Stop providing boon for the few
In the Dec. 28 St. Petersburg Times, two writings drew my attention. On the front page "Double Dipping" by Times senior correspondent Lucy Morgan and in the Hernando Times a guest column by C.D. Chamberlain about no local preferences for contracts. Both deal with leadership decisions and their effects.
Mr. Chamberlain addresses the issue from a psychological perspective, what is the intent of a policy, for whose benefit and at whose cost, where in economics we call it cost benefit analysis. The double dipping writing addresses the outcome of state policy making with a failed decision related to a cost benefit analysis.
Legislatures, whether it is state or local governments, continue to focus on the benefits for the few rather than the majority. We see this at the state level when politicians, judges, administrators and anyone participating in the state pension fund are allowed to double dip because of a law written in 2001 by lawmakers, of which some are participating in this loophole.
At the local level in Hernando, we see the same cronyism at its best in this new board of county commissioners regarding Peck Sink. Favoritism for local firms would only be acceptable if that firm satisfied the three key factors in cost benefit analysis or social return on investment, something our local official should study when making future decisions. It is an approach to understanding and managing the impacts of a project, or a policy. It is based on stakeholders, the residents and all businesses not just real estate related, in Hernando County and puts financial values on the important impacts identified by stakeholders. The aim is to include the values of people that are often excluded from these decisions and not committees consisting of preselected campaign workers and political party supporters.
Vito J. Delgorio Sr., Spring Hill
Gas prices can shift in contract
I feel it is necessary to set the record straight concerning a recent letter from Jim Gries concerning Hernando County's recent award of its fuel supply contract.
Contrary to Mr. Gries' statement that the contract locked the county into a fixed cost of $1.80 per gallon for gas and $2 per gallon for diesel fuel, the county's contract terms for fuel purchases provide for the vendor to be paid the wholesale cost for fuel, as determined by the Oil Price Information Service index for the Port of Tampa plus state of Florida taxes and fixed fee of 2.7 cents per gallon for delivery/profit. The wholesale costs change as the cost of oil changes in the marketplace.
The county uses an estimated 559,000 gallons of unleaded fuel and 502,000 gallons of diesel annually. Generally, the county pays 18 to 20 cents per gallon less for fuel than pump prices noted at local retailers. In addition, the county terms provide for operations and delivery during emergency situations.
Further, although the county's contract provides for a certain term, the county does have the option to terminate the agreement should situations change.
I generally do not respond to letters from citizens, however, I feel that in this case it is important for the public to have accurate information in regard to how their tax money is being spent at the county. I invite Mr. Gries and any other member of the public to visit our offices at any time to ask questions concerning the county contracting methods and offer suggestions for improvement.
Hernando County's purchasing and contracts director, Brooksville
Health care still faces challenges
Another year is coming to an end. This is a time for a personal inventory of the last 12 months and a view of our new challenges for the coming year. The Hernando County Health Department and the Nature Coast Community Health Center have had many blessings this past year, many of which are the result of relationships we have with our community partners including:
• Gracious giving of time and expertise by volunteer physicians participating in Project Access who provide medical care to those who are uninsured.
• Quality staff training opportunities made possible by Career Central, Withlacoochee Electric Cooperative, Gulfcoast AHEC and Dr. Dennis Wilfong.
• Increased opportunities to share our disease prevention messages made possible by our media partners.
• Enhanced community health promotion projects made possible through the generosity of Wal-Mart and Brooksville Printing and the commitment of Brooksville Parks and Recreation, the Early Learning Coalition, the Hernando County Community Anti-Drug Coalition and Hernando County Parks and Recreation.
• Expanded health care delivery made possible by Rotary Club of Brooksville, Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill; the Harbor; the Hernando County school system; Brooksville City Council; the Hernando County Dental Association; and our local faith-based partners.
• Involvement in forward thinking disease prevention initiatives with health care leaders like Oak Hill Hospital, Brooksville Regional Hospital and Spring Hill Regional Hospital.
• Thoughtful guidance from our state surgeon general; the Nature Coast Community Health Center board of directors; and the Hernando County administrator and county commissioners.
• And, a patient, highly motivated, dedicated staff providing over 182,461 direct services to Hernando County residents and visitors.
The new year promises to be full of challenges for all of us. We look forward to continuing our efforts to decrease infant mortality; the spread of communicable disease; and the occurrence of cavities in our schoolchildren.
Our goals include increasing the number of children who receive recommended immunizations in a timely manner; folks who stop smoking and those who never begin; families that exercise together at least 30 minutes a day; people who receive a flu shot each fall; and diabetics who learn to successfully manage their disease. These are but a few of our aspirations for 2009.
Hernando County Health Department/ Nature Coast Community Health Center