One of the tasks before Marathon’s new city manager is to start planning ahead.
“We need to anticipate potential challenges,” said Chuck Lindsey. “As we see continued development growth and the potential for fire and EMS calls to increase, we would be silly not to identify that situation early.”
That could — underline could — mean another fire station on the west end of Marathon.
“This is us merely being proactive,” Lindsey said, adding that there is no concrete plan to build another substation.
Over the last year, the Marathon Fire Department responded to 2,347 calls for service. In his last report to the Marathon City Council, Chief John Johnson wrote, “”As you can see in my reports on overlapping calls there are several times when all of our units are providing service to the citizens and visitors of our city.”
According to the report, there were 26 occasions in December when calls overlapped — meaning two units were on the road and only one left to respond. On six occasions, all three were in use meaning that if another call came in, there would be no city personnel to respond and the county fire department would be called in. In addition, Marathon Fire Rescue assisted the county on four occasions in December when all of the nearby county vehicles were on call.
Currently, Marathon’s Fire Rescue department has 24 shift positions and four administrative positions — making it the largest department in the city, but not the most expensive. One reason, is that the department brings in revenue: $525,000 for service provided to Key Colony Beach, $517,000 in payments for emergency and inter-facility transportation, and almost $18,000 for building and vacation rental inspections.
“What it really comes down to is standard of care for our residents and visitors to the city,” Johnson said, “while being fiscally responsible with our taxpayers’ money.”
Marathon currently has the main station next to the airport, and a recently constructed (2013) substation on Grassy Key.