Collier County, Fla., - The primary is over, but the battle for one local fire department continues. The Isles of Capri Fire Department will stay open after firefighters won by just 13 votes against a merger with East Naples/Golden Gate. The East Naples Fire Chief says he wants to annex one neighborhood anyway.
"Its really devastating," said David Thomas, President of the Isles of Capri Firefighter's Union. "We may have to face losing a possible position or two."
The East Naples/Golden Gate Fire Chief Kingman Schuldt is now asking the state to annex Fiddler's Creek. It's a neighborhood of about 280 homes. Chief Schuldt says half of the community is in the East Naples Fire District. The other half is paying higher taxes to Isles of Capri.
"We have been contacted by them and their position has been all along that they look out across the street and their neighbors are paying less in taxes then they are," said Chief Schuldt.
WINK News researched last night's election results and found out, 95% of the votes from Fiddler's Creek approved the merger with East Naples.
Chief Schuldt said that's why he's moving forward to annex.
"That's their prerogative and we would love to serve them and we will support the effort," said Chief Schuldt.
Isles of Capri firefighters say Fiddler's Creek makes up about ten percent of their annual budget and without the community they could face layoffs. Thomas said the annexation could set a bad precident for the rest of the county.
"If they get that it could start a domino effect and other communities, especially the North Naples/Golden Gate boundary line," said Thomas. "They could start jumping ship and going to North Naples to lower their millage rate."