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1234981 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2012-06-12 22:30:19.0 UTC 2012-06-12T18:30:19.000-04:00 pasco-county-considers-hiring-more-firefighters Published 2012-06-13 01:55:04.0 UTC 2012-06-12T21:55:04.000-04:00 news/localgovernment DTI 93252497 NEW PORT RICHEY — Three years after cutting 33 positions from the Pasco County Fire Department to make up for a budget in free fall, county commissioners on Tuesday signaled they're prepared to hire enough firefighters to restore the department to pre-2009 levels. The move comes as Fire Chief Anthony Lopinto said he had burned through his $450,000 overtime budget in May — four months before the end of the fiscal year — because staffing levels are so low. His request: 11 new firefighters, at an annual cost of $690,000. Coupled with the addition of 15 employees in 2010, that would put Lopinto at his exact 2009 staffing level. (Seven of the positions that were cut that year were vacant at the time.) "I'm not asking for an increase here," he said. "I'm just reminding you that we're not back to where we once were." Lopinto said 117 employees are needed to cover each 24-hour shift. On any given day, the department is three firefighters short because of vacation, sick leave and unexpected retirements. And new hires typically need six months of training before they're put in service, he said. Because this year's overtime budget is depleted, Lopinto has been using "residual" salary funding from unfilled positions to cover those costs. The last resort to cut costs is reducing the number of emergency responders who go out on some calls from three to two. Such a move, called "brownouts," could increase the risk for accidents. Experts say fire trucks should have four people, so two can wait outside a fire, ready to run inside to help if something goes wrong. Over the years, Pasco has added enough firefighters to go from two workers per truck to three. At a workshop Tuesday, commissioners said they're willing to hire the new firefighters. With full staffing, Lopinto said the department would spend about $200,000 less on overtime. "I support his extra staff," said Commissioner Pat Mulieri. "We don't want brownouts in our stations. The more people he has, the less overtime (he is spending)." To find the money for the new firefighters, commissioners will have to adopt the so-called "rolled-back" property tax rate for fire service. Such a move would offset an expected 5.9 percent drop in property values. The proposed new tax rate for fire service would increase from $1.42 in taxes for each $1,000 in assessed value to $1.54. For a $150,000 home with $50,000 in exemptions, that would mean roughly an extra $12 per year in taxes if the home's value stayed the same this year. Lee Logan can be reached at llogan@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6236. By Lee Logan, Times Staff Writer Local Government,Pasco,News Pasco County considers hiring more firefighters LLOGANN The fire chief is asking for 11 new hires after his overtime budget is depleted. PSC Pasco Times djj3hhnfudfn djj3h County may add firefighters pasco 1 pasfirefighters061312.psc County may add firefighters 2012-06-13 04:00:00.0 UTC 2012-06-13T00:00:00.000-04:00 false templatedata/tampabaytimes/StaffArticle/data/2012/06/12/93252497-pasco-county-considers-hiring-more-firefighters StaffArticle 2012-11-18 21:43:35.0 UTC 2012-11-18T16:43:35.000-05:00 news,local governmentLocal GovernmentNEW PORT RICHEY — Three years after cutting 33 positions from the Pasco County Fire Department to make up for a budget in free fall, county commissioners on Tuesday signaled they're prepared to hire enough firefighters to restore the department to pre-2009 levels.Local Government,Pasco,NewsLocal Government,Pasco,News<span style="display:none;" class="author vcard"><span class="fn">LEE LOGAN</span></span><span style="display:none;" class="source-org vcard"><span class="org fn">Tampa Bay Times</span></span><a rel="item-license" href="/universal/user_agreement.shtml">&#169; 2016 Tampa Bay Times</a><br /><br />Times Staff Writer 2274025 2016-04-20 21:12:37.0 UTC 4 Months Ago pasco-commission-to-consider-predatory-towing-ban news/localgovernment Pasco commission to consider predatory towing ban StaffArticle 2273504 2016-04-16 02:50:37.0 UTC 4 Months Ago when-considering-new-job-it-pays-to-consider-more-than-pay news/business/personalfinance When considering new job, it pays to consider more than pay StaffArticle 2263986 2016-02-03 23:17:20.0 UTC 7 Months Ago victims-look-for-their-stuff-after-more-than-30-homes-burglarized-in news/publicsafety/crime Victims look for their stuff after more than 30 homes burglarized in Hillsborough, Pasco and Polk counties StaffArticle <p> NEW PORT RICHEY — Three years after cutting 33 positions from the Pasco County Fire Department to make up for a budget in free fall, county commissioners on Tuesday signaled they're prepared to hire enough firefighters to restore the department to pre-2009 levels. </p> <p> The move comes as Fire Chief Anthony Lopinto said he had burned through his $450,000 overtime budget in May — four months before the end of the fiscal year — because staffing levels are so low. </p> <p> His request: 11 new firefighters, at an annual cost of $690,000. Coupled with the addition of 15 employees in 2010, that would put Lopinto at his exact 2009 staffing level. (Seven of the positions that were cut that year were vacant at the time.) </p> <p> &quot;I'm not asking for an increase here,&quot; he said. &quot;I'm just reminding you that we're not back to where we once were.&quot; </p> <p> Lopinto said 117 employees are needed to cover each 24-hour shift. On any given day, the department is three firefighters short because of vacation, sick leave and unexpected retirements. And new hires typically need six months of training before they're put in service, he said. </p> <p> Because this year's overtime budget is depleted, Lopinto has been using &quot;residual&quot; salary funding from unfilled positions to cover those costs. The last resort to cut costs is reducing the number of emergency responders who go out on some calls from three to two. </p> <p> Such a move, called &quot;brownouts,&quot; could increase the risk for accidents. Experts say fire trucks should have four people, so two can wait outside a fire, ready to run inside to help if something goes wrong. Over the years, Pasco has added enough firefighters to go from two workers per truck to three. </p> <p> At a workshop Tuesday, commissioners said they're willing to hire the new firefighters. With full staffing, Lopinto said the department would spend about $200,000 less on overtime. </p> <p> &quot;I support his extra staff,&quot; said Commissioner Pat Mulieri. &quot;We don't want brownouts in our stations. The more people he has, the less overtime (he is spending).&quot; </p> <p> To find the money for the new firefighters, commissioners will have to adopt the so-called &quot;rolled-back&quot; property tax rate for fire service. Such a move would offset an expected 5.9 percent drop in property values. </p> <p> The proposed new tax rate for fire service would increase from $1.42 in taxes for each $1,000 in assessed value to $1.54. For a $150,000 home with $50,000 in exemptions, that would mean roughly an extra $12 per year in taxes if the home's value stayed the same this year. </p> <p> <i>Lee Logan can be reached at llogan@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6236.</i> </p>trueruntime2016-08-30 05:56:11