The North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District (NCFR) was formed on January 1, 2015, by the merger of two existing special independent fire districts – the North Naples Fire Control and Rescue District and the Big Corkscrew Island Fire Control and Rescue District.
On November 4, 2014, voters from both districts approved overwhelmingly that the two districts should merge provided that the voter-approved maximum millage rate within each special independent district would not increase absent a subsequent referendum. A chief goal of the merger was to improve efficiency and promote a more cost effective use of tax dollars, a directive supported by voters of both districts in a November 2010 straw ballot.
The newly merged NCFR is also a special independent district governed by Chapter 189, Florida Statutes, the Uniform Special District Accountability Act of 1989. Statutory authority is provided by Chapter 191, Florida Statutes. The District’s Enabling Act, HB 899, was signed by Florida Governor Rick Scott on June 10, 2015.
Special districts are very similar to counties or municipalities. Generally, Florida’s laws treat them the same. The difference is their purpose. Counties and municipalities exist to provide a wide range of general-purpose governmental services. On the other hand, special districts are created to provide a specialized governmental service. Special districts have limited, explicit authority – not implied authority – that is specified in its charter and/or the laws under which it operates. Special districts are typically small governments, closest to the people.
NCFR includes two service delivery areas: the North Naples Service Delivery Area and the Big Corkscrew Island Service Delivery Area, both encompassing their original boundaries, but enhanced with additional firefighting and life safety capabilities from the neighboring service delivery area.
The District employees 231 personnel including: 5 Fire Commissioners, 7 Chief Administrative Officers, 169 shift Firefighters/EMTs/Paramedics; 24 Life Safety and Prevention personnel and 26 Administrative Staff managing finance, human resources, information technology, community and public education outreach, fleet, facilities, logistics and training.
NORTH NAPLES SERVICE DELIVERY AREA
Before the formation of the North Naples Fire Control and Rescue District in 1961, fire service in the area was handled by volunteers and fell under the services of the North Naples Civic Association. The volunteer firefighters were paid $2.00 per call and responded to alarms in their own vehicles.
On April 22, 1961, the North Naples Fire Control District was created by House Bill No. 204 which defined the District as “including the land in Naples Park, Pine Ridge and North Naples”. The new District’s central location was the volunteer fire station at 955 Pine Ridge Road, which was owned by the North Naples Civic Association.
The initial Board of Fire Commissioners for the newly formed District included three members with the first order of business being to purchase, at fair market value, the trucks owned by the North Naples Civic Association. In 1971, the District hired its first paid firefighters from among the current volunteers.
At the time of the merger, the North Naples Fire District included more than 150 personnel.
BIG CORKSCREW ISLAND SERVICE DELIVERY AREA
The 1977 creation of the Big Corkscrew Island Fire Control and Rescue District was prompted by the citizens living in the Corkscrew Island community who believed that fire protection services could be delivered more effectively by their own district rather than by Collier County.
In the early days, fire apparatus were stationed at individual houses as the fire department was 100% volunteer based. In 1982, the first fire station (Station #11) was constructed and is still in use today. Later in 1985, paid personnel were hired. Following in 1987, the second fire station (Station #10) was constructed and is also still in use today. In 1996, the Fire District began 24-hour operations.
Station 12 was constructed in 2002 at the corner of Immokalee Road and Everglades Blvd. with Station 11 being converted to house the District’s maintenance facility. And, in 2005, a new Administrative facility (Station #10A) was constructed to the rear of Station 10.
At the time of the merger, the Big Corkscrew Island Fire District included more than 30 employees.