To the editor:
I started 35 years ago with the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District as a volunteer and retired as chief in 2013. When I started we had one homemade truck, which did not meet National Fire Protection Association regulations, we had one station and one firefighter on duty.
Now we have nine firefighters per shift, a large contingency of equipment all National Fire Protection approved.
Over the last 15 years our Insurance Service Office rating went from a high of 8.4 to our current rate of 5.9. This rating affects our insurance rate but more importantly signifies a more updated and well trained fire district to provide the best possible service.
In order to help us keep up, we have, over the last 7-10 years, been applying for grants to help fund bunker gear, air packs, radios and numerous other equipment. Though these grants are very helpful, they are but only partial grants.
During the years 2004-2008 costs escalated due to the construction of Station 3 and update Station 1, let alone Hurricane Charley. With all this happening, the district has asked for the maximum millage allowed and voted by our residents - 3 mils - three times since 2000 when the current maximum was voted in.
I ask all of you to vote yes to allow the increase maximum cap we need to keep our Matlacha/Pine Island Control District strong.
Chief Dave Bradley,