1. Archive

More speed bumps would make residential streets safer

Re: Speed humps on Applegate trigger envy, Jan. 18 letter to the editor.

Editor: I wholeheartedly agree with Dori Foster. The conditions that exist on our residential streets are completely out of hand. We have an element of hotshots who are driving like a bunch of loonies. It's like living on the rails of the Indianapolis 500.

Recently in the Hernando Times, there was a story of a young man driving north on Meredith Drive in the early morning, at excessive speed, and going through a stop sign at the intersection of Brady Street. Sadly, his car hit a house, destroying it, killing him and terrifying the female occupant; fortunately she was in the back of the house.

Meredith Drive, north of Spring Hill Drive, is a feeder street for traffic to Spring Hill Drive, only about three-quarters of a mile long, but with no interruptions to deter excessive speeds. There used to be a stop sign at Gibralter Street, but the county engineer decided to remove the sign off Meredith and put it on Gibralter. A speed bump was installed. The street has been repaved and the bump is just about nonexistent.

People on the street signed a petition and sent it to the county engineer. They took a count at midday and said no. I talked to the county engineer and both assistants with no results. The conditions are getting worse. So far, three cats, one dog, two turtles and a raccoon have been killed. Thank God no children or seniors.

The worst I've seen was when two elderly people were riding a bike, and along came a hotshot zooming by them and backfiring the engine, making a loud noise. Imagine how scared those people must have been.

Yes, residents need help. More speed bumps is the only way to slow down these idiots.

J. DeMarco, Spring Hill

Fire proposal a burden for city taxpayers

Re: Brooksville squandered opportunity to save, Jan. 18 Times editorial.

Editor: I read with astonishment, but not surprised at its political undertones, the editorial on the Brooksville City Council's vote to retain control of the fire services provided to residents of the city.

The editorial indicates that the "deal" with the county would have provided ambulance service to assist city firefighters. City residents are part of the recently imposed county MSTU and pay the same amount as county residents for ambulance (advanced life support), and I question why county residents get ambulance response to 911 fire calls and city residents do not. Remember, we also pay county ad valorem property taxes, just like county residents. The editorial did not explore or explain the obvious inequity.

The deal would have resulted in the current Township 22 MSBU being extended to cover all the residents and businesses of the city who would then be taxed (assessed) by the county directly to pay for the fire service the residents-businesses receive. That county assessment equates to a flat rate assessment that you condemn council member Richard Lewis for proposing, a proposal you decry as "regressive because it requires everyone to pay the same regardless of the value of their property." That is exactly what an MSBU assessment does and this is exactly what would have been the result of allowing the residents-businesses of the city to be assessed by the county. Whatever the final methodology selected by the council, it will be one they administer and one for which they will be accountable to residents.

The problem with the proposed solution of permitting a county MSBU to be extended to cover the city is that state statute requires and permits only the Board of County Commissioners to be the governing body. The BOCC, not the council, would establish the assessment each resident and business would pay annually.

If you look at the map of Hernando County and drop out of the Spring Hill Fire and Rescue District, you see the county's problem of providing fire service with reasonable response times at a price residents of the unincorporated area of the county can afford.

The Board of County Commissioners has longed for a countywide (absent SHFRD) fire district, which would be funded by a countywide assessment. Township 22 was the first move in that direction, but taxpayers in Brooksville would allow that to come to pass if they were included in such an MSBU. The county could then consolidate the various fire MSBUs into one and, because the budget of the entire countywide service would be funded by the single MSBU, the city taxpayer would be funding service, equipment and facilities in Ridge Manor, Royal Highlands and Nobleton, not just the service provided by the "local" fire department. I can assure that residents of the city, which by comparison is a compact service area, would be included with the sparse areas of the county and a single assessment amount would be levied against each resident in the MSBU, countywide.

Council members are excellent stewards of the funds they receive to conduct city government-services. I do not mind paying my taxes to the city and, if they need more, I would have great trust in their stated need for the funds and how they would spend those funds. I do not have such faith in county government.

Also, for every MSBU, the tax collector and the property appraiser obtain a fee of approximately 5 percent of the total collected, and the county's General Fund collects 5 percent for "administration" of the MSBU. Therefore, there is approximately a 10 percent fee above the "actual" budget needs of the MSBU collected that does not directly support the services actually provided. There is no such fee collected for ad valorem tax levies.

The county proposal was seen by a minority of the county as a lifeline being thrown to the city, but the majority saw it for what it was: an anchor being thrown at the city taxpayers.

Robert B. Battista, Brooksville

Return fire meetings to evening hours

Re: Spring Hill Fire and Rescue District meetings.

I am concerned about the security of job positions for our soldiers when they return to their normal lives, after spending a year away from their loved ones and normal everyday functions to defend our country. Fire Commissioner Richard Martin is one of these soldiers.

He left a life as a family man, provider and concerned active member of our community and came back to find that things had been changed in his elected position to the point of not being able to juggle his job and service to the community as effectively as before.

It was my understanding that the Spring Hill Fire and Rescue District commissioners had changed the meeting times with the agreement that it would be changed back when Martin came back from Iraq. As an elected officer, the people who elected him obviously expected that he would be able to attend all meetings. He was able and willing to do his duty for the people of Spring Hill, as well as our country, and has not changed his attitudes on any of those matters.

I believe he is the only commissioner that does not own his own business or is already retired, therefore he does not have total control over his job schedule to rearrange it to accommodate his colleagues on the board. Fire Commissioner Martin's day job takes him all over the state, which makes it very hard for him to attend morning meetings and assist his constituents.

It would be in the best interest of the people of Spring Hill to go back to the meeting times in the evenings so that we can all have a voice on the board. I am sure that once the other commissioners play this out in their minds, they will agree that this move back to evenings also will serve voters.

Lynette Ball, Spring Hill

Throw recycling onto the rubbish pile

Re: Recycling:

Editor: Maybe the extra $4.80 on their garbage bill is not a big deal to some people, but it is for many who are on a fixed income, and we do have many such people in our county.

And how about our many elderly residents who are frail and cannot even lift an empty recycling bin, nevertheless with something in it.

And don't suggest the cart they can buy, if they could afford it, to put their bins on. That is just more weight for them to not be able to move.

They should not have to pay for a service they cannot even manage to use. Jean C. Marin hit the nail on the head in her Oct. 16 letter to the editor. When polled whether we wanted this service, 72 percent said no. What part of "no" doesn't the county understand?

If we choose to recycle, there are plenty of options at no cost available to us. We have more than one county dump. There are various recycle bins here and there throughout the county. Many organizations collect newspapers, some plastic and glass, to help fund their functions.

In another letter by Bernard Bredbenner that ran Jan. 16, many points were made. He stated that the recycling truck does not take all we put in the bins. And, why is there no glass on the list? It is recyclable.

The program is not a complete one. So, why must we pay, why must we be inconvenienced, and why doesn't the county stop this unnecessary service?

What about the mess on a rainy, windy day with bins full of water and papers flying all over our neighborhoods?

Come on, Hernando County, rethink this program. Admit we can do without it.

A.L. Payne, Spring Hill