Pinellas County EMS study
Money wasted on EMS service
Unfortunately, the Pinellas County Commission has wasted another $300,000 of taxpayer money on yet another useless study on reducing the costs of Pinellas County EMS. This issue has been ongoing for years!
It is not rocket science, it is a matter of dollars and common sense. Since the county started funding EMS in the late 1980s, they bit off much more than they could chew. They did not have anyone at the county level who knew what was happening.
What was in fact happening was the 18 municipalities in Pinellas County found a way to fund their fire departments with County EMS funds.
There is no special magic to the numbers. The fire departments in Pinellas County have now funded $500,000-plus fire engines, $1 million-plus ladder trucks, $800,000 squad trucks, manned them and are running EMS calls with these vehicles.
Eighty-two percent of all the emergency calls in Pinellas County answered by the 18 fire departments are EMS calls. They are not fires, yet we respond to these EMS calls with an engine or a ladder truck or a squad truck with three or more department members on it. To that same call we send an $80,000 Sunstar ambulance with two more EMS personnel on it. That's five or more persons sent to every EMS call in the county.
How many do you really need? For 95 percent of all the calls, three personnel are sufficient. If you have a critical call, i.e. cardiac arrest, then dispatch additional help to those five percent of the calls.
For more than 10 years there were three "fire" departments in Pinellas County that provided the first advanced life support in the county. These three departments also transported all of their patients to the hospital in their "Rescue Trucks" that had the ability to transport patients to the hospital. The departments were Treasure Island, St. Pete Beach and South Pasadena.
What will it take to wake up and realize that these 18 departments are EMS departments that occasionally get a call for a fire?
Solution: Put a transporting rescue truck in each Pinellas County station, assign three personnel to each unit, let them transport to the hospital, say goodbye to Sunstar and be done with it. Stop buying and using engines, ladder trucks and squad trucks for EMS.
And by the way, get your $300,000 back from the consultants and buy two or three rescue units with it.
Clifford Lucido, Oldsmar
Blue Jays explore leaving Dunedin | story, July 13
An idea for using the Jays' park
City officials are crying the blues over the Jays leaving town. Maybe the new city song should be Bye Bye Birdie.
It really shouldn't be a shock. We've known this could happen for years. If the Dodgers could leave Brooklyn, the Jays can leave Dunedin.
Let's get creative and bring back a fun piece of history. Turn the stadium into a giant drive-in movie stadium. Cars could park on the infield and citizens could sit in the stands and eat popcorn and hot dogs while enjoying a classic movie. Maybe install a rink for professional women's roller derby or pro-wrestling.
Talk about filling the seats, any one of these would surely do it.
We can't stop change. It's been a good run, but now it's time Dunedin steps up to the plate and swings for the fence. Who knows, maybe a new big box Dollar General would fit right in.
Bill Coleman, Dunedin
Official plans another tax hike | story, July 11
Taxpayers only have so much
County Administrator Bob LaSala's proposal is an outrage. I don't know anybody who is being given an extra 5 percent in their paycheck to put away for a rainy day.
The answer is spend less! Property values are recovering, not rising. Maybe what we could do with less of is people on the County Commission. Has Mr. LaSala looked at his county utility bill (if he even gets one)? It has gone up and up and up.
Hey guys, get the message: The taxpayer is not a bottomless pocket to make up for past mismanagement.
Karl Roeser, Safety Harbor
City seesaws on size of parks story, July 3
Better options for spending money
In regard to the article stating the city of Clearwater is considering larger recreation areas instead of the smaller existing areas, does this mean basketball courts will be dismantled around the city or will they remain?
There are many people playing at the courts in the evening hours throughout the city (regardless of recreation director Kevin Dunbar's comments) and they should remain, in order to give our youth an opportunity to continue wholesome activities.
For years, the city recreation department has done a poor job of keeping up with the lighting timers at our recreation areas. Many of us are for keeping all recreation areas open as they are and with better lighting timers.
Also, why can't we cut back some of the Bright House Field fireworks, which are very expensive, in order to keep recreation areas open and lighted?
This follows the other crazy idea to eliminate parks throughout the city and build an expensive beach park at Pier 60. What is with the Clearwater mayor and council? Why do they constantly want to fix things that aren't broken?
Nancy Hunter, Clearwater
Crocodile found in Lake Tarpon
Alligators aren't the invaders
I read with interest the article about the unusual discovery of the crocodile in Lake Tarpon (Croc found in Lake Tarpon, July 12) until I got to the portion about how Wanda Vekasi has been working with a trapper recently to capture alligators near her home.
It made me wonder why she lives on the lake in the first place. Obviously, it is not to enjoy the natural beauty of the area, which includes alligators.
I was appalled to read that she apparently has a trapper on speed dial to remove alligators from what is their natural habitat. The alligators in Lake Tarpon have surely been residents there longer than Ms. Vekasi's 13 years. Perhaps she should switch to swimming in a pool so that she is able to avoid the "annoyances" of nature.
Ann Silva, Palm Harbor