Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Spring Hill fire rescue board okays millage rate hike

SPRING HILL — Declining property values and receding tax revenues continue to make for tough choices when it comes to public safety.

On Wednesday, however, the Spring Hill Fire Rescue board — short two members — voted 2-1 to maintain its present level of service by authorizing a 2.50 millage rate to fund the department in the coming fiscal year.

In presenting the budget measure, district Chief Mike Rampino assured commissioners that he and financial director Terri McClanahan had done all they could to hold down expenses in the face of a 15 percent drop in property values that will mean $492,000 less in revenue.

As it is, Rampino said, he is laying off nine employees and forgoing the replacement of department vehicles and other equipment. Additional layoffs could be coming.

"There are no frills here," Rampino said of the proposed $14.4 million budget that is $858,000 less than last year.

But upping the district's current millage rate from 2.286 to 2.50 won't be enough to cure all the department's fiscal woes. Rounding out the shortfall will require the district to once again dip into its reserves.

In August, residents will vote on a referendum to allow the district to raise the millage rate cap to 2.50. The final budget hearing will be in September.

Rampino's budget needs were immediately challenged by Commissioner Rob Giammarco, who suggested a 10 percent across-the-board spending cut.

Rampino responded sharply that such cuts would jeopardize the safety of his employees and the public.

The chief said that because negotiations with union firefighters are still ongoing, it would be difficult to estimate what savings might come from personnel costs. However, if the proposed millage rate increase is rejected, he may be forced to make further staff cuts.

The budget squeeze comes at a time when the department is seeing a significant increase in emergency calls, Rampino said.

"It's not going to get better any time soon," he said "We've become a cheaper alternative to the emergency room."

Several residents expressed their views on how to deal with the financial crunch. David Green suggested the district consider adopting a flat fee that would be collected from every property owner, including those currently exempt from the tax rolls.

Dave Parker thought money could be saved if firefighters agreed to pay cuts. "These are tough times," he said "If people want jobs, they need to make sacrifices."

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@sptimes.com or 848-1435.

by the numbers

15% Expected drop in property values.

$492,000 Amount of revenue the district expects to lose because of the drop in property values.

9 Number of employees the chief says he's laying off.

$858,000 Decrease from last fiscal year's Spring Hill Fire District budget.

Spring Hill fire rescue board okays millage rate hike 07/14/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 8:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst

    Business

    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  2. A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 149, collapses buildings in Mexico

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 149 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  4. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75

    Accidents

    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.