Fire Board Debates Computer Purchase

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At their first March meeting, the Board of Commissioners of the Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District spent about an hour debating the purchase of computers for the new Fire Chief. Information Technology Manager Joe LaCroix provided several price estimates for a Surface Pro tablet and a laptop, both of which had been requested by the new chief, Matthew Love, whose first day with the district is set for March 21st.

Chair Carol Morris questioned LaCroix several times about why he was not looking at purchasing the computers or peripheral accessories from Wal-Mart or Amazon to save money. LaCroix explained that in some cases these places were not any less expensive and the service available from business dealers was superior to that available at discount stores, finally concluding that his recommendation was to purchase the computers from Dell and CDW-G. The board approved spending up to $5,000 on the computers by a vote of 4-0. Commissioner Larry Wood was absent from the meeting.

Interim Chief Tom May asked for approval of a waiver of fees for the annual MDA boot drive organized by Firefighter Local 1826. This year the boot drive will be held on Estero Blvd. at the light by Times Square March 18-20.

The new fast response vehicle is still being built and is expected to be ready for the Shrimp Festival parade on March 12th. May explained the district’s staffing plans for when the new vehicle is available. The district now has 15 staff on duty each shift.

Morris suggested an annual awards dinner for members of the fire district, commissioners and their significant others. This semi-formal event would include dinner and music with the costs, excluding alcohol, covered by the district using non-ad valorem funds. She hopes to plan it for May.

A meet and greet event for Chief Love will be held after his arrival to allow him to meet members of the community. Morris asked for suggestions on community leaders that should be invited.

Commissioner Bob Raymond was named as the board representative on a Budget Committee that will begin planning for the 2016-2017 budget.

Commissioner Raymond and Schindler told the board that they would miss the next board meeting due to travel plans.

The next Fire Board meeting will be held on March 15, 2016 at 6:00pm at Fire Station 31, 3043 Estero, Blvd., Fort Myers Beach.

Missy Layfield