I have sent a version of this letter to each of the county commissioners and have yet to receive a response. I hope that the Chronicle can get some answers.
I have a few questions for the county commission about their recent approval of the taxes for fire service. I get they want to increase the staffing levels from two to three on each truck, that’s a safety issue. What I do not understand is the opening of the two new firehouses.
The station in Hernando was manned by volunteers and was not manned all the time; now we need it manned all the time. What has changed in that area?
The other fire station that has me asking many questions is the one they want to build on Cardinal in preparation for the increased call volume the parkway extension is going to bring. Really? Has a needs study been done to justify the expense of not just building the fire station but manning it 24/7/365?
As for the ALS program, don’t we already have an ALS program with Nature Coast EMS? Isn’t this a duplication of services? If Nature Coast is not doing their job, the commissioners should step up and tell them their performance is not being done satisfactorily and fix it or we will put the contract out to bid for another company/organization that can.
This brings up another sore point: We have trained a number of firefighters in a number of specialty areas that provides an increase in pay above their firefighter’s salary. I do not have a problem with them receiving the training and extra pay in specialty areas like rescue, hazardous materials, safety inspections. I have an issue with them sitting around making the extra money for tasks that are already being performed by another agency.
I don’t know who the county commissioners are listening to in the community other than the command staff of the fire department who are saying, “We want fire, fire, fire” at town hall meetings. I have attended many a town hall meeting throughout the county. The only people who bring up the topic are the commissioners, and in response, many people are OK with it but not at such an expensive cost.