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Consolidate city, county services to save money

Re: Audit: Merge 19 fire services | story, March 18

Consolidate city, county services

All Pinellas city and county law enforcement, fire and ambulance services at a minimum should be consolidated into one countywide service.

This is classic, accepted business strategy to reduce the cost of administrative overhead while increasing the proportion of expense allocated to direct contributors actually doing the services. Response should not suffer; it should improve.

The argument against this is hollow, tainted with self interest and doomsday predictions, and provides no real quantifiable defense.

The referenced article supports with facts that consolidation would realize dramatic savings and maintain effective services. As with business, this is certainly an issue that can be managed to success.

Government must reduce costs and become more effective at the same time. We can't continue on a doomsday spiral of increased costs, decreased services and, most of all, ineffective results. Just look at our schools.

Stop the continual threat that response time will suffer, crime will increase and so forth if we reduce costs. It is ridiculous. The city and county governments could get rid of 20 percent of administrative overhead and not miss a beat, based on my observation of worker activity.

The situation is ripe for doing something bold that improves the situation dramatically. Our Clearwater and Pinellas County legislators need to start making real decisions that really reduce costs and improve effectiveness, as opposed to continually rationalizing failure and blaming lack of money as the single problem. The foremost problem is ineffective governmental leadership. Private sector managers do this every day. It is called productivity improvement.

William Barrett, Clearwater

Saving more with consolidation

An audit shows that $10 million to $39 million could be saved just by consolidating fire services in Pinellas.

How much could be saved if all of the municipalities in Pinellas County became one metropolitan government and consolidated all services?

Henry Propheter, Clearwater

Re: Changes to EMS may be on way | story, March 20

Emergency cuts and scare tactics

In this time of financial austerity, our county commissioners are finally earning their approximately $90,000-per-year salary.

The most recent scare tactic is that Emergency Medical Service response times will be lengthened because we have determined a standard. This is a drastic step to take in any community.

But isn't it strange? While they are trying to scare us with emergency cuts, I still see the street cleaners in operation. One cleaned my street about three weeks ago. Thank you, commissioners, for the in-depth analysis of this fiscal problem.

Charles Hora, Palm Harbor

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Consolidate city, county services to save money 03/21/09 [Last modified: Saturday, March 21, 2009 1:48pm]

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