The Coalition for the Preservation of Perdido Key extends gratitude to the Ono Fire Authority for their time and effort in producing what appears to be a superior alternative Fire Protection plan to that which exists today, as well as that currently …
The Coalition for the Preservation of Perdido Key extends gratitude to the Ono Fire Authority for their time and effort in producing what appears to be a superior alternative Fire Protection plan to that which exists today, as well as that currently proposed by the City of Orange Beach.
The Coalition therefore strongly supports the Ono POA in its endorsement of the use of EMT and fire personnel employed and staffed by the Ono Fire Authority. Doing so allows independence, self-sufficiency and complete separation from the City of Orange Beach. The “Ono Island self-sufficiency” option appears to hold superior merit on fire protection, and would eliminate future effects from clear, long-standing conflicts of interest with the City of Orange Beach.
On fire protection, while both the “Orange Beach” and the “Ono self-sufficiency” plans will operate from Ono Island and with similar staff levels and equipment, there are important differences. One is that Orange Beach plans to meet Ono staffing requirements with recent “Fire College Graduates” rather than experienced fire personnel. Clearly, the City plans to utilize more experienced personnel for its own fire protection.
While use of “recent” graduates surely represents a lower cost option and superior economics for the City of Orange Beach; we question why Ono residents would consciously vote for this lower quality option. This is especially true when considering the safety concerns widely espoused at last week’s town hall meeting, and that experienced personnel are widely available and competitively priced in the local market.
We also wonder what the cost to upgrade our fire personnel to the high level enjoyed by the City of Orange Beach might be in the future…annexation to the City of Orange Beach? History does not suggest that this will be the last major threat or altercation between Ono Island and the City of Orange Beach. In fact, the Coalition considers the current conflict with the City of Orange Beach as "more of the same" as it relates to the relationship during the past decade.
During this period, the previous and current mayor, and their respective city councils demanded use of pristine property near the entrance of Ono Island for their boat ramp despite numerous superior, alternative locations proposed by the Coalition. Not in my backyard or NIMBY, appears to be alive and well in the City of Orange Beach. The Coalition (largely Ono residents) prevailed on boat ramp deliberations before the Baldwin County Commission when the previous mayor’s plan was voted down in 2007.
The plan was re-hatched by Mayor Kennon at the Ono POA meeting in March, dropped for a period and then reinstated with POA representatives last week. The current request was accompanied by the threat of elimination of Fire and Police service if Ono residents did not succumb to the Orange Beach boat ramp proposal. “Coerce, extort and threat” were words widely used by Ono residents at last week’s town hall meeting to describe the current proposal from Mayor Kennon (9-14, 2013).
While some believe that the boat ramp is unlikely to be built even if Ono Island acquiesces to Mayor Kennon’s demands; the Coalition does not share that viewpoint. The Coalition also believes that if Ono residents succumb on the boat ramp, that significant additional development will unfold between Caribe and the Ono Island Bridge in coming years. In other words, a vote for the Orange Beach fire plan is a vote for significantly higher vehicular and marine congestion at the entrance to Ono Island. While some support unfolded from local environmental groups in the past, it was quite measured. The Coalition was the primary driver of success against the City of Orange Beach.
Finally, and maybe more importantly, when excluding issues surrounding the boat ramp, the low qualification level of the fire protection service, etc.; we ask why Ono residents would consciously choose to enter into a business partnership with an entity in which unreliability, mistrust and vitriol were common characteristics during the past decade. To quote one Ono resident “I would not wish a business partnership with them on my worst competitor”.
Thank you for your consideration
The Coalition for the Preservation of Perdido Key