Royal Harbor Update – August 18,2014

There is a lot going on for this time of year.

 First is the water project. This is the laying of the new 8 inch water lines in Royal Harbor. Right now the project is past Sheepshead and moving along down Sandpiper toward Marlin. They are going right along and you can drive down the street to see how the project is going. If you recall we were told that driveways would be horizontally drilled under. I see no evidence of this and it appears they are taking up pavers, digging then replacing them. In concrete drives they just cut the concrete then dig and, I suppose, replace it. I guess we should have known from the dredging project that the plans change once the contracts are awarded and the project begins. I also see they are putting in some new water hydrants and I know some are unhappy with their placement. If you have questions, you have to contact the city for answers. The link is bmiddleton@naplesgov.com. (Bob Middleton) he can field your questions or send you on to the contractor’s people.  Overall, I have to say it looks like they are moving along and the outcome appears will be fine. No one likes inconvenience, but this is the price we have to pay to update our water supply.

Many times people stop me and complain about the decisions the city makes. If you would like to have a say in the city, you can always volunteer for one of the many advisory boards. Available openings can be found at http://www.naplesgov.com/index.aspx?NID=517 If you would like to volunteer, please read details and apply. Get involved and make a difference.

 RaceTrac . The petition for stopping the new RaceTrac is attached if you are against this and want to add your name. Just click the link below. .

http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/nous41racetrac

 In 2 days the council will take the initial vote on the merging of the emergency responders 911 system. I have mentioned this last month but again will summarize using the Naples Daily news article below. (Brett Batten)

Batten

NAPLES, Fla. – In this corner, the city staff and fire chief, with a raft of technical questions and gloomy scenarios.

And in this corner, the county’s foremost self-made expert on matters of emergency services coordination, ably but not unequivocally supported by the Collier County Medical Society.

That’s the fight that’s shaping up Wednesday over whether the city of Naples should take part in a new emergency dispatch system that would send the closest appropriate unit to medical calls regardless of political boundaries. It would mean paramedics on a North Naples Fire Department truck, for example, might respond to a medical call in the city of Naples or a Naples firetruck might be sent to East Naples.

GPS transponders in more than 450 emergency vehicles countywide would allow a computer to find and send the closest unit in a process called Computer Assisted Dispatch, or CAD.

Sitting as ringside judges in the contest will be Naples’ mayor and City Council members who will decide whether to join the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, county ambulance service, Marco Island police and fire and seven independent fire districts already committed to participating in CAD and closest unit response.

The sheriff’s office is spearheading the initiative, installing a new dispatch system to replace the one it now operates for itself, EMS and the fire departments.

The city staff, heavyweights including City Manager Bill Moss and Fire Chief Steve McInerny, are recommending a split decision. Their advice to council is to join the CAD system, allowing the sheriff’s new computer to keep track of its police and fire vehicles while city employees dispatch them from the city’s own call center. But they recommend against participating in closest unit response, saying the logistical and technical questions are too many and worrying the net result might be a lower level of service for city residents.

That’s raised the fighting ire of Marvin Easton, a proponent of closest unit response who’s been lobbying tirelessly for its adoption by the city. Easton has recruited the Collier County Medical Society, whose president, Dr. Mitchell Zeitler, has penned a letter on behalf of the group. “If feasible for the city, we recommend implementing the ‘Closest Appropriate Available Unit Response’ by use of the new CAD system,” Zeitler wrote.

That “if feasible” could be a sticking point.

A lengthy report attached to Wednesday’s City Council agenda shows city staff is not convinced closest unit response is feasible.

Among the potential drawbacks:

Units from other jurisdictions may not be familiar with city streets and buildings, meaning any time saved en route would be negated.

And, if city units are called to emergencies just outside the city, it could slow the response to a concurrent emergency in the heart of the city.

“While some citizens may benefit by implementation of ‘closest unit response,’ there is no compelling evidence that the majority of citizens of Naples will benefit. In fact, the overall emergency response capabilities will diminish for most citizens,” the staff report states.

The staff report envisions a situation in which neighboring departments will come into the city more often than city units will go into them. That could lead to those neighboring departments seeking money from Naples to cover the costs.

“If it is later determined that compensation is to be paid for an imbalance of calls, are these funds better utilized to staff and equip the Naples Fire-Rescue Department?” the staff report asks.

That line, Easton says, is telling.

He believes the reluctance to participate in closest available unit response is rooted in a desire to add men and equipment to the Naples Fire Department instead. In his proposed budget, to be discussed Monday by the council, McInerny asks for one new firefighter.

Less than 2 percent of the calls the fire department responds to are fires and most of those are out before firefighters arrive.

The biggest chunk of the roughly 5,000 calls the department gets each year are medical calls. Why add firefighters and resist a plan to get people to medical emergencies quicker, Easton wonders.

“I don’t know how the addition of more staff will reduce the time it takes to get from a fire station to a critical medical call, but maybe we will be enlightened on this on (Wednesday),” Easton wrote in one of dozens of emails he’s written on the topic.

The staff recommendation suggests waiting until after closest unit response is working in other parts of the county and then join if everything is going well.

Easton says that’s backward. The city should move forward now, to get in on the initial planning and programming of the system, which is to go operational at the start of 2016. If things aren’t working out, it can back out before the system is turned on.

In addition to the Medical Society, Easton has asked the Chamber of Commerce and various city property owners associations to weigh in Monday.

The chamber’s public policy committee hasn’t taken a formal position but former NCH administrator Ed Morton, a member of the committee, said he intends to speak in favor of closest unit response. He understands the city may want more data, but it’s just common sense that having closer units respond will save time and in turn lives. “Why would you not want to get emergency services to those in need faster?” Morton asked.

Just a week ago Morton said, he was at a Naples restaurant when a woman died of a sudden heart attack. A police officer with an AED device was on the scene quickly but it took several minutes for Naples firefighters/medics to arrive. The restaurant was probably closer to a North Naples fire station than a Naples station, he said. “That puts a human face on it,” he said of the experience.

Easton says he doesn’t plan to speak at Wednesday’s meeting. “I’m not going to say a word. I’ve inundated them with my thoughts.” Instead, he hopes for a big turnout of heavy hitters like Morton and Zeitler to make the case. Regardless, he knows convincing a majority of council members of the efficacy of closest unit response will be a fight.

“There is only so much we can do when more staff and more equipment is the objective,” he said.

If you want your opinion heard email Council@naplesgov.com and sound off. As a note, we in Royal Harbor do not have a firestation or EMT on this side of the bay so the ones closer for us would be East Naples. What do we do if the bridge is closed from an accident or other problem and we need an emergency vehicle? It seems to me on what I have studied this would be good for Royal Harbor.

Another related Council issue—another city boat. I am told there is one now in the proposed budget. It is listed as a $135,000 expenditure. However here is another persons take on the actual cost of such a boat to the city.

If the City gets another water rescue boat, will it need a certified diver/paramedic, to man the boat Will it be manned 24/7/365 or fewer hours or days in the year? 

Will the water rescue crew be housed at station #1 and driven to the harbor (how long will that take?), or will there need to be auxiliary housing built complete with sleeping area, workout area, TV and kitchen for the crew? 

Will the rescue boat need a crew of the diver/paramedic plus someone to man the boat while the diver/paramedic is performing his rescue  Who will decide which of and how many of the 7 rescue boat are dispatched for each rescue?  

If there is a rescue need, and it is outside of Naples City waters, who will decide if the Naples rescue boat is dispatched? 

Or do we find that out after City Council buys the boat, like they did with the quick response vehicle? 

Is this all covered in the $135,000? 

(short answer is NO , this is cost of the boat)

 Lastly the cameras. Our association spent the dues money collected from residents to purchase the surveillance cameras. We also pay monthly to maintain these and each time the police need access we pay. For members we provide the service free, but to those 75 to 100 persons in Royal Harbor who choose not to be members, we will bill for this. The cost is about $150 per download. How this works is this. If you have a crime and fill out a police report, the police determine if there is any benefit in looking at the videos taken during a certain period. They then inform me and then we give permission to the cameras maintenance persons to take a download and give it to the police for review. Evidently some newer officers are uninformed of this process. I have alerted the Chief of this situation so it should be resolved now.

 

 

 

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