RE: Spring Hill Fire Tax
Other counties spend much less
In March of 2007, Fishkind & Associates published an "Analysis of County Spending Patterns: 1999-2006" prepared for the Florida Association of Counties.
The appendix (1,183 pages of County Universal Chart of Accounts data) allowed for a comparison of county spending in multiple areas. The appendix also allowed for the calculation and comparison of the "per capita" spending in these areas.
Calculations for fire and rescue showed that in 2006, Hernando County had the fifth-highest per capita spending in the state (after Charlotte, Indian River, St. Johns, and Palm Beach). Hernando spent $156 versus a state average of $93. Neighboring counties were at average or below.
This excessive (compared to other counties) spending has never been explained. Rather than increasing taxes to cover costs, the fire department should investigate other neighboring county spending to determine areas of cost-savings.
Bob Widmar, Weeki Wachee
Towing noise violators is unfair
Brooksville City Council is way off base by approving an ordinance that would allow for towing of a vehicle found violating the city's code prohibiting loud music. To get the vehicle back, the owner would have five days to request a hearing before a hearing officer. If the hearing officer decides there is probable cause, or if the hearing is waived, the vehicle will stay impounded until the case is resolved.
The owner could post a cash bond to release the vehicle until a final disposition is reached, and if judged guilty, pay a civil penalty to get the impounded vehicle returned. This is just crazy.
If we want to be mean, why don't we place the violator in a set of stocks in the town square, or maybe subject them to a public lashing?
I think the best way to handle this code violation is to simply write the violator a ticket as we would for any other violation. Why try to impound their vehicle? This just doesn't make any sense to me at all.
If you really want to get their attention, require them to attend a classical music appreciation course after the second or third offense.
Donald Montgomery, Brooksville
How is forfeiture money spent?
Tuesday is the big day of meetings with the county's budget shortages, not excluding Sheriff Richard Nugent's part.
There has been no mention of two items: drug forfeiture money and take-home cars.
When cars, boats, homes, cash etc. are taken into possession by the department, who decides what is purchased from the money received from the sale of such goods? Where is it reported what was spent?
Aren't these still considered public money, or can the money be spent willy-nilly when the sheriff decides? I am so pleased he dipped into the jar to help Brooksville get badly needed lighting in an area badly needing services, but could he have given more, could he have done more than that? Where did public input come for that amount? Why should he alone make those decisions?
Secondly, deputies having use of cars to drive to and from work. Years ago the county stopped this practice with employees. In the past the sheriff has said the presence of patrol cars in a neighborhood keeps crime down.
Where are the facts to support such a statement? On my street, we had a burglary, and a deputy lives nearby! Between the cost of gas and upkeep for those additional miles put on said deputy's car, I can imagine it would rack up some decent savings.
Very few citizens have the privilege of a company car with gas paid to and from their home unless their base is out of their home. With the more than decent salary and perks that deputies receive, it is in my opinion the time for them to tighten the belt.
We taxpayers have been intimidated too often by Sheriff Nugent about loss of services, layoff of deputies, etc.
If any of us who have had to budget the money at home under this trying economic time could see line by line the spending and where it goes for the sheriff and the whole county, I bet we could crunch the numbers without more talk of layoffs and loss of services.
I wonder, did we have an oversized government employee base to begin with, or are we all going to be standing in long lines for services, have no parks for kids, charge for beach use, etc.?
And is the county now going to be paying overtime for those who have been fortunate to keep those jobs? This is surely a huge dilemma imparted on all who live here in Hernando County.
Are more moving companies moving more residents out of or into Hernando County?
Mary L. Scarff, Weeki Wachee
Captain's death was act of fate
Sometimes an accident is the result of fate. I believe that this accident was an act of fate and was allowed to happen by God. Considering this, I find it quite strange that Assistant State Attorney Peter Magrino would initiate an act of vengeance against an act of fate.
Hernando sheriff's Capt. Scott Bierwiler was a well-liked individual and seemed to be an exceptional candidate to replace Sheriff Nugent. Sometimes, God allows the best to suffer for the rest; some believe that Capt. Bierwiler was the best of the deputies in the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, including Sheriff Nugent.
If one believes in God, and believes that God is a just God, then the Hernando County Sheriff's Office may have some lack of homage for God to answer for. Assistant State Attorney Peter Magrino should strongly consider dropping these charges.
The Hernando County judicial system appears to show lack of homage for the law when one of their own commits an act of fate, but appears to show maximum homage for the law when an act of fate is committed against one of their own.
The young teenager was only joy riding with his parent's car without their permission. Joy riding is not a felony; joy riding has never been a felony. Assistant State Attorney Peter Magrino, do not be vindictive in wasting the taxpayers' dollars. Let a good man rest in peace. Sometimes it's just fate.
Richard L. Howell, Brooksville
Make sure other pets aren't killed
I was appalled, angry and saddened for Maria Valez and her son Austin, on the untimely loss of their cat, Buddy.
I believe this truly was an accident (no one would do this intentionally) but there should be a double-checking in place. These are our beloved family pets.
I had my cat, Misty, for 19 years and I know how heartbroken I would have been if I had lost her in this tragic way.
Please, Hernando County Animal Services, change your way of doing this. Call the right people, double-check! Review your procedures on putting our pets down. Make sure all employees know the procedures.
Joanne Tamse, Spring Hill
Garden Club site is free, tax free
It was reported that some additional budget cuts were to be made in the Hernando County Parks Department. I felt that this may be a good time to inform the area folks that the Nature Coast Botanical Gardens have just set up a picnic area in the center of the gardens. From this area you can see the rose, butterfly, waterfall and rainforest gardens.
The gardens are part of the Spring Hill Garden Club and do not use any taxpayer funds, but are supported by donations and plant sales. They are open to all folks at no cost to enter or to park except for a few events each year. The gardens are at 1489 Parker Ave., just off Spring Hill Drive and U.S. 19.
Open during daylight hours, they offer the public an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature and find tranquility in the middle of a suburban area. A leisurely stroll along the main path will lead you to nearly 20 gardens or a shorter walk will take you to the picnic area. The garden club invites all to come and enjoy the gardens. You may get more information by calling 683-9933 or go to the Web site www.naturecoastbotanicalgardens.com.
James Erickson, Spring Hill