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Today's Letters: Fire district more than adequate

Published April 17, 2007


I have been a resident of Hernando County for almost 27 years. During this time I have witnessed tremendous growth, especially in the Spring Hill area. This growth demands adequate fire protection and the Spring Hill Fire Rescue District provides more than just adequate service; they are stellar!

Why is this current "bored" of county commissioners so set on taking full control of the fire district? Maybe it's because they have a hard time supplying fire rescue service to other parts of the county, and this is a quick fix for them. First, dismantle the Spring Hill fire district commission, then dismantle the fire department to suit their agenda. The proposed ordinance would allow for this to happen.

It appears the fire board has firsthand knowledge of the needs of Spring Hill. The commission, on the other hand, has only sat back and Monday-morning quarterbacked. Case in point: The commission has criticized the fire board for using brick on the new fire house, stating the cost was too much. Has anyone stopped to think how long brick lasts and how maintenance free it is? If they don't believe that just look at some firehouses around the country that were built of brick. Some are more than 100 years old. How about the new ladder truck? Doesn't it make sense to prepare for the future now at today's dollars, than wait until we need the truck and pay substantially more?

If the commissioners want to point to these examples as wasteful spending, they better check their own house first: the traffic circles in East Linden Estates, at a cost of approximately $250,000. Speed bumps would have been more effective at a fraction of the cost.

Spending $100,000 on a study to determine if the Spring Hill Fire District should be merged into the county? Isn't that a bit presumptuous?

The county commissioners seem to be on some kind of political agenda instead of doing the county's business. Why the rush to judgment? The fire board serves for no pay and has done an admirable job for years. They also were elected by voters of Spring Hill and at least seem to have Spring Hill residents' interest at heart. The nice thing about the fire board is also that every two years we can vote to replace some of them if they are not doing their jobs.

Gee, come to think of it we can do the same with county commissioners.

Hernando County commissioners, put the issue on the ballot. Let the people of Spring Hill decide how they want their fire rescue department governed.

Bill Koenig, Spring Hill


Fire district doing job the right way 

Re: Fire purge appears at hand April 6 story

With regard to the above-mentioned article, Commissioners Chris Kingsley and Rose Rocco seem to have forgotten what the Spring Hill Fire Rescue District commissioners' jobs are. They were elected to protect the residents of Spring Hill by governing Spring Hill Fire Rescue.

That is exactly what they have been doing for more than 30 years. Obviously, they have been doing a great job because Spring Hill Fire Rescue is a solvent entity, unlike Hernando County Fire Rescue, which has been known to borrow money from county funds.

Spring Hill Fire has an ISO rating of 3, proving the point that they are taking great care of Spring Hill residents.

The job of the fire commissioners is to do exactly what Commissioners Kingsley and Rocco are accusing them of doing, "protecting their turf." So commissioners know that they are doing their job exactly as they were elected to do it.

It is obvious some of the county commissioners want something other than protection of Spring Hill's turf.

Michael J. Gennusa, Spring Hill


Prepare for Spring Hill revolution

Spring Hill Fire Rescue has been in Spring Hill for 30 years. If the county is going to take them, there is going to be a revolution in Spring Hill. Those boys belong here and they are not going anywhere.

The fire commissioners are in there because voters put them in there.

Commissioner David Russell, don't think that you are going to brainwash Spring Hill people. I want you to remember that all the swimming pools are in Spring Hill.

Jeff Stabins is a very smart commissioner. He doesn't have to tell the people what he is thinking. Mr. Stabins took politics in college. That's why he knows what to do.

Leave Mr. Stabins alone and leave the Spring Hill Fire Rescue Commission alone.

Rachael Rodriguez, Spring Hill


What's to gain from dissolution?

It seems to me that we in Spring Hill have the best fire rescue service and that the rest of the county is trailing far behind. So, the County Commission's answer is to take over Spring Hill Fire Rescue and water it down.

I have a question: What does Commissioner David Russell Jr., have to gain personally for his push to merge Spring Hill with Hernando County Fire Rescue?

A decision like this should be brought to the voters, not passed into law by a commission of five.

Also, the public should have the chance to talk at the meeting, but can't because the meetings are at a time when the majority of Spring Hill residents are working.

Leave Spring Hill Fire Rescue alone.

Bruce Schmitt, Spring Hill


Commission is in the wrong 

Re: Bypassing commission won't affect fire service April 15 editorial

How short-sighted and biased was this editorial about the Spring Hill Fire Rescue District? The fire district has always operated in the black, and Hernando County Fire Rescue in the red. It is obvious to many residents what is going on here.

Again, the County Commission is trying to get its greedy little hands on something it can't control. Residents do not want and don't feel the county has any right to dismember their elected fire board. Take any camera crew and reporter out to any shopping center and ask. You will hear a completely different story than what you are trying to project in the paper. Don't be a County Commission puppet, spouting inflated half-truths.

If the county succeeds in this monarchy, Spring Hill residents ultimately will suffer and services will not be the same high standard as they are now. Don't fool yourself or your readers.

The county has a poor track history of lying, i.e., landfills and recycling, economic growth development Wal-Mart, Hernando County utilities and overcharging. It's time to stop the bullying and let residents decide by referendum vote.

Tracey Hedges, Spring Hill


Expenses are for good of all 

Re: We should not support fire board April 11 letter to the editor from Ralph Bauer.

First, I would like to respond to "poor relationship." Mr. Bauer, it takes two to have a poor relationship; don't be so quick to place the entire blame on the Spring Hill Fire Rescue District Commission. A little homework should have been done.

Second, the picture that "struck a nerve": If you had any knowledge of firefighting and rescue you would know that a ladder truck of the type purchased was a necessary piece of apparatus for any fire department. The $680,000 you mention was very inexpensive, as ladder trucks go. By the way the purchase of this truck led to the ISO rating of 3 (the county department's is 8) and causes insurance rates to drop for you.

You then mention that all the four-story buildings built "recently" are constructed of "fire retarding material." Sir, that does not say "fireproof." If you have ever been in a fire where fire retardant material and furnishings are burning you would know that a great deal of smoke and heat is created. When hallways and stairwells fill with smoke and heat, there is no way out, except through the use of aerial ladders.

What about older buildings? If you would have asked, a firefighter would have told you that an aerial ladder is a very effective tool in the protection of exposures (adjacent structures). When a fire cannot be fought from ground level or entry, the ladder truck is the only means of fire control or extinguishment. Statistics show there is a very large loss of life due to smoke inhalation and suffocation. Sprinkler systems are not always effective and don't always work like they should. This I can attest to from experience.

Spring Hill Fire Rescue has been in operation for more than 30 years and has shown itself to be a well-organized and effective firefighting unit. I have nothing against Hernando County firefighters. I respect all of the firefighting community. So, I would like to urge the county commissioners to stop this move of greed to control the monies and personnel of Spring Hill Fire Rescue.

Robert Ahrens, Spring Hill


County wasting water in the rain

Since the residents of Hernando County are under strict watering rules, why are the sprinklers running in pouring rain at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday nights on the median strips on Northcliffe Boulevard just before you reach U.S. 19.

Now that is what I call a waste of water. Can we fine the county?

R. Nelson, Spring Hill


Water woes lie with county

Hey, county commissioners, now that we got rain you can approve another 10,000 homes so the next time we will totally run out of water.

It is really a shame how you take this problem out on the residents with the water gestapo, when the problem was created by county officials and the Southwest Florida Water Management District, not the public.

Look in the mirror; that's where the problem is.

Ray Belanger, Spring Hill

[Last modified April 16, 2007, 22:24:11]

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