COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - Two fire districts have jumped on board with a plan that could save Collier County taxpayers more than a million dollars a year.
East Naples and Golden Gate Fire Districts are the first to take a chance at saving tax payers money through joint purchasing. Both fire commissions voted unanimously Wednesday night.
Golden Gate Fire Commissioner David Steadman says, "if we can provide the same level of service for less money, it's a win-win situation for taxpayers."
East Naples Fire Commissioner George Danz says, "I'm not sure we'll save it but I think we need to make an effort to try and if their projections are at least half correct, we're saving half a million dollars and maybe $1.6 million. Time will tell if we can actually do that.
Marvin Easton is one of five Collier County citizens to bring the idea of joint purchasing to the independent fire districts. "We're five retired guys," says Easton. "We're getting nothing out of this financially other than the self satisfaction that we'll be saving some money for the districts. More than a million dollars a year. That's a nice feeling."
Easton says the districts could potentially save between $1.3 and $1.6 million a year by coming together to buy items like health insurance, fuel and office supplies.
"I feel we have the responsibility to look at any potential cost saving measures to help sustain the operation here in East Naples and if it's working together with our neighbors, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that," says East Naples Fire Chief Kingman Schuldt.
The savings through joint purchasing health insurance will be the most significant and start in October of 2013. While the exact figure is up in the air, commissioners feel it's a chance they have to take. "If we don't try, we don't know," says Danz.
Tuesday night Big Corkscrew voted against joining the CFAS organization. They said they have too many other things on their plate right now that are more important.
North Naples will vote Thursday morning at 9 a.m. and Immokalee will vote next week.