Let's get the facts about fire service
In a few months, voters in Spring Hill will decide the future of fire and emergency services. I am of the mind to support consolidation unless there is persuasive evidence to the contrary. My experience tells me that jurisdictional disputes produce fragmented services.
I was a mental health worker in a hospital with the west wing in the city and the east wing in the township. When a patient required police certification for an involuntary admission, nurses had to know precisely where the problem developed in order to be certain whom to call. Crazy! (And I am not referring to the patients.)
By July 15 Hernando County administrator David Hamilton needs to answer the following questions:
1. What is the total value of all real estate being protected in the Spring Hill Fire Rescue District? Since actual land is not protected, we are looking at buildings. (Note: Protected property is far less than the ad valorem tax value.)
2. What is the ratio between the annual cost of fire protection services and the property being protected? How does this ratio compare to similar jurisdictions and Hernando County in particular?
3. What is the value of property lost to fire in the Spring Hill over the past five years? What is the ratio between total property protected and total fire losses? It is impossible to have zero losses. It is enough to limit or reduce losses to reasonable levels.
4. How does Spring Hill compare to other fire districts of comparable size in terms of investment in firefighting equipment and facilities? How do staff salaries and staffing requirements compare?
5. Spring Hill has high ratings for the quality of its service. This rating affects insurance rates. How much difference does this rating actually make in terms of insurance premiums? Do the premium savings offset the additional tax assessment?
6. How do Spring Hill's staffing patterns compare with other emergency services? I note that both a pumper and ambulance respond to calls at a nearby nursing home. This may meet certain national staffing recommendations; however, does this practice produce superior health outcomes? In other communities, only an ambulance staffed by two emergency medical techs responded to my call in a medical emergency.
7. The county collects the tax for the Spring Hill Fire District. What administrative fee is paid to the county for this service?
8. In addition to tax collection, what other administrative services are being provided to Spring Hill by the county? What is paid to the county for these services?
9. If Spring Hill is merged with the county, would present personnel be protected? How would this merger affect employee compensation and benefits?
10. Other than Spring Hill, is there any other fire district without any 10-story buildings that owns a 10-story hook and ladder unit?
As a voter, I am entitled to this information from the county. I will not be influenced by honking auto horns, T-shirt messages, vitriolic letters to the editor or signs in front yards. All such hype is irrelevant. Just give me the facts.
C.D. Chamberlain, Spring Hill
Re: Paving would aid health budget | April 9 letter
If they lived here, it would be fixed
I agree! I have been trying to get in touch with government officials about this issue, but they are no help. If they lived here, I bet the roads would be paved.
I would like to get in touch with Gov. Charlie Crist to see what we have to do, and would like all our neighbors to join in on this issue. I also would like to know to whom we send our car repair bills. So far this year, we had four flat tires from the nails and the potholes in these roads. Forget about what it's doing to our engines!
Our children's lungs are a major worry for us. What are we breathing out here? When the county starts getting lawsuits filed against them for illnesses caused by this garbage we are breathing, that's when they will quickly pave the roads and try to cover up the issue!
I will continue to try to get something done about this problem, and I hope the rest of the neighborhood will, too.
Tara Thompson, Weeki Wachee
What's the deal with Star Center?
Now that we have a new superintendent of schools, maybe I can get some straight answers regarding the Star Education Center.
How is it some children are forced to go there while others are not? It seems as if certain kids are sent to star while others get away with murder. I think your school system uses the Star Center as a means to get rid of more difficult kids instead of doing the job themselves.
I wonder how many children of teachers, administrators, county officials, etc., go to the Star Center?
Carol Hans, Weeki Wachee