HARMONY FIRE STATION CLOSING

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spberube

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Jul 3, 2010, 4:07:06 PM7/3/10
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Hello Folks--

In my capacity as an HROA Director, I thought it important to bring everyone up to date on this important issue. Several have mentioned that this battle should enlist the HROA, the Developer and/or the CDD. All might be valid points but, after much discussion, several of us feel that this truly needs to be a resident-driven battle.
So, to that end, Carl Fsadni and I, working with development company assistance, have gotten a letter prepared detailing the need for every resident here to get involved. Thanks to Nancy Snyder and her church group, that letter should get posted on every door next week.
It will then be up to the residents to turn out and face the commissioners with their opinions and ultimately, their votes.
To those who think the fire fee is too expensive: If your tax bill is like mine, it dropped last year by about $1000---money in my pocket. Now, the new fee is going to be $153-$188 so you are still ahead. My opinion is that they can make the fee $250 which would solve nearly all the budget problem and I'd still be $750 ahead!!
As HARMONY residents, we are facing the largest service cuts--other county residents are not facing cuts like we are so they are battling for lowest fee possible and that's what we need to counteract.
I have also sent emails to every commissioner and all the responses I've received have been positive. Based on that, I think at least some commissioners truly "get it" and will come down on our side. In fact, one of them asked me to come to the meeting and present the numbers as I did in the paragraph above. If my travel schedule permits, I will certainly be there.
In closing, let me state that this IS vitally important to all of us. Just because you might sense that others are "handling it" you still need to be involved.

THANX!!

Steve Berube

Kala...@aol.com

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Jul 4, 2010, 1:09:15 AM7/4/10
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Aloha Steve: Thank you for the information. I have a few comments:
 
1. I am for keeping the fire station open OF COURSE.
2. I believe it is not just a resident problem but a community problem in Harmony and outside including the developer, businesses [golf course, restaurants] and schools to have the fire station stay open.  The developer and sales office will use the fire station as a "selling point" as they did the charter school and horses.
3. I too had a decrease in my overall taxes and I really don't mind spending a little bit more to keep the fire station; however, I have been unemployed for 20 months and have no more money coming in. What ever savings I realized in tax savings goes to keeping the roof over my head and food on the table. So if there are families out there in similar situations, any increase may be a burden.
4. I think this would be a great project for the high school students to support the fire station since it is their community and the school would benefit [the most] from the fire station in case of a fire.
5. I would appreciate a list of the commissioners and email addresses that you have. I'd be happy to send my email or letter in support of keeping the fire station. I am sorry but I am in the middle of packing my house up and I don't have time to look this information up.
6. I look forward to the letter being left at our homes. I will support the movement in any way I can between packing boxes and moving out of Harmony.
 
Thanks, Carla T. Poirier

GhostWriter

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Jul 4, 2010, 4:01:04 PM7/4/10
to HarmonyFL
In response to your several points:

1. & 2. The Fire Chief as well as our County Commissioners know how to
push our buttons. They have no intention of closing our or any local
fire station. The legal repercussions, as you know, cannot be measured
if a fire station closes and there is (God forbid) loss of life. We
still need to show as a community, whether it be by appearing in
person at the Osceola County Board of County Commissioners on July
12th and/or sending them e-mails letting them know we do not approve
of the county saving dollars at the expense of our family and
neighbor's lives. Out developer knows that this budget cut exercise
is local-yokel politics. The developer donated the land as an
investment for three schools (two existing and one future middle
school) as well as the existing fire station to help Harmony grow.
Everyone benefits by having Fire Station 54 across the street.

3. Everyone's property taxes dropped based on decreased appraisal
values of our properties in today’s bad economy. Not just here but in
most places across the US. Property insurance premiums have dropped on
my Harmony home based on the opening of our new fire station across
the street back in early May 2009. Unemployment has gone up again last
week and is over 12% in Osceola County. I am sure it is tough for you.
I have been there but it is not forever. The Osceola County budget for
the fire department probably does have waste in it and I am sure that
they can cut that fat without laying off one fire fighter, rescue, or
EMS person. Why does the Osceola fire department have its own
accounting/finance dept.??? I am not looking for an answer since there
are no good answers except for "waste". They should be leveraging the
county's accounting/finance department instead of building a fiefdom.

4. The timing is off for the high school kids to work on a project.
You probably don't have children or you would realize that "school's
out for summer" (as Alice Cooper reminds us).

5. As posted earlier, here are the Osceola County Commissioners e-mail
addresses:
Note: For the benefit of those reading this online, email addresses
should be written as follows (since Google will hide actual email
addresses to control spam): Replace "_AT_SIGN_" with "@".


**Fred Hawkins, Jr.
Chairman, Commissioner District 5
fhaw_AT_SIGN_osceola.org


Michael E. Harford
Commissioner District 1
michael.harford_AT_SIGN_osceola.org


John "Q" Quiñones
Commissioner District 2
johnq_AT_SIGN_osceola.org


*Brandon Arrington
Vice Chairman, Commissioner District 3
barr_AT_SIGN_osceola.org


Ken Smith
Commissioner District 4
ken.smith_AT_SIGN_osceola.org

6. My understanding from Steve is that the letter will be put behind
doors this week.

spberube

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Jul 4, 2010, 4:57:53 PM7/4/10
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Thanks for your viewpoints,Carla..

 

My thoughts on your points--

 

1) OF COURSE!!!  It only makes including financially...think about it...they spent 3 million to build the station-that's with the land & sitework being donated by the developer...a new station likely will cost that much all over again....the budget shortfall is about that much...so, if they CANNOT fund the budget shortage of about 3 million, WHERE will the 3 million for the new station come from??  Just doesn't make sense...

 

2) The point of the residents being on the frontline is that residents can VOTE---other entities such as developer don't vote; so that's why to the extent possible we're trying to make this resident driven...

 

3) Sorry to hear of your unemployment---you and millions of others are unfortunately victims of many forces beyond your control....my point on the taxes is that you were paying the fire fee before--it was just built-in to your tax bill and went somewhat unnoticed....now that it's broken out, it gets your attention....but, total tax bill will remain about the same as Fire just moves from a top of the page line to a bottom of the page line....as it appears right now, about $30 extra solves the problem...I'm not trying to minimize the value of $30, but that seems to be the cause of all this excitement...

 

4) Again, while it might be a great idea for high schoolers to take on, there's only 8 days between now and (possibly) a decision.....getting them mobilized might prove difficult....and, we're back to the voting thing....

 

5) emails are as follows: michael...@osceola.org, jo...@osceola.org, ba...@osceola.org, ken....@osceola.org, fh...@osceola.org

 

6) Sorry to hear that you're leaving. Hopefully, you will enjoy your future endeavors.

 

Steve


Kala...@aol.com

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Jul 5, 2010, 10:58:25 AM7/5/10
to harm...@googlegroups.com
Thank you for the email addresses. I will be sending out my emails. Mahalo, Carla

Kala...@aol.com

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Jul 5, 2010, 10:57:52 AM7/5/10
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Thank you for the email addresses. I will be sending my emails out to the commissioners. Mahalo, Carla
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