In case you didn’t get a copy of the Jasper News, the heading “County, White Springs cant reach deal on fire assessment” , I’ve decided to place the content on the blog
Although it is not a “Fire Assessment” but rather the “Fire Protection and Related Emergency Services Agreement” whereby the Fire Department could earn up to $30,000 by paying up to $7,500 per quarter which would be prorated to reflect the total amount of calls answered, we all understand what was meant.. Also I was told verbally the county would assist somewhat in repairs, if an agreement was reached, but White Springs never asked in conjunction with the September 2018 Agreement presented to White Springs for its signature. But why Bother. The Hamilton County Board of Commissioners made it clear that Jennings signed their agreement but White Springs did not, supposedly trying to cover-up their lack of an actual Fire Department in an attempt to fleece the county for money the Town Fire Department have no way of earning. We already know why the Town is playing these games because we have no local certified firefighters and are using a roster with Century Ambulance employees as far away as Miami Ft. Lauderdale.
What is interesting is that it was stated by Jessie Box That Mayor Spencer Lofton presented the agreement with changes I had on the blog last week. As ridiculous as those changes were, I would believe Lofton drafted the changes himself.
With no fire calls responded to Lofton apparently said the town would like to provide stipends to its firefighters (where are they?) at the station for 10-12 hour shifts. In that case it would not be stipends, Lofty, but rather it would be similar to a paid fireman of just over $21 or 22 an hour as Hamilton County advertised. “If we are not allowed enough money to go ahead and provide that service, we cant work towards, which is my goal, not necessarily White Springs, but my goal for having an active fire department that is on the town books and then have volunteers in addition to that” Lofty said. (But who wants to work under Steve Stith? and where are these volunteers or paid people coming from).
Fire Coordinator Henry Land said he agrees with most of the changes to the contract except the quarterly rate increase because it is supposed to be a performance based contract.
“It’s hard to manage a fire department with $10,000 and the possibility of $20,000, Lofty said.
Chairman Josh Smith said the White Springs contract should reflect the county’s agreement with Jennings. “I am not going to treat White Springs any different than I do Jennings,” Smith said. “There is not a life in White Springs Florida that is anymore valuable than in Jennings Florida. Jennings accepted the contract as it was written and as is”
Smith said there was no way he would consider approving two contracts for the same service provided by the county.
Lofty suggested the contract as written may not be appropriate for White Springs or Jennings.
Commissioner Randy Ogburn said he is agreeable to most of the changes except the money increase.
“We built this contract as a performance-based contract.” Ogburn said. “Through the years, we have just given annually and now Mr. Land has asked the board several times to hold his department accountable” The board did not make a motion to approve the changes.
In my opinion, I would not be agreeable to most of the contract changes and did not. If Hamilton County is paying under the performance based contract they should have all information on all employees and volunteers as stipulated in the agreement, and the Fire Departments under Hamilton County should all train together so each knows how to use the others equipment. I am so pleased with Commissioner Smiths assessment. He is spot on.
Karin for the blog