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Sanibel fire commission covers boat, beach permits

By Staff | Nov 19, 2019

Fire Chief Matt Scott

The Sanibel Fire and Rescue District’s commission received an update on the new fire boat and discussed changes to the beach campfire permit program at its recent meeting, as well as decided to initiate talks about possible commissioner compensation.

On Nov. 13, Fire Chief Matt Scott reported that the vessel to replace existing Marine 171 has been ordered and the deposit put down. The district is purchasing a 26-foot MetalCraft Interceptor, with a twin outboard engine, using a combination of district funds allocated in the budget and grant funds.

“So it’s in process,” he said.

The West Coast Inland Navigation District awarded the grant, which totals $150,000.

It is estimated to take 180 days from the time the order was placed for the district to receive the boat. Sanibel’s current vessel, Marine 171, is a 1997 “demo” model that was bought used in 2010-2011.

Scott also reported that the ladder truck underwent maintenance and the new engine is set for inspections at the end of the month. It also requires the installation of some additional equipment, like the antenna and radio. Scott added that they likely will get the engine back in mid-December.

“I’m hoping to have it in service the first week of January,” he said. “That’s the plan.”

Also at the meeting, Scott reported that the district heard from the city on a couple of the beach campfire permits that it issues. Two applicants did not properly clean up their area afterward.

“They weren’t cleaned up to par,” he said of the sites.

Scott suggested adding a $100 refundable cleanup deposit to the permit application process. He explained that staff then would visit the sites the morning after to ensure they are cleaned up.

“We’ll clean it up,” Scott said if it is not. “I think it’s our responsibility because we issue the permit.”

He noted that 95 percent of the permit applicants are repeat customers who do clean up after themselves. Scott added that the two recent ones were new customers to the program.

“I think a $100 incentive is enough for them to say, ‘OK, we need to clean this up,'” he said.

The commission voiced approval for the change, asking for a resolution to be drafted.

“Sounds like a good idea,” Commissioner Richard McCurry said.

Also during the meeting, the commission debated whether to open talks about compensation.

“I didn’t become a commissioner to be compensated,” Commissioner Jerry Muench said.

He continued that if McCurry and Commissioner Bruce Cochrane are interested in having the conversation, however, he has no problem opening up the topic for an official discussion.

Staff noted that the subject would have to be advertised for the public.

“I’d like to bring it up at the next meeting,” Cochrane said, voicing his support.

Also at the meeting, Fire Marshal Rick Tassoni provided updates on some of the ongoing projects. He reported that BIG ARTS is anticipated to open its new building and complex around Christmas time.

“I am utterly amazed that anyone can put up a building that fast and be ready,” Muench said.

Cochrane echoed that.

“I didn’t think they would,” he said.

Tassoni reported that he expects Cielo to be completed and open in the next two weeks.

“So they’re ready to go,” he said.

During commissioner input at the end of the meeting, McCurry reported that Sanibel’s American Legion Post wanted to put up a new flag for Veterans Day, but the rope broke in the process.

“The fire department gladly took their ladder truck and helped them,” he said, adding that the district’s staff is doing a great job. “They (the Legion) were so thankful and grateful.”

IN OTHER NEWS

– New hire Firefighter Adam Felix joined the district in October, coming out of the academy.

– Firefighter Ed Zarick was recognized for his four years of service to the district.

– The district responded to 118 calls for service in October down five calls from 123 in 2018.