Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Spring Hill fire board to ask voters again for power to tax

SPRING HILL — After all other hopes of avoiding a costly special election were exhausted, Spring Hill Fire Rescue commissioners finally gave the green light Wednesday to a mail-in referendum that will once again ask voters to give the independent district its own taxing authority.

The election, which is expected to cost Spring Hill taxpayers about $150,000, was originally set for June 14. But because the district failed to notify the Hernando County supervisor of elections by 5 p.m. Tuesday in order to satisfy state election requirements, the date was moved to June 15.

Fire commissioners mulled over keeping the original election date so they could hire a vendor to print and mail the 67,471 ballots other than the one the county contracts with. Though that would have saved roughly $21,000, the district would have been responsible for counting its own ballots and creating a canvassing board.

Fire Commissioner Amy Brosnan said she worried that taking charge of its own ballot counting might make the district vulnerable to legal challenges. The district's attorney, Andrew Salzman, agreed.

"I need to know that the election is legitimate," Brosnan said.

The last-minute scramble by the fire board seemed to frame the desperation of the district's situation.

On Monday, Circuit Judge William T. Swigert denied Spring Hill Fire's emergency motion to maintain the status quo, agreeing with arguments that voters already decided last August that they did not want the district to have taxing authority.

At Tuesday's County Commission meeting, commissioners restated that they had no intention of being part of an effort that might draw a lawsuit, and refused to consider keeping the current agreement in place so the district could hold its referendum on a regularly scheduled election date in 2012.

The special election remains the only viable avenue for the district to collect revenue to continue its operations after Sept. 30. After that, the district would have only about three months worth of operating expenses left in its reserves.

Commissioner Rob Giammarco said Wednesday that he found the board's constant indecision indefensible.

"We've wasted too much time already," Giammarco said. "It's not worth burning any more bridges."

The fire commission will hold a special meeting at noon Friday at the fire district office at 3445 Bob Hartung Court.

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or

. Fast facts

Fire district referendum

What: A mail-in referendum that will ask voters to give the Spring Hill Fire Rescue district its own taxing authority.

When: June 15

Cost: About $150,000

Spring Hill fire board to ask voters again for power to tax 05/11/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 7:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  2. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]

  3. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.
  4. CIA chief: Intel leaks on the rise amid 'worship' of leakers


    WASHINGTON — CIA director Mike Pompeo says he thinks disclosure of America's secret intelligence is on the rise, fueled partly by the "worship" of leakers like Edward Snowden.

    CIA director Mike Pompeo said the U.S. must redouble its efforts to stop information from leaking.
  5. ABC Racing kennel advances three into semifinals


    ST. PETERSBURG — The maiden voyage by Don Burk into the $30,000 St. Petersburg Derby series — his first as the ABC Racing kennel owner — went as easy as ABC.