Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando commissioners approves time line of Spring Hill Fire Rescue with county

BROOKSVILLE — In keeping with a plan set forth last year, Hernando County commissioners this week approved a time line to guide the merger of Spring Hill Fire Rescue operations with those of the county.

County Chief Mike Nickerson told commissioners that the first two phases of the two-year consolidation plan are nearly complete and that the transition has been smooth so far.

The third phase, which will establish a final funding structure and initiate a merger of the two firefighter unions, will lead up to a full consolidation of the districts by Oct. 1, 2013.

Plans to consolidate the two departments began shortly after Spring Hill voters failed for a second time to grant the district its own taxing authority. Then-County Administrator David Hamilton outlined a plan that would allow for an incremental takeover by the county of the independent district's assets and operational staff.

The process included inventory assessment and putting in place a long-term logistical system that would make department functions such as the purchase of supplies and vehicle maintenance more seamless.

Nickerson said most of the work that remains includes hammering out a method of funding the services and consolidation of the department's two firefighter unions.

Under the current omnibus agreement, Spring Hill's fire service will remain separate from the county's until Oct. 1, 2013. Spring Hill taxpayers will continue to pay the 2.5-mill property tax they've been assessed in the past. Conversely, Hernando County charges a flat fee of $194.87 for fire protection, plus a small property tax for emergency medical services.

According to Nickerson's time line, a series of town hall meetings involving county staffers and the public will be held in April, May and June in various locations on the county's east and west sides. After that, a County Commission workshop will be held in July to discuss the public input and possible funding mechanisms.

A final decision on a funding structure will be made by late October.

County Commissioner John Druzbick said the town hall meetings will provide ample opportunity for the public to weigh in on what funding method they would like to see implemented.

"Getting that feedback is very important to us," Druzbick said. "We need to know what the citizens think will work and what they think is fair."

Under the final part of the consolidation plan, Spring Hill's firefighter union will merge with International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3760, which represents 127 Hernando County Fire Rescue workers and supervisors. Contract negotiations are due to begin early in 2013.

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or lneill@tampabay.com.

Hernando commissioners approves time line of Spring Hill Fire Rescue with county 02/29/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 7:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Homeland security chief defends Kushner's alleged proposal for 'back channel' to the Russians as 'a good thing"

    National

    Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the lone administration official to speak out publicly about reports that Jared Kushner sought a back channel to communicate with the Russian government, defended the move, saying it was a "good thing" for the U.S. government.

    Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, listens during a meeting with small business leaders at the White House on Jan. 30. [Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford]
  2. After hard charging on health care in 2016, Marco Rubio is slow, careful

    Blogs

    As a presidential candidate, Marco Rubio pitched an Obamacare replacement and tore into Donald Trump for not having one. "What is your plan? What is your plan on health care? You don't have a plan," the Florida senator aggressively challenged in a February 2016 debate.

  3. Report: Florida counties part of liver disease cluster

    Research

    STUART — Four counties along Florida's Treasure Coast make up a cluster with high rates of both deaths from liver disease and algae blooms.

  4. Authorities say cocaine is making comeback in Florida

    Crime

    FORT LAUDERDALE — Drug enforcement officials say traffickers are bringing more cocaine into South Florida than at any time in the past decade.

    Traffickers are bringing more cocaine into South Florida than at any time in the past decade, officials say.  [Times files]
  5. Amid escalating Russia crisis, Trump considers major staff changes

    National

    President Donald Trump and his advisers, seeking to contain the escalating Russia crisis that threatens to consume his presidency, are considering a retooling of his senior staff and the creation of a "war room" within the White House, according to several aides and outside Trump allies.

    President Donald Trump is reportedly considering a retooling of his senior staff. [Doug Mills/The New York Times]