In the interim, we know our so called Fire Department under Chief Steve Stith will make no more funds than that which is given by the County of $10,000 annually or $2,500 a quarter. Stith can make all the excuses he wants about how the old department of firefighters will not come back to our Department because he and Andrew Greene are in charge but the truth of the matter is, Stith needs to resign and Tebo needs to apologize to Kevin Pittman and I stated so last night.
Thomas Brazil, Sr. gave a heart warming and frightening decertation as to why we no longer have a fire department and how Chief Stith has continually lied by placing names on the roster, which do not and will not respond to fires in White Springs. I cannot understand why the other council members cannot understand that it is because of Manager Stacy Tebo’s elimination of the best Chief and Fire Department White Springs has ever had has caused us to be without firefighting protection for at least 18 months. But they do not.
Stacy Tebo of course reads all of the paragraphs pertaining to the Fire Department and since the Fire Department is silent as to who is in charge of the Chief as compared to the Police Department Chief being the responsibility to hire and fire by the Council, she takes over full supervision.
Yet Mayor Helen Miller stated that the Council is responsible for providing a Fire Department or hiring an independent fire department. Doesn’t Tebo realize that by not having a viable fire department one that actually goes out and fights fires, she is lacking as a supervisor because she is not sticking to the policy provided by the Councilo to provide fire protection to the community. Why do we have to have a flunky like Steve Stith and his buddy Andrew Greene who is still being paid as a firefighter when he never qualified. As Mr. Brazil pointed out, the Town did not take seriously the vote of no confidence for Andrew Greene which included factual information about his personal deficits, but the Council and especially I remember Walter McKenzie wishing to not believe the Firefighters and saying we needed Andrew Greene’s side.
What is wrong with these councilors, other than our Mayor who understood perfectly how important it is to have an actual fire department to protect our community, our individual properties. It is time that councilors like Walter McKenzie started understanding what we do not have and that the supervision that Stacy Tebo provides is lacking and sucks and therefore the Council must take over the Fire Department since the information is silent and Stacy Tebo is not doing her job. Get rid of Stith and Greene and our firefighters and hopefully Chief Pittman will come back.
I ask myself, how does one fight these idiots who can’t see what the lack of Firefighters is doing to our Town. We no longer feel secure and especially those citizens who cannot afford insurance because of its expense with Windstorm and Hurricane. Tebo needs to leave White Springs because it is due to her mismanagement and listening to people like Rhett Bullard and Spencer Lofton that we are in the poor financial position we are in. You may have tried to put Mayor Miller down but instead you have ruined White Springs and Mayor Miller was the only person who realized this along with the Citizens of White Springs. Get a grip councilors and do your job for the people.
Apparently Scott Gay does not realize that the Fire Emergency SUV was secured primarily for Andrew Greene’s use for over two years before he took his job with Rural Water. Scott said we don’t need an SUV and volunteers could use their own vehicles and that the SUV could be eliminated and the money used for the fire engine. Obviously he was never told that the SUV was Andrew Greene’s payment for getting rid of the sexual paraphanalia which Townsend hid in the Wastewater Treatment Plant so that he would not be criminally charged. Nice and our Illustrious Town Manager has done nothing for the two years Greene had the vehicle to fix the problem and be fair to all employees not just to someone special.
When the USDA required a decision by Today, Wednesday, Councilman Walter McKenzie complained that the council was required to make a decision on $180,000 the day before without having appropriate notice. Manager Tebo stated the council was notified on May 3rd and an e-mail was provided on Friday with the council packet. Tebo said if the Council doesn’t want to apply for the grant, don’t approve it.
Mayor Helen Miller is extremely concerned about the state of our Finances and asked Stith whether he was to list the $10,000 from the County as his financial base to comply with the loan requirements and he stated yes.
Councilman McKenzie was perplexed. He felt we should assist our Fire Department with a new Fire Engine but also had concern about the state of our financial affairs and the fact that the Fire Department was only guaranteed $10,000 per the contract unless calls were answered.
Tebo was asked whether we could get a fire engine at a lower price and we were told that we would be approved for 75% and that is how we got the Law Enforcement vehicle.
Currently Steve Stith stated that he has paid Fire Personnel to be at the Station on weekends $100 a day and he was told he did this because he realized he does not have a fire department and it would come into question.
Earlier repairs to the Fire Engine were $9,416 and by securing a new fire engine, it would provide us additional points so that we could go from a class 5 to a class 4 Protection Class with the ISO. Now although councilors like McKenzie are giving Chief Stith the credit for the Class 5 rating, it was because of Chief Kevin Pittman that we received the Class 5 rating. Remember Pittman was eliminated as chief because he did not retain his instructor’s license even though he trained our firefighters and had an instructor sign off…but Stith does not have a license as an instructor but that’s okay with Tebo.
What was funny was that Steve Stith mentioned that it took 15 minutes to get the pumper working on the old 1983 Fire Engine. At that time Anita Rivers had texted one of the firemen and was told that if it was done right by placing air in it it could be operated in three minutes. Apparently Stith does not know how to operate his fire equipment and why should he; he has no intention of fighting a fire.
Tebo stated that the Fire Department Expense for the Loan Payment on the Windsor truck is $5,000 with repairs amounting to $12,000 to $15,500. The Brush Truck is 10 years old with 16,000 miles
The amount requested for the USDA Grant for the Fire Engine is $150,000 and they would receive a low interest loan at 4.25% which may not be raised but if interest rates go lower, the interest rate would be reduced. The Fire Engine cost is $330,000 with $10,000 paid in Legal expenses. That means we would have a Loan payment of $180,000 for 15 years at 4.25% interest at a loan amount payable of $16,476 annually.
If we lowered the cost of the new fire engine so that our payments were reduced from $16,476 our loan amount for 15 years would be $11,899 for $130,000; for $140,000 it would be $12,815; for $150,000 it would be $13,730.
The Motion and second to secure the new Fire Engine was passed by a four to one vote, with Mayor Miller not approving the motion due to the financial state of our Town. As was stated, we have another loan on a new Pickup Truck for Public Works and our Town cannot carry all of these loans. Of course, this is another Stacy Tebo Bad decision…the Pickup Truck. Many towns purchased used vehicles or go to bidding places like auctions to secure vehicles…but not our town, we need everything new and for what?
Karin for the blog
The 2018 Florida Statutes