Our EMS system needs improving
As a taxpayer and as someone who has witnessed the emergency medical system in action over a 27-year career in law enforcement and as a private citizen in Spring Hill, I feel compelled to write about the EMS and fire department in Spring Hill.
The fire department complains it does not have enough tax dollars to purchase new equipment, pay salaries, and build new physical facilities. Taxpayers complain they already pay too much for government services, and while I personally disagree with their argument, some citizens are complaining about the escalating size and scope of government involvement in their everyday lives.
Remove the fire department from the current role it serves in the EMS delivery system. In other words, allow a private company to supply the paramedics and the ambulance transport in the community. As I have read the budget for the fire department, it appears that the largest cost to the taxpayers is the archaic system of the fire department responding to medical calls with pumper/ladder trucks, firefighters dressed in turn-out gear and overly large, overly expensive ambulances.
The chief complains that equipment is in need of replacement and there are no tax dollars to purchase new equipment. It only seems logical that if you stop driving fire trucks to medical calls they will last a lot longer for the job they are intended to perform.
I have witnessed in other communities the change when the fire department got out of the ambulance business. In every example I know of, service improved, tax rates were lowered and a private enterprise was allowed to create jobs in the community. The only negative is that the fire department, which has traditionally provided ambulance services, becomes upset that someone is taking away its authority.
The firefighter's union will argue that it will lose employees, which, in some cases, is true. What I have seen is that in communities that have made the switch, the fire department, through attrition, changes to a leaner, more responsive agency to perform the function it is originally designed for: fighting fires, fire safety, and assisting in natural disasters.
If Spring Hill and surrounding communities want to get into the 20th century, the sheriff should be given the edict from the county to train his officers as first responders and the fire department should get out of the ambulance business.
Before everyone thinks I have stock in or own a private ambulance company, I should explain that I only bring this topic up because the system that is in place now is inefficient, cumbersome, expensive and outdated. EMS should be based on providing the best service possible at the best cost to the tax payers possible. It should not be based on antiquated ideas and inflexibility to explore improvements.
Ron Springer, Spring Hill
Revisiting Rose Rocco's response
I cannot believe what I read in the response Commissioner Rose Rocco wrote to Dan DeWitt's column. First, she goes on the record as stating Hernando County needs to diversify its business. We need new jobs in Hernando County. We don't need to rely on building as a major job source. So, that justifies supporting the quarry project. Building new homes and office buildings. I'm confused as to how that diversifies.
Another contention she has with Mr. DeWitt is the reporting of her contributions to her campaign. She took the maximum donation in 2009, but didn't' take anything else. Did they offer? Did she turn it down? The tone of her rebuttal indicates she took the moral high ground and turned down any other money. Yeah, right. Did she give what she got back is the question? I'll bet not. Perhaps they didn't offer any more money because like the rest of us, they realize, Rose Rocco is not good for Hernando County.
Get out and vote, Hernando County. Make your voices heard.
Cynthia Hall, Weeki Wachee
New ID rules anger this voter Sept. 10 letter
Why make it harder to vote?
The times, they are a changing. But for the better?
The letter writer is severely handicapped, unable to walk or stand. He applied for his identification renewal in lieu of a driver's license. He was denied under new rules requiring a birth certificate. Although he has voted every year for the past 24 years, he will be disenfranchised this year if the state of Pennsylvania does not forward his birth documentation in time. And odds are against him.
A rule is a rule is a new rule. There is no flexibility for common sense or justice. He is no potential terrorist, nor illegal. All who hold voting as a privilege and responsibility, hope he gets to the polls. The times are a changing and so is justice.
Patricia Vigneau, Spring Hill