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  1. #1
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Default Florida Fire Departments face loss of contract with County

    This story specifically relates to Zephryhills, but the contract for the area covered by Dade City is under scrutiny also. In the adjacant county of Hernando, the City of Brooksville just went through a similar situation with Township 22. The county took it back and they lost over $300k in revenue. They however, have found a loophole in the Charter of Township 22 that requires the city to provide coverage. Latest reports were that the city has filed suit against the county. These 3 cities are career departments in case you were wondering if it was a volunteer vs carer issue. Some of the cities are supplemented with volunteers and others have reserve firefighters to assist in coverage. Brooksville and Dade City have 1 station and Zephyrhills has 2.
    ______________________

    Zephyrhills plans for loss of county contract
    Leaders will meet to discuss options for the Fire Department, which will lose about one-fourth of its budget starting in 2003.
    By BRADY DENNIS, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published August 12, 2002


    ZEPHYRHILLS -- Chances are, the Zephyrhills Fire Department bank account will shrink starting in 2003. City leaders have scheduled a workshop for tonight to discuss what that means, and more important, what to do about it.

    The city currently receives about $430,000 a year from the county and likely will receive more next year. If that money -- about a quarter of the department's budget -- dries up, problems are sure to follow.

    "If we lose the contract, it'll be a big financial impact on the city," said fire Chief Robert Hartwig. "Maybe we'll have to lay off 10 firefighters, close a station, lose some equipment and go back to the service of 20 years ago."

    Hartwig doesn't want to see that happen. He hopes to find a way to maintain a contract with the county.

    "I think it's worked (well) through the years the way we've had it," he said. "The county says it's all about money. It's not all about money. It's about caring."

    Zephyrhills and Dade City provide fire protection to areas outside their municipal boundaries under a contract with Pasco County. In June 1999, county commissioners said they planned to terminate the contracts and provide fire protection beginning in 2003.

    Last week the county acquired land along Centennial Boulevard -- halfway between Dade City and Zephyrhills -- to build a fire station.

    It also is negotiating to staff the department at the Traveler's Rest mobile home park and will move its Chancey Road station to State Road 54 and Eiland Boulevard west of Zephyrhills. The county also plans to move a truck stationed in Dade City to U.S. 301 north of the city. Those efforts are aimed at providing coverage to east Pasco.

    Zephyrhills City Manager Steve Spina said he didn't think the county would retract its promise to end the contracts.

    "What we need to do is get a grip on what's going to happen, then start looking at ideas to get money to keep running the way we run," Spina said. "We just have to be ready for it. I think we definitely have to look at some downsizing."

    Spina said some projects, such as a station expansion and new training towers at the airport, likely will be delayed or dropped.

    He and Hartwig said that changes from higher taxes to a public safety impact fee to starting to charge for inspections and false alarms might be necessary.

    Hartwig said he hoped that even if the department had to shrink that its quality of service would not suffer.

    "There's concern from everyone," he said. "This puts the question in a lot of people's minds, where we are going and what we are doing."

    Monday's workshop is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at City Hall, 5335 Eighth St. A regular council meeting will follow at 6 p.m.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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  2. #2
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Post Today's News links

    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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  3. #3
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Post County Officials Suggest Public Debate

    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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  4. #4
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Post Update

    The original post on this thread mentions the City of Brooksville. It was my understanding that in addition to requesting an injunction, they had begun the process of file a law suit. The suit was to be based on the Charter of "Township 22" and the requirement for it to "contract" with the City for Fire Services.

    Here is an updated story on Brooksville. There has been no other information on Dade City or Zephyrhills at this point/

    http://www.hernandotoday.com/MGAHZDKZ25D.html
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    Default

    This is kinda the opposite of what is happening down here in Broward County. By 2010 all cities must square off thier boundries, which means taking over county run area. The area that Broward County covers shrinks all the time and they have closed a few stations. The county commission had a study done come up with a cost effective way to run the FD. We have, I think 26, departments down here, many of them 1 and 2 stations. Because of the way the boundaries are and the turf wars you could have a heart attack across the street from a fire station but your units come from a station 5 min away(actualy happened). It is the worst system I have ever seen, heard, or read about. All these little 1 or 2 station cities would rather drive their trucks into the sea and burn down their stations before joining up with the county or forming a regional system like the study said. It's just like a soap opera, and every day something new comes out.

  6. #6
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  7. #7
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  8. #8
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Post Letter to the Editor

    A link to a letter to the editor on this subject in today's

    news.http://tampatrib.com/pasconews/MGA6TR03D5D.htmlLetters to the Editors


    ----------------------------
    Another letter to the editor;
    Firefighters must stand united

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published August 27, 2002
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Editor: Re: Brooksville firefighters shouldn't work for county, Aug. 16 letter to the editor:

    With the shadow of the anniversary of Sept. 11 over our heads, it saddens me to read about the unrest that has been created between the two fire departments in Hernando County. Unfortunately, for some it all boils down to money.

    Fact is, the Brooksville Fire Department has been serving Township 22 for more than three decades. During this period, the people of Township 22 have appreciated the highest quality of fire protection from professional firefighters. Some are dedicated to the point of standing up in front of a County Commission meeting to support their department and the people it serves.

    I am very proud of my husband, a lieutenant with the Brooksville Fire Department. I am proud of the way he spoke out for the residents of Township 22 and our city Fire Department. The members have served Township 22 for a long time and should continue to serve that area.

    My husband works part time for the county fire service. He tries to pick up one shift per week. He did not work the day directly after the commission meeting. It makes perfect business sense for the various departments to use professional part-time employees to fill overtime positions and cut down on unnecessary overtime expense. Both the city and county fire departments use this practice. It is a given fact that most firefighters are underpaid and most boast second jobs in order to make ends meet. In working for the county, my husband may eventually be eligible to draw two retirements. For someone who runs into burning buildings and lays his life on the line every day for his fellow man, they will be much-deserved retirements, should he survive to reap those benefits. Many firefighters have begun their careers with Brooksville, only to leave for more money and better benefits with the county or Spring Hill Fire Rescue. Those who have remained with the city have done so out of dedication and love for their community. In our case, we live in Brooksville and have a vested interest in the future of our community, as well as our Fire Department.

    Unfortunately, it all boils down to money. Brooksville has never faltered in its ability to provide top-notch fire service to Township 22. They have, in return, generated nearly one-third of the city's fire budget in tax revenue, used for such things as buying a much-needed ladder truck and innovative equipment to assure the safety of the firefighters and those they serve. It is a relationship benefiting both parties. On the other hand, the county fire department, with its three chiefs, 10 captains, 10 lieutenants and a few underlings, is greedy for that chunk of change. They have been unable to balance their budget; however, perhaps with an additional $350,000 and that huge new EMS tax, those few underlings can be promoted to some other high-ranking position, and they will have all chiefs.

    The families of the Hernando County firefighters should be happy that their loved ones work with the likes of my husband. When they are at a scene together, they must always look out for one another. They should be united rather than divided by politically motivated infighting. My husband stands up for what he believes in and, contrary to comments made by letter writer Jennifer Calderin, he never once spoke negatively about the quality of service the county provides. He respects all fellow firefighters (union or not) and their desires and abilities to protect the public. Sure, he collects a paycheck from the county, but he gives his talent and expertise in return. Isn't that the kind of dedication that brought our true heroes to light during Sept. 11?

    Whether the Brooksville Fire Department succumbs to the blows that the county commissioners dealt during that fateful July 30 meeting, one thing remains certain: These dedicated Brooksville firefighters will continue serving their communities in one way or another, and those elected officials who turned deaf ears on their constituents may have to find jobs elsewhere.
    -- Sherry M. Dow, Brooksville
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  9. #9
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Default

    While the contract dispute for service coverage has not been resolved, this story relating to Dade City Fire Department and their quest to improve salaries was in yesterday's news.

    http://www.sptimes.com/2002/08/29/Pa...efighter.shtml
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  10. #10
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    Question

    truck7, I do believe you have the wrong thread. Not quite sure how that one happened but this thread is about service delivery.

  11. #11
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    Read the information posted truck7. This thread deals with contract for service between two areas.

  12. #12
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Post Updated News

    City of Brooksville vs Hernando County Fire and Rescue relating to coverage of Township 22..

    ----The attempt at arbitration has failed and it was placed back in the hands of the judge. The orginal charter requiring the Township 22 area to contract with Brooksville apparently expired in the mid 1990's. The fate of the issue is not back in the hands of a Judge who must make a decision prior to midnight on September 30, 2002.

    ______________________________ _______________
    Dade City and Zephryhills vs Pasco County Fire and Rescue


    Tampa Bay Tribune--Sunday September 15, 2002


    DADE CITY - When your home or business is on fire, who do you trust to get there faster: firefighters from the county or the nearby city?
    In parts of Pasco surrounding Dade City and Zephyrhills, which are protected by those respective cities, the answer depends on who you ask.

    Pasco County Fire Rescue Chief Tony Lopinto said the county has the resources and manpower to provide better service - particularly on medical calls, which make up 84 percent of all calls - because the county has paramedics on its fire engines.

    But Dade City Fire Rescue Chief Bob Cabot and Zephyrhills Fire Chief Bob Hartwig said the cities can get there faster and charge taxpayers less.

    ``If it ain't broke, don't fix it,'' Cabot said.

    The issue was hashed out Thursday night at a forum that attracted about 200 people to East Pasco Adventist Education Center. Attendees got a chance to tell the facts as they see them and to ask questions.

    The cities have been serving fire taxing districts outside their municipal boundaries for 30 years and want to continue doing so. The county pays the city fire departments to cover those areas.

    But when the contract expires next October, the county wants to take back the right to cover the four taxing districts.

    Lopinto said saving the roughly $900,000 total paid to the cities will allow the county fire department to grow and build new stations. That in turn will mean better protection for people all over Pasco, especially in hard-to-reach places like Richland and Blanton, he said.

    The county already has purchased land on Centennial Road (between Dade City and Zephyrhills) to build a station and expects to open it in October 2003. A station in Meadow Pointe will open in the fall, and a new station will be built north of Dade City within two years. Another new station is planned for Curley Road between state roads 52 and 54 before 2007.

    The county wants to acquire the old Richland volunteer station and also merge with the Traveler's Rest and Tri-Community volunteers.

    Cabot said his department has a response time of 3.7 minutes on average for a medical call and 5.4 minutes for a fire call. Cabot said the county's response times are between eight and 14 minutes.

    The fire tax is now 1 mill or 1.54 mills, depending on which of the four east Pasco districts residents live in.

    In about two weeks, the county will raise the rate for two of the districts from 1.54 to 1.816 mills to fund capital improvements. Officials will try to lower the millage to 1.7 mills once stations are built, Assistant County Administrator Dan Johnson said.

    The two districts with a rate of 1 mill must retain that for at least the next year.

    One mill equals $1 in tax for every $1,000 in taxable property value.

    ``Pasco County is on the threshold of growing,'' Lopinto said. ``In order for us to expand and respond to growth, we need to have the infrastructure to grow year after year.''

    But Ginny Solberg, a Dade City area resident and director of Downtown Dade City Main Street, said the county's motive for taking back the fire districts is to have east Pasco residents fund the uncontrolled growth that has taken place in other parts of the county.

    Cabot and Hartwig said they'd like to see the issue go to referendum, because the districts were created by such a vote of the people.

    On Tuesday, Lopinto will ask county commissioners to approve letters notifying the mayors of Dade City and Zephyrhills that the county will terminate fire service agreements with them Oct. 1, 2003. The agreements require county officials to notify city officials a year in advance of canceling the arrangement.

    ``We look forward to working with you in keeping the citizens that we serve first and foremost in the saving of lives and property through fire prevention and fire suppression,`` says the letter awaiting the signature of commission Chairwoman Ann Hildebrand.


    Reporter Will Rodgers contributed to this report. Reporter Juliet Greer can be reached at (813) 779-4614.

    ______________________________

    Tampa Bay Tribune EDITORIAL, September 16, 2002

    It's Not Broken

    Published: Sep 15, 2002



    It was unfortunate Pasco County Commissioner Ted Schrader had to leave the east Pasco fire taxing unit forum Thursday evening. Assistant County Administrator Dan Johnson and County Fire Chief Anthony Lopinto presented their case with the finesse of a used car salesman.
    The only true reason for the county takeover that I could glean out of their presentations was that it presents a fractured coverage area. Spending this amount of money, time and effort to improve overall service across the county at the expense of the level of service in the fire taxing unit while increasing the cost to all involved is ludicrous. Expending the same effort in improving the level of service in areas of the county not covered by the fire taxing unit would result in an even greater overall level of service across the county.

    No one disputed the fact that the level of service is higher in the taxing unit than the rest of the county. So why does it make sense for the county to spend an enormous amount of money and effort to attempt to reach the same level of service sometime in the future? Why not use those resources to improve the level of service in areas of the county that do not enjoy the level of service enjoyed by the fire taxing unit today?

    The clamor for a referendum on this issue at the end of the meeting was overwhelming. If county commissioners implement this change without a referendum, the animosity between the residents of Dade City and Zephyrhills with their fire taxing unit and the county will probably last for years.

    I suggest county commissioners postpone this takeover or drop it completely. If not, I'm sure more and more communities within the fire taxing unit will opt for annexation into the adjacent cities.

    One option put forth by the county's team was ``closest engine response.'' This means the closest fire/ ALS station responds to the call. As the population density in the unit is concentrated around the cities, they would be expected to cover pretty much the same calls they do today without a contract. This would require some kind of compensation for it to be acceptable to the cities. This is what the contract does now! For the cities to agree to provide this service on a call-by-call basis with after-the- fact compensation would be a planning and administrative nightmare.

    As I said in 1999, if it's not broke, don't fix it.


    FREDERICK FLETCHER Zephyrhills
    Last edited by captstanm1; 09-16-2002 at 10:50 AM.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  13. #13
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    Post Decision is made

    St. Petersburg Times 09/18/02

    County adopts its fire takeover
    Commissioners vote to take over from the cities fire service areas around Dade City and Zephyrhills.
    By SAUNDRA AMRHEIN, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published September 18, 2002
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    DADE CITY -- The county's fire service area grew some more Tuesday when the County Commission voted to end agreements with Dade City and Zephyrhills for fire protection in zones outside the city limits.

    The county is scheduled to take over fire service in those areas in October 2003, but the commission also voted Tuesday to move ahead with a suggestion from County Administrator John Gallagher to pay the cities for two additional years during a transition period.

    During that time, the county and the cities would operate under a "closest unit" response, meaning that the cities would respond to emergencies in the unincorporated zones if their firehouses and trucks were closer.

    During Tuesday's meeting at the Pasco County Historic Courthouse, county fire rescue Chief Anthony Lopinto outlined plans for new stations and equipment that will help improve response times and coverage to meet increased residential growth.

    "We've been protecting a majority of this county for three decades now," Lopinto said.

    Pasco County already has absorbed volunteer fire districts in San Antonio, Magnolia Valley and Land O'Lakes.

    Commissioner Ted Schrader, whose district covers much of east Pasco, alluded to the sensitivity of the issue when local departments don't want to give up service areas.

    But he said he was convinced it was the right decision based on the county fire district's plans for new equipment and stations throughout east Pasco.

    "Pasco County has a plan. I don't see that in either of the cities," Schrader said. Without the county's takeover of service, "We won't see the capital projects Chief Lopinto mentioned."

    The city firefighters had been concerned that a county takeover of the zones would mean a loss of revenue from the county. Some residents now being served by the cities fear higher taxes and longer response times if the county took over.

    With the transition plan, however, the cities would get money for an additional two years. For Dade City, that amount would go from about $585,000 in the last year of the agreement to $230,000 in fiscal year 2004 and $115,000 for fiscal year 2005.

    Zephyrhills would see $432,000 in the last year of the agreement cut down to $177,000 for fiscal year 2004 and $88,000 for fiscal year 2005.

    Dade City Mayor Scott Black told the commissioners that the city would like to continue providing the fire service.

    "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," he said.

    Zephyrhills Mayor Cliff McDuffie told the commission he wanted to wait to talk to the City Council before commenting.

    Opponents from the cities have argued that the county's takeover would bring longer response times and lower levels of service. The county disagreed, saying that additional fire stations, the services of firefighters also trained as paramedics and an expanded fleet of fire engines and ambulances would improve protection in east Pasco.

    The drive to serve the districts surrounding the cities began in 1999 and became an instant struggle. County commissioners voted at the time to extend service contracts through October 2003, then dissolve the districts and provide coverage from regional stations.

    After the meeting, Dade City Fire Chief Bob Cabot said while he "looked forward" to negotiating with the county about the transition plan, he remained convinced that the voters should have decided the issue in a referendum.

    Lopinto argued to the commissioners that the important decision should be left to them.

    "We're not talking about recreation here," he said. "We're talking about public safety."
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  14. #14
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    Post Brooksville and Township 22

    The case between Hernando County and the City of Brooksville goes before a Circuit Court Judge Monday afternoon, September 23, 2002.

    Some form of decision has to be made as the coverage of Township 22 will be non-existant effective midnight on September 30, 2002.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  15. #15
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    Post Brooksville News

    St. Petersburg Times--Hernando Edition

    Fire service plan is an immediate target
    Critics pounce on an idea to merge Brooksville's Fire Department with the county's.
    By DAN DeWITT
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published September 21, 2002


    --------------------------------------

    BROOKSVILLE -- Brooksville City Council member Joe Bernardini has what he says is a sensible but politically dangerous solution to the city's ongoing dispute with the county over fire service:

    Make the city Fire Department part of the county.

    He offered this as a possible alternative to Brooksville's current tactic to keep serving the area around the city, which is fighting the county for it in court.

    Among the benefits: Brooksville firefighters' notoriously low salaries would jump to match those in the county, he said, and without having to fund the Fire Department, the city could reduce its property tax by as much as 3 mills.

    That would make Brooksville's plans for widespread expansion more feasible, Bernardini said. Developers and homeowners who might blanch at the idea of paying 8 mills in property tax as well as county taxes would be less intimidated by 5 mills, he said.

    "Double taxation won't go away, but it would be less of an issue, I believe," he said.

    Council member Joe Johnston III said he thinks the proposal should at least be considered, especially if the firefighters favor it.

    "My thing is, don't reject it out of hand until you have a chance to talk to firefighters about it," Johnston said.

    But council member Mary Staib said she was absolutely opposed, comparing it with former City Manager Jim Malcolm's attempt eight years ago to fire police Chief Ed Tincher and then-Fire Chief Jim Adkins.

    "It's the same old thing recurring again," Staib said. "I think our people are perfectly happy with their police and fire protection."

    Malcolm's effort led to him being forced from his position and to a recall that removed four council members. Bernardini said his plan is different in several respects.

    It does not include the Police Department and nobody from the city would be fired, though current Fire Chief Jim Daugherty would be required to take another position in the county fire department, possibly an inspector.

    "They probably don't need another chief," Bernardini said of the county.

    He also said he would insist on an interlocal agreement that included requirements such as keeping staffing at the same level and hiring current Brooksville fire employees.

    On Friday, Daugherty said he hadn't previously heard of the plan, but that he didn't like it.

    "I'm not in favor of it. I want to keep the Fire Department the way it is," he said.

    Bernardini said he first talked about the idea to County Commission Chairwoman Nancy Robinson and County Administrator Dick Radacky earlier this summer.

    They both expressed interest, he said. Radacky said Friday the county would be interested in pursuing an interlocal agreement.

    The firefighters Bernardini has spoken to were at least willing to consider the proposal, he said. The main concern, especially for firefighters who have served for several years with the city, was maintaining their current pension plans.

    Besides serving the city, the city currently serves several square miles outside its limits -- an area called Township 22 that brings about $330,000 in revenue to the city annually. The county recently announced plans to end this contract effective Oct. 1 and take over service there.

    The city has filed a suit to stop this action, a complaint that will be heard on Monday. Bernardini said the county would benefit because the city fire station has the best location for covering Township 22.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  16. #16
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    Post Brooksville and Hernando Go to Court

    St. Petersburg Times--Hernando Editon

    Fire service spate moves to courts

    Government lawyers argue opposite views on control of the Township 22 fire district.
    By WILL VAN SANT
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published September 24, 2002
    --------------------------

    BROOKSVILLE -- Attorneys for Brooksville and the county argued before a circuit court judge Monday over who will control the Township 22 fire district, which provides the city with roughly $330,000 a year in tax revenue.

    Barring legal action, the county will take over the district, which includes an area outside of the city of Brooksville, Oct. 1.

    Brooksville City Attorney David La Croix told Judge John Booth that residents from Township 22 and the county must vote to approve such a takeover, and cited state laws that block outside governments from dissolving special tax districts.

    Shortly after the hearing, La Croix said the county was "doing it for the money. They want to use money from Township 22 to subsidize services outside the township."

    Assistant County Attorney Kurt Hitzemann interpreted state law differently, contending that the county is not bound by the legislative statutes cited by La Croix.

    After the proceeding, Hitzemann said the county takeover is meant to provide improved fire service to Township 22 residents at a lower cost -- not pad the county's coffers.

    "We can do it more efficiently," Hitzemann said.

    Judge Booth said he would review the arguments and make a decision "as soon as possible."

    -- Will Van Sant covers Hernando County government and can be reached at 754-6127. Send e-mail to vansant@sptimes.com.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  17. #17
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Post Council Member Censured

    members of the Brooksville City Council Censured the member who went to the County "as a citizen" discussing options for the fire service changes. Did he violate Florida Sunshine Laws?

    http://www.sptimes.com/2002/09/27/He...r_censur.shtml
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  18. #18
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Post City of Brooksville Council at Odds Over Loss of Township 22

    As of midnight on September 30, 2002, the City of Brooksville lost a huge chunck of it's coverage area and the funding to go with it as the County took back responsibility for covering Township 22 (an area that surrounds Brooksville. The city still contends that their fire department is in a better position to provide service for this area due to locations of County Station. The battle is continuing..

    The recently censured city council member lashes out at the Council Members who censured him. The City is still at odds with the County over the loss of area represented by Township 22. Alternative means of survival are being explored, including annexation and compensation for mutual aid and liability for the city from the County.

    http://www.sptimes.com/2002/10/09/He...ardini_f.shtml


    Additionally, as reported in a thread on "Off Duty Discussions"....Chief Jim Daugherty of the Brooksville Fire Department became ill last week and upon checking into a hospital was diagnosed with cardiac problems and subsequently underwent heart surgery. He is recovering and expected to return to work by January 1. However, the Chief has obviously been the pioneer in the City's efforts to fight the change. Captain Wilfong of the Department has been named Acting Chief.
    Last edited by captstanm1; 10-09-2002 at 06:26 AM.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  19. #19
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Post Tensions Rise...Controversy continues

    NOTE: An action that "provided better county coverage" to Township 22 the County relocated a 2500 Gallon Tanker (equipped with attack lines and a pump) to a station in the City of Brooksville that until recently only housed an Advanced life Support Unit. The Tanker can bee seen parked along side the station (which has no bays as it was previously just an office space). Incidently....the Tanker is stationed not much more than 1000' from Brooksville's Fire Station.
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    Hernando Today

    Tensions rife as city, county fire departments wrangle over service

    DAVE SHELTON dshelton@hernandotoday.com
    Published: Oct 8, 2002


    BROOKSVILLE - Tension continues between city and county fire departments trying to work out an agreement for helping each other.
    The city was stunned in July when the county announced it wouldn't renew the city's 34-year contract to serve Township 22, a strip of property that surrounds the city.

    The county also kept the $332,000 in taxes expected from Township 22 this year, which represented about a third of the city department's proposed 2003 budget.

    In response to complaints that the city may be forced to lay off firefighters, the county offered jobs to any Brooksville firefighters whose jobs were eliminated. It was an empty offer, city fathers said Monday, since the city has funded its department for the next 12 months and made it clear that it planned no layoffs. Several months ago, county fire chief Mike Nickerson advised the city that a formal contract between the city and county offering to assist each other had long ago expired. He suggested a new contract be ratified.
    In response, the city sent Nickerson a mutual aid contract that listed how much the city would charge every time any of its equipment or firefighters were asked to help the county. Nickerson responded with his own proposal that the city council took issue with. The proposal suggested that, in some cases, the county would automatically respond to a fire or accident without being requested by city firefighters.

    Vice Mayor Richard Lewis said statistics for the past year show that county assistance was asked for in one or two emergencies; the city had been asked to help the county department at least 30 times.
    Brooksville also owns the only aerial ladder truck in the county capable of reaching the roofs of tall buildings. "I would only agree to the standard mutual aid where we would call for them," said Mayor Ernie Wever. "Otherwise, they'll be showing up at every single call in the city."

    "This is a moral issue, not a statutory one," noted City Attorney David LaCroix. He suggested the council continue negotiating with the county, but that in the absence of an agreement, the city should propose that any calls for assistance by either the city or county be made retroactive to an eventual agreement. The council agreed unanimously, passing a resolution that, providing the county also agrees, either fire department will come to the other's aid when needed and that one governing board would bill the other at whatever rates are agreed to afterwards.

    In a related issue, the city council took issue with a letter sent to property owners in Township 22 by County Administrator Richard Radacky last month. The letter explains the changeover from city to county fire coverage and advises that the action wasn't based upon any complaints about the city's service. "All agree they have provided outstanding service in the past," Radacky wrote. "However, the Hernando County Fire Rescue Department has a great advantage over the Brooksville Fire Department in stations (nine compared to one) and personnel (106 compared to 16)."

    Wever received council approval to write a letter to the property owners reminding them that all of those county fire stations and personnel are not close to Brooksville.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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  20. #20
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Post The Latest From Zephyrhills

    Fire District Options Heat Up
    By JULIA FERRANTE jferrante@tampatrib.com
    Published: Oct 21, 2002


    ZEPHYRHILLS - When Pasco County takes over fire protection in two districts outside Zephyrhills and Dade City in October 2003, the cities stand to lose $400,000 each per year.
    That's about a quarter of the Zephyrhills Fire Department budget, which means the city will have to cut costs somewhere, City Manager Steve Spina said. He hopes it won't come to laying off personnel.

    The city council recently decided not to pursue legal action against the county for taking over the Greater Zephyrhills Fire District outside Zephyrhills and the Municipal Service Taxing Unit near Dade City and Zephyrhills.

    The council instead agreed to continue negotiations with Pasco County officials, who propose a plan to ease the transition. The county suggests paying the cities about $177,000 each for mutual aid and ``closest unit responding'' assistance during 2004 and about $88,000 for those services in 2005.

    The payments will help compensate for initial losses, but they will not eliminate the need to look at restructuring the city fire department, Spina said.

    The arrangement also would give Pasco more time to build up its resources, including new fire stations.

    ``I am trying to get this rolling, because this will be here before we know it,'' Spina said.

    ``If we're not prepared, it's no one's fault but our own.''

    Spina said he wants to avoid reducing the number of firefighters protecting the city and cut costs in other ways.

    Among his suggestions:

    * Combine fire and police dispatching as of Oct. 1.

    * Reassess the relationship with the independently run Zephyrhills Fire Rescue and stop paying it for backup coverage and training. Spina suggests still paying the squad for responding to emergencies.

    Currently, Fire Rescue workers are paid to staff the city fire stations when those firefighters are called to emergencies.

    The city has paid Fire Rescue workers more than $100,000 in the past five years for such coverage. The bulk of those payments has gone to two of the 16 squad members.

    ``They are not really volunteers,'' Spina said. ``They are auxiliaries.''

    * Inventory equipment and then catalog what belongs to the city and to Fire Rescue, which is considering offering its services to Pasco County. If Fire Rescue severs its relationship with the city, buy or replace equipment it owns.

    * Consider keeping one city fire station open 24 hours and the other from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

    * Consider selling a third station in Richland, which isn't staffed now, to the county. The profit could be used to offset losses and to purchase new equipment.

    City fire Chief Robert Hartwig was unavailable to comment for this story.


    Reporter Julia Ferrante can be reached at (813) 779-4613.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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