KEY LARGO -- The Key Largo Fire-EMS District is asking for public input in establishing its three- to five-year strategic plan.
The district recently hired Jackie Harder's Key Dynamics Coaching and Consulting for $5,000 to gather input and help organize a plan that will culminate with a day-long workshop Nov. 16 at the Key Largo Library.
Familiar with the workings of the district, Harder serves on the board of directors of the Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department and the Key Largo Ambulance Corps.
The district taxes Key Largo property owners and uses the funds to contract for fire, rescue and emergency medical services with the nonprofit departments. The district was created by the state Legislature in 2005.
District board member Bob Thomas said the public's response needs to be legitimate.
"We want the public's feedback, but we also don't want one person filling out 50 surveys," he said.
As of last Friday, only nine residents had turned in surveys, Harder said. That number needs to rise significantly for the survey to be useful, Thomas said.
The deadline for submitting the survey, which appeared in the Oct. 4 edition of the Upper Keys Reporter, was to be Wednesday, Oct. 16.
The 31-question survey covers a range of issues beginning with customer satisfaction with local service. It then moves into whether the district should hire staff or if district board members should have specific fire-related experience in order to serve.
Some have raised that last issue before, including former Key Largo Fire-Rescue Department Chief Sergio Garcia, who wrote a letter to Gov. Rick Scott earlier this year complaining about a lack of qualifications among district board members.
The survey also asks residents why they choose to attend or not attend to meetings. Outside the late summer, when the district sets its property tax rate, the meetings are poorly attended.
"The goal is to gather information and use that as a basis for a strategic planning process," Harder said.
Harder encourages people to share their thoughts about the departments and district so new goals can be identified and adopted. In addition to the survey, comments can be sent directly to the district, she said.
Surveys can be submitted anonymously and are available online at www.klfrems.net.