Funding Increase Proposal
On Tuesday July 28th, the Hernando County Board of County Commissioners will be taking up a recommendation to reinstate the EMS MSTU rate of 10 years ago in an effort to adequately fund Hernando County Fire Rescue. This reinstatement is necessary to maintain services as they are today. Repeated reductions since 2006 has promted this action to occur otherwise there will be a reduction in public safety staffing and response capabilities. Please find the attached question and answer document if you have any questions about what the EMS MSTU covers. Your support to approve the rate reinstatement is greatly appreciated!!
Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
Millage Increase Q & A
Q. What do EMS funds pay for?
A. The Hernando
County Fire Rescue (HCFR) EMS Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU) funds are
used to pay approximately 39% of the EMS Division budget.
Q. What is a Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU)?
A. MSTUs create special taxing districts for funding community-initiated
improvements or services. These assessments are calculated on taxable property
Q. Doesn't the EMS transport fee cover the EMS budget?
A. The largest portion (59%) of the EMS budget is transport
fees. However, federal and state mandated maximum transport fees make it
impossible to fund the entire EMS budget.
Q. What is a Municipal Service Benefiting Unit (MSBU)?
A. MSBUs are non-ad valorem assessments that provide
funding for an essential improvement in a specific geographic area. A MSBU consists of a group of properties that
share in the benefit and cost of the improvement. Examples include: street lighting, limerock
road paving, Hernando Beach boat lift, subdivision common ground maintenance,
hydrant maintenance, solid waste, fire dept., etc.
Q. Why doesn't the Fire Municipal Service Benefit Unit
(MSBU) fund EMS?
A. A long standing
Florida Supreme Court ruling prevents MSBUs from funding EMS services.
Q. Why is there a need to increase EMS funds?
A. There has been no increase in EMS MSTU rates since
2006. In fact, they have been reduced several
times. There are inflationary increases
in all aspects of EMS delivery, including emergency medical equipment and
supplies, fleet replacement, fleet maintenance, County government cost
allocation, state mandated retirement increases, employee healthcare cost
increases and previously misaligned salaries of employees created by the merger
with Spring Hill Fire Rescue. The County
also hired a consultant to establish fair market value salary scales for all
County employees and then negotiated with the respective unions for the
implementation of the study.
Q. What is the historical trend of this rate?
A. The rate requested is the same rate that was in effect
in 2006, which has since been lowered multiple times. This reduction, along with lowering property
values and increased actual costs due to inflation, created the need to return
to the 2006 minimum rate.
Q. What other revenue options exist?
A. The general fund millage rate could be raised to provide
the funding; however, as both the general fund and EMS MSTU are ad valorem
based, the resulting tax would be exactly the same.
Q. What will happen if this increase is denied?
A. The failure to act
would require HCFR to provide the Board of County Commissioners service
reduction options in order to balance the budget. This means emergency response
staffing and ambulance services would be reduced. The remaining ambulances will
have a significantly increased call load, resulting in an increase in response
times (patient wait times) for emergency care.
EMS Millage Increase Meeting
July 28th during the BOCC meeting, Chief Hechler will be requesting an increase to our EMS millage rate. This increase is necessary to eliminate the deficit spending we currently hold as a result of 7 years without an increase and many years of decreases. It is extremely important we attend this meeting and encourage our friends, family, neighbors and any other supporter to attend and speak in favor of this increase. Without this increase we will not be able to provide the high quality service we have today. The meeting begins at 0900 hours and a specific time for this item is still to be determined. Once available we will make a notification.
Frequently we get the opportunity to meet future firefighters in our everyday duties. This young man has taken to the next level! Good Luck Deuce!!
During our last meeting 2 committees were established and need participants. Both committees will consist of a 5 member panel and their appointments with term lengths will be established during our April membership meeting. The committee's are:
Budget Committee - chairman will be the sitting Treasurer, currently Dave Hramika and shall not consist of any other current E-Board members.
Union Hall Committee - chairman will be Secretary Nick Brandt
Please contact Secretary Brandt at email@example.com if interested in being a member of either committee or have any questions. All positions will be filled at the April 23rd meeting.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Hernando County BOCC for their unanimous approval of our updated Collective Bargaining Agreement this past Tuesday. This is a huge step forward in a new direction for our Union and Fire Department and we are extremely excited to be part of it!!
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