrawn before the 30th). If the Bill receives support from more than 50% of the delegation it moves onto Tallahassee and runs through the regular process for a Bill.

If you would like to reach out to members of the Florida delegation to voice your opinion, here is their contact information:
Representative Jenna Persons-Mulicka-District 78
Jenna.Persons@myfloridahouse.gov

Senator Kathleen Passidomo- District 28
Passidomo.Kathleen@flsenate.gov

Representative Mike Giallombardo – District 79
Mike.Giallombardo@myfloridahouse.gov

Senator Jonathan Martin- District 33
Martin.Jonathan@flsenate.gov

Representative Spencer Roach-District 76
Spencer.Roach@myfloridahouse.gov

Senator Ben Albritton- District 26
Albritton.Ben@flsenate.gov

Representative Adam Botana – District 80
Adam.Botana@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Tiffany Esposito- District 77
Tiffany.Esposito@myfloridahouse.gov

 

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