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Surgery can't slow Spring Hill activist

To say that Bill Fagan is a busy man is an understatement.

He took time out to have a quadruple-bypass heart operation in March, and now his wife, Donna, is having a hard time with this 55-year-old who is supposed to be resting a good deal of the time.

Well, as far as Bill is concerned, he does rest a little each day. But then he's off and running the way a typical Type A person ought to be.

I first met Bill Fagan at a meeting about the effort to launch a feasibility study regarding the possible incorporation of Spring Hill. Fagan is one of the leaders of the group studying incorporation, and I was immediately impressed by his forthright, honest presentation filled with facts and answers to questions.

I met him again at a meeting of the Spring Hill Civic Association that I attended as a member of the Spring Hill Beautification Committee. He lent a great deal of support and enthusiasm to our efforts as well.

Fagan was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., but his parents moved to a rural community west of Chicago when he was young. This little area in DuPage County, Ill., exploded in population when an expressway came through.

"I remember my father telling me that you could have bought 200 acres for $44,000 in 1962, but after the expressway came through, one-half acre cost $150,000," Fagan said.

Fagan moved to Spring Hill three years ago. "I came from a developing county, and I saw the signs of terrific growth beginning in Hernando County. That's why I'm interested in having a feasibility study done to find out if it is in the best interests of Spring Hill and outlying areas to incorporate.

"It could bring us quite a few benefits: better representation with the County Commission, faster response to our needs, more money back to Spring Hill from our tax dollars, enforcement of our deed restrictions, better services and more accountability."

Fagan said the county collects millions of dollars in taxes each year from people in Spring Hill, and he questions how much residents receive in return.

He said the last attempt at incorporation was made about 12 years ago, when Spring Hill's population was about 39,000. Since that time, our population has increased to approximately 70,000, and when the Suncoast Parkway is completed, that figure surely will increase.

Fagan has always wanted to be involved in bettering the communities in which he has lived. As a result, he is interested in the Spring Hill Civic Association and has been working closely with its president, Jim McLaughlin.

"The civic association is the only voice we have to represent us before the County Commission, and we need to increase our membership," said Fagan.

Fagan is also president of the Oak Hills homeowners association, one of many such groups in Spring Hill, and he believes that if the leaders of these associations would attend civic association meetings, they could bring back to their residents information about important issues affecting Spring Hill.

He said civic association members also should attend the weekly County Commission meetings so the voice of Spring Hill can be heard.

There's a whole new generation of homeowners that has recently arrived in Spring Hill, and Fagan is certain these people are interested in looking after their rights and the value of their homes.

"I found more sense of community in Spring Hill than I found in the Midwest," said Fagan. "People in my neighborhood help one another, invite people to their homes and have a very strong homeowners association."

Fagan says he is not a politician.

"I'm a businessman interested in the betterment of my community," he said.

Fagan is vice president of a company in Tampa that recycles equipment to educational facilities, hospitals and fast-food stores. The company, Waste Away Systems, also specializes in trash reduction techniques. In addition to other duties, Fagan does teaching and marketing for the company.

Fagan has now become a member of the board of directors of the Spring Hill Civic Association and will be presenting his latest report on incorporation at the next association meeting at 7:30 p.m. June 1 at Springstead High School.

For anyone interested, the next meeting of the group studying the feasibility of Spring Hill incorporation will be at 6 p.m. June 20 on the fourth floor at Oak Hill Hospital.