COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - Collier County leaders want to spend your money to fix a private road. First responders say the rainy weather has created large ditches on Platt Road, just off Immokalee Road in rural Collier County and they say it's become a public safety issue.
First Responders say the weather has been so bad the last few weeks, they're having trouble getting to more than two dozen homes just down Platt Road.
Theresa Stull has lived on Platt Road for almost two decades. "It gets flooded, it gets flooded." Over the years, she and her neighbors have taken it upon themselves to keep the road above water.
"We've brought in, in the years, since we've lived here, 27 loads of base rock between the neighborhood themselves and fixed it," says Stull.
First responders say they're faced with deep ditches every rainy season, but in the last few weeks conditions have started to jeopardize public safety.
"We had a vehicle fire call and our engine went down the road and it wasn't able to make it. It made it to the incident but it didn't make it without harm so it's now out of service at the repair shop," says Big Corkscrew Island Fire Chief Rita Greenberg.
She says crews have access to military trucks in case of an emergency, but it's not ideal and valuable seconds are lost. "We have to hand move all of our equipment to that unit to make it work," says Greenberg.
With public safety in mind, Chief Greenberg said she had to ask commissioners to use public tax dollars to fix the private road, something they haven't been allowed to do in the past.
Commissioners agreed unanimously, estimating it will cost just under $18,000 to replace it. Some resident are not on board with the decision arguing they shouldn't be forced to pay a tax.
"It's a private road. It's our road to keep up. We should keep it up, the neighborhood should keep it up," says Stull.
The vote will set a precedent for future spending to fix other private roads in Collier County. Commissioners agreed to look at each individual situation if emergency officials say road work is necessary.
All residents will be asked to establish an MSTU to repay the county in full. They have six months to form the taxing district on their own, otherwise the county will mandate it.