Firefighters acted unprofessionally
Spring Hill Fire Capt. Raymond Elliott and firefighters Chris Rodeo and Zac Lyons each recently received a paltry eight-hour suspension for taking an ambulance to a private residence and partying while on duty.
Do these so-called professionals admit to their scandalous behavior? Of course not! Their response is to file formal grievances through their union, Local 2794, protesting the disciplinary action.
This is just another example of how unprofessional some of the union firefighters are in Spring Hill, which unfairly taints the reputations of the other district employees who perform their jobs admirably.
It is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in the Spring Hill Fire District, but when there is no leadership provided by the fire commissioners and the administration, the union runs amok.
Brian Keenan, Spring Hill
Boat launch fee nothing but a tax
I am the president of the Hernando County Fishing Club, an active, 125-member organization that enjoys the beautiful Nature Coast and our other outstanding natural resources. You can learn more about our club at hernandocountyfishingclub.org.
I'm writing to express outrage at the recent establishment of boat launching fees at our Bayport Park. This alleged user fee is nothing more than a tax increase on the citizens of Hernando County at a time when we can least afford it.
This tax is particularly intolerable as the generated revenues will go directly into the county's general funds rather than being fully dedicated to park maintenance. This is also shameful given that the park was built with taxpayer dollars and maintenance of the facilities was incorporated into the county budgets at that time.
There is no justification for this tax increase, especially since other cost savings, such as reducing your salaries and benefits (like so many citizens of this county have already experienced), have not been even discussed — let alone implemented.
We will continue to carefully monitor this issue and, at election time, take note of those commissioners who continue to support this unwarranted tax increase.
Richard LaBelle, Spring Hill
Who gets trash plan savings?
Residents do want to lower the cost of government, but it hardly seems that the trash plan being put forth has any chance of doing that! You say that customers might save from $20 to $25 per year.
Let's start with those who currently don't have trash collection. I know that's only 18,000 properties owners who don't have to pay approximately $120.00 per year for that service. This equals more than $2 million from families in the county that goes to the haulers — a nice bonus, albeit probably small when compared to one-truck, one-operator savings. How easy to wrap increases into government-redesigned programs.
I don't fault the haulers, but I must ask who thought this up? I suspect that those families will consider it "cleaner, cheaper, faster" as per the taxpayer-funded flier that seems more designed to sell than to provide information.
So, officials say the only way the convenience centers would close entirely is if the entire county went with the universal service. Good thing that can't happen because, as stated, "there might be that uptick in people dumping their garbage in the woods." Brooksville would not be required to be part of the plan, and they are part of the county, aren't they?
Again we are being asked to vote on something that isn't definable yet for a perceived savings that would go to whom? The vote is being sold and it doesn't even count. If that doesn't raise a red flag, what does?
Hugo Gottlich, Spring Hill
Trash plan leaves people vulnerable
In your Oct. 23 article on this very informative questions and answers report on proposed universal residential waste and recycling pickup services, I would like to point out a very important aspect no one has yet discussed:
According to my research, the contract that authorizes the contractor(s) to perform these services also allows them to:
Bill each homeowner for services; charge late fees to homeowners if they are unable to pay on time; threaten legal action against any homeowner who does not have recyclables and chooses not to pay that part of the service; take a homeowner to court and get a judgment to collect arrears plus their charges even in hardship cases including a lien against all their assets.
These are hard redresses against not only senior and poor homeowners who must take their waste materials directly to the exchange stations but also unfair to those who genuinely have little or no garbage or recyclables.
I recall that only up to five years ago, a representative of one of the authorized collectors proposed (and never got an answer) at a County Commission meeting that the county, itself, add these fees on as part of the annual real estate invoices, thus taking out the contentious threat of homeowners losing their good credit and assets to a giant conglomerate that turns a cold shoulder to the needs of the poor and elderly. That way, all interested parties would be protected. Or is that proposal too politically explosive for the commissioners to handle?
Henry DeVito, Weeki Wachee
Horse lovers oppose races Oct. 23 article
Motorcycle park has long history
I read your article with a little chuckle to myself. We were motorcycle riders of dirt bikes in the late 1960s and early '70s and I remember in 1972 when Doyle Conner, the agricultural commissioner for Florida, dedicated Buchinbach Mine and the Croom forest area as a motorcycle park for everyone to ride their motorcycles safely.
The horses came much later. In fact, my family owned the store that fronted the track in question and leased the track. Then we formed an organization called the Florida Trail Riders Association that is still in existence today. Randy Yoho is correct these are family events that have been around for years and years.
I am 65 now and still enjoy a good motocross race or an enduro race, a timed race through the woods. My family and I miss all of those enjoyable times of camping and riding as a family. So the horse people are correct. Horses and motorcycles do not mix.
So, please let us enjoy our motorcycles in the park that was intended for the bikes and find your own area to have your family fun in.
Jan Knowles, Brooksville
Politicians should cut their own pay
All our elected officials should take a huge pay cut. Who will be the first person to make this move?
Florida is drowning financially, but officials are still making a fortune in income. I help save peoples lives for a living for $40,000 a year, so why are Pat Fagan and other county officials making more than twice as much as me?
It gets me sick that they cut here and there, but bypass their own loot.
Jeffrey Huber, Brooksville