Fire Commission | Seat 3, East Lake Tarpon

Two candidates are vying for Seat 3 in the East Lake Tarpon Special Fire Control District. The district has three fire stations and covers 33 square miles. The commission manages a budget of $5.4 million, which includes $3.6 million collected from East Lake taxpayers and $1.3 million provided by Pinellas County for EMS services. To reach budget needs this year, about $430,000 will be taken out of reserves, according to Fire Chief Tom Jamison. There are 38 employees. Piper Castillo, Times staff writer

David Root, 55

Business development director

Sharon Hurst, 55

Insurance administration

Nonpartisan
Root is the incumbent for this seat and has lived in East Lake for more than 20 years. He has served the commission for two years. His background includes 22 years of experience in forensic engineering and fire investigations.Experience Hurst has spent more than 20 years working in the health insurance industry. She believes her experience in sales and administration will be a key benefit in dealing with the budget.
Bachelor's degree in business administration from Western Michigan UniversityEducationHurst holds a catastrophic insurance/adjusters license.
I personally support fire-based transport and believe a real money savings could be realized if the county would have moved in favor of the Sanford/Millican plan. We, the commission, issued a resolution supporting the Sanford/Millican plan for a fire-based transport system throughout the county.Should the fire departments be allowed to take over emergency transport of patients to the hospital?Yes. There is no service more capable of rapid multifaceted response than a fire- based EMS system. Stations are strategically located and departments provide 24/7 coverage.
As consolidation pertains to East Lake, we have and are discussing with our immediate neighbors (Palm Harbor and Oldsmar) ways to cut expenses by the sharing of nonessential services and do on occasion move equipment around to help cover times when trucks are in the shop for maintenance. But to close stations, which affects the residents of East Lake, I am not in favor of. The people in our community, my neighbors, would not be served by consolidation and that is the most important thing to me.Do you think the county should consolidate some of the fire departments?Yes. It's time to work collaboratively with all of our neighboring departments to decrease duplication of services.
I would explore a joint fire-based system that provides the very best in service while keeping costs down. Pinellas County is one of only a few still left in Florida who has a private EMS system where a fire department and a private EMS truck will both respond to emergencies. Duplication is costly and a better way exists. (I'd) talk with other large cites like Miami, Tampa and Orlando. They have very successful fire-based transport systems.If you had the power to re-create Pinellas County's fire and EMS system, what would you do differently? It would be fire-based EMS transport service. The fire district in East Lake has 33 line personnel, 29 are paramedics. Statistics show 75 percent of calls are medical in nature.
We in East Lake have made in the last two years some real cuts across the board to our department, both personnel and administrative and putting off large purchases, in general doing more with less. As property values have fallen the tax dollars coming into the department have been reduced. The trick is providing the service we all expect in East Lake and doing it with less dollars coming in. I believe our chief and our commission have done a great job in accomplishing this and will work hard going forward. Do you think your fire district has been successful with its daily operations given budget constraints? If not, what should be done differently?Yes. Because of the geographics of the fire district, an average call response time is 7 to 10 minutes.

Home and retirement accountsAssetsHome
Credit card debt and car loanLiabilitiesNone
SalaryIncomeSocial Security
Married to Erin Root; they have four children, ranging from ages 10 to 25PersonalMarried to George Hurst; they have three adult children
NoneWebsite sharonhurst3.com
droot57@netzero.comEmailsharonhurstseat3@gmail.com

About the job: Fire commissioners serve a four-year term. They are paid $500 a month.

East Lake Tarpon Fire Commission Seat 3: David Root, Sharon Hurst, nonpartisan

Two candidates are vying for Seat 3 in the East Lake Tarpon Special Fire Control District. The district has three fire stations and covers 33 square miles. The commission manages a budget of $5.4 million, which includes $3.6 million collected from East Lake taxpayers and $1.3 million provided by Pinellas County for EMS services. To reach budget needs this year, about $430,000 will be taken out of reserves, according to Fire Chief Tom Jamison. There are 38 employees.

East Lake Tarpon Fire Commission Seat 3: David Root, Sharon Hurst, nonpartisan 10/17/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 3:23pm]

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