Editor: We are in need of a new concept for dealing with those of the health-related professions. This would need to include doctors, dentists, equipment manufacturers, health professionals of all kinds, pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, etc. Come to think of it, this concept would work beautifully for lawyers as well. Instead of thinking of these people as independent, private business people, we need to think of them as we do teachers, police officials, all kinds of government employees whom we restrict to low-level salaries because they work for the taxpayer.
Doctors and lawyers work for the taxpayers; there isn't anybody else. We know that both the health care and justice systems in our country no longer serve the people. So let's make them public employees, who would serve the public. Or do you think they might object to living on a teacher's salary?
We are in serious trouble now, so how do we start this new concept? We pick a date, say, graduation day 1992. Everybody who graduates as a doctor or lawyer on that day and forever after becomes a public employee. It wouldn't take long before the majority would be employed by the public. Prices would fall dramatically, and we could all enjoy good health care and a legal system available to all of us.
This new concept would leave just rock stars, sports figures and bankers making millions, but we are narrowing the gap and there is always the lottery.
Advantages are few for
independent fire district
Editor: This letter is written to enlighten the public as to the advantages and disadvantages of having an independent fire district vs. a county-operated, or MSTU (Municipal Service Taxing Unit) fire district.
As an independent fire district we are paying 2.75 mills in ad valorem taxes for fire and rescue (emergency medical) service. With this money we have managed to maintain better than average services, with the latest state-of-the-art equipment. We have a payroll of 71 full-time employees, all qualified professionals. These dedicated men and women are state-certified EMT's and of these, 25 also are certified paramedics.
Our equipment is the finest manufactured. It is yours, you paid for it and I want to see it stay in Spring Hill. As a fire commissioner, along with the other fire commissioners, made absolutely certain that you have received the best value for your tax dollar in these purchases.
Now, if we become a MSTU county officials will be in control of our personnel, equipment and money. They can move it any section of the county at their pleasure. They say they won't. I want to believe that, but how about when an election changes our county commissioners. Will the new county commissioners make similar promises to us?
You know as well as I, that even though Spring Hill carries much of the vote in Hernando County, the other areas are growing and the politicians are looking to them for votes. What better way to romance a group from the east side of the county, for example, than to promise them a well-organized, efficient group of fire fighters and paramedics, plus all the new shiny apparatus that accompanies them, which you and I have bought with our tax dollars?
As to the low figure being recklessly tossed about by one of our opponents, if we become a MSTU, let me assure you that if this happened, and I'm sure it won't, your service will be seriously compromised. This figure cannot be realized because this fire and rescue district cannot be effectively operated with less. For general information, the state can assess you at 10 mills maximum, then under an MSTU the county can assess you an additional 10 mills for a total of 20 mills. Under our current arrangement, we are limited to 2.75 mills by a referendum. The only way this can be raised is by another referendum. What is better for you? I think you can figure this out.
We are probably the envy of every government agency in the country. We operate in the black and stay within our 2.75 mills. This is done by a board of five elected fire commissioners, who work diligently, shops around and gets bids, therefore spending your tax dollars prudently.
I ask you to call or write your county commissioners and let them know that you want to keep Spring Hill Fire and Rescue District independent from the county. In this way you will protect what is rightfully yours and keep it in Spring Hill.
Now for the advantages of a MSTU to the residents of Spring Hill, including Forest Oaks, Timber Pines, Seven Hills, East Linden Estates, Amber Woods, Pristine Place, Orchard Park, Fox Run, Quail Meadows, and Springwood Estates, just to name a few subdivisions, there are none.
Fire Commissioner, S.H.F.R.D.
Editor: As a tax-paying homeowner resident of Hernando I deeply resent the $1 fee at Pine Island. If I rented in Hernando County I would resent it also, because I spend most of my money in Hernando, and as a resident I think I am entitled to park free at Pine Island. As a visitor, I would expect to pay some kind of fee to park and go swimming at Pine Island, as is the case at Clearwater Beach where they have parking meters.
During the winter months there are many people from other countries that go swimming at Pine Island and this is when you are not going to charge a fee. Is that fair?
And no matter what month you go to Pine Island, there are cars from other counties of Florida and from other states and Canada. These are the people who should pay $2 or $3 to park. Hernando County residents should be given the opportunity to buy a parking permit decal for $5 per year to be affixed to the windshield of their car.
I swim mostly in the summer when the water is warm and I like to go three times a week and I leave the weekends for families and young people. That means I will be paying $12 a month during June, July, August and September, which will be around $45 per year give or take a few dollars. That is too much for a retired widow.
And if Pasco puts in parking meters in Hudson at 50 cents per half hour, don't you think those people will come to Pine Island where than can park all day for $1, and when I go to Pine Island all the parking spaces will be filled by Pasco or Citrus cars.
As this is a public park in Hernando County, do you intend to charge $1 at all other public parks in Hernando? If not, why not?
So, County Commissioners, please rescind that law and give the residents of Hernando County a break.