No Bull, No Fluff, No Smudges
Your news source for
Flagler, Florida and Beyond

650 Names, or 13% of Flagler Beach Population, On Petition Opposing $600,000 Fire Truck

| August 15, 2014

The sort of 'quint' fire truck Flagler Beach is considering buying, to take advantage of its hybrid qualities as an aerial truck with numerous other functions, though this is a Pierce model, while the city is considering buying a  Rosenbauer model. (Lane Pearman)

The sort of ‘quint’ fire truck Flagler Beach is considering buying, to take advantage of its hybrid qualities as an aerial truck with numerous other functions, though this is a Pierce model, while the city is considering buying a Rosenbauer model. (Lane Pearman)

If authentic–and for now, nothing suggests they aren’t–the 650 names on a petition turned in to the Flagler Beach city administration this week may make it difficult for city commissioners to ignore its call: don’t buy the $600,000 fire truck currently in the proposed budget for next year.

“If you do not consider this action,” the petition organizers warned city commissioners and the mayor in an Aug. 13 memo, “we will have no other recourse but to put the issue on the ballot in March. If not as a binding vote (we are still considering the legalities of that), we will definitely put it on the ballot as a straw vote.”


If all the names on the petition are authentic, however, the petition itself would bear the weight of a straw vote.

[The petition document is published in full below, for public examination and verification. If discrepancies, inaccuracies or redundancies appear, please feel free to note them in the comment section.]

The petition drive was principally the work of four Flagler Beach residents who have opposed the purchase of the so-called “quint” fire truck: Rick Belhumeur, Jim Carney, Fran Moore and Art Woosley.

Woosley has “always had it in” for the Flagler Beach fire department, City Commissioner Jane Mealy claimed in a brief interview last week, as fellow-commissioner Steve Settle was conducting the second town hall meeting in support of the purchase, with firefighters at his side again to make the case for the quint. (Woosley did not return a call to hims home Friday.)

Whether Mealy’s claim is right or not,  Woosley’s effort behind the petition drive doesn’t diminish the petition’s results: 650 names, presumably adults, represents roughly one in six adult residents of the 5,000-population town. It also represents an overwhelming counterweight to the comparatively scarce crowds that turned up at two town hall meetings carefully choreographed by Settle, with fire department assists, to lend legitimacy to the truck purchase–or to the majority of commissioners currently in favor of the purchase.

The petition, as petitions often do, makes a few leading assertions. The first is that the city “has three fire trucks available to combat fires including a perfectly capable tower/aerial truck.”

The description of the truck as “perfectly capable” may stretch the truth somewhat: the city’s tower truck has been a recurring problem, requiring various repairs that a presentation by Fire Captain Bobby Pace said cost $5,000 this year, with “future concerns” that may cost upward of $3,000. The city has not used the truck at some serious fires, letting Palm Coast’s or Flagler County’s tower trucks do the aerial work instead. But the petition makes that very point: that in such emergencies, “the city has agreements with both Flagler County and Palm Coast to provide additional equipment and manpower in the event there is a fire in Flagler Beach.” And in fact on any fire of note in the city, the two agencies are there.

Finally, the petition notes that the city has a plan in place, “putting money aside to purchase a new ‘pumper’; fire engine a little over two years from now.'” Taking a page from Palm Coast’s financial planning, the city started saving $50,000 a year three years ago, to enable the fire department to buy a new fire truck. The fund is at $150,000. The new fiscal year would add $50,000 more–but still leave the city $400,000 short of the money necessary to buy a quint. Fore that, City Manager Bruce Campbell proposes to dip into the city’s infrastructure fund, fed by the city’s share of a half-cent sales tax in effect ion the county. The detail about the infrastructure fund does not appear on the petition.

“It is therefore my conclusion,” the petition reads, “that it is premature and unnecessary for the City of Flagler Beach to purchase a $600,000 aerial fire truck, or any fire truck, during the 2014-15 fiscal year.”

Pace first requested the quint truck at a commission strategy session in May, under the guise of a request of new “fire safety equipment.” The request took Commission Chairman Kim Carney by surprise. She has opposed the truck, considering it an unnecessary expense at the moment, and disputing the way the administration proposes to pay for it: she disagrees with taking money out of the infrastructure tax fund which serves numerous needs in the city, has just $1.2 million, and is not being replenished as much as it was in the past since the county lessened the amount of money it is distributing to cities out of the sales tax.

Click On:


Since then, Settle has turned lobbying for the quint into a personal issue, scheduling two town meetings that featured fire department personnel and Campbell, and using his city-issued email account to send out an email to residents arguing for the truck. The matter has created tensions: in one commission meeting, Belhumeur was merely speaking about the truck proposal during his allotted public-comment period when Settle dressed him down, inappropriately in Belhumeur’s and other city commissioners’ eyes, as Settle went as far as challenging Belhumeur’s right to speak on the issue.

The two men briefly spoke after the town hall meeting last week, but inconclusively. “As far as us having made up,” Belhumeur said, “I don’t think so. He still said my public comments were inappropriate and has not apologized for trying to belittle me at a public forum.”

Later this month, Carney, the commission chairman, is preparing an extensive presentation on the truck. She has vowed not to vote for the budget should the proposed truck purchase not be removed.

Woosley, who can be irascible and unpredictable, briefly put the credibility of the petition in question when he first turned in it earlier this week: Penny Overstreet, the city clerk, signed receipt of the petition, but Woosley then refused to let the city keep a copy, or let Overstreet copy or scan the document. “Petition signatures may be reviewed upon request, but may not be removed or copied.”

The prohibition applied even though, right after the transaction at the city, Woosley and the three other signatories to the petition posed outside City Hall for an image of them holding a banner that read, “600 SAY NO TO $600,000.00.”

Asked why the petitions were not left at the city for public inspection and copying, Belhumeur the same day wrote in an email on Thursday: “I have been assured that [Woosley] will meet me at City Hall this afternoon and allow Penny to make copies of all the petition pages. I apologize for the misunderstanding. My understanding was that he was going to keep the originals but was unaware that he wasn’t going to allow copies to be made.”

The petitions were turned in that day, to Bob Smith, city engineer and acting city manager, as the city manager and the city clerk were at a conference of the League of Cities, and the assistant city clerk was off. Smith made the petitions available to FlaglerLive within 10 minutes of a request. The full set appears below.

Download Full Set: Opposition Petition to the Quint Fire Truck, Flagler Beach, 2014

Print Friendly

30 Responses for “650 Names, or 13% of Flagler Beach Population, On Petition Opposing $600,000 Fire Truck”

  1. Note to the 13% of Flagler Beach residents who are too cheep to pay for their own fire protection, maybe we should take up a petition in Palm Coast to stop giving you freeloaders our mutual aid that our taxes pay for. How’s that sound?

    • Rick Belhumeur says:

      Michael, Palm Coast has over 77,000 people spread out over 50 square miles. Flagler Beach has 4,500 people spread out over 4 square miles. Flagler Beach has a Fire Department that costs the city over 11% of the entire city budget. The city pays even more than that for it’s Police protection. Our Fire department responds to fires in Palm Coast and the unincorporated county as part of the mutual aid agreement. Who do you think pays for that? Certainly not the freeloaders from Palm Coast that use our beach.

  2. My voice says:

    Has Whoosley been to any of the meetings about the truck? The puppeteer does not show his face. Why is he the name given when it’s negative towards the fire dept? Kind of old?

  3. confidential says:

    Kudos to those FB taxpayers for getting involved.
    We should have done the same in Palm Coast and their approval for the city hall after we voted it NO in the referendum.

  4. Rick Belhumeur says:

    Tower 11, the city’s current aerial, is a “perfectly capable”, certified fire truck that is used when/as needed. All of the Flagler Beach paid firefighters, some of the volunteers, and the county Firefighter/ Paramedics stationed at Flagler Beach are trained to use it. I saw it out last night in the rain turning left to go south on Old Kings Road.

  5. bychoice says:

    Makes you wonder who runs the City?

  6. Local says:

    What a joke!! Signatures from Sugarmill Plantation, Beverly Beach, Painters Hill? Some of those addresses don’t even exist. Plus 4-5 names from the same address? What kind of a family actually has that many adult residents living together? Might as well start passing this thing around Palm Coast and Bunnell. While you’re at it might as well pass it around other counties too! In fact, I call dibs to try getting signatures from St Augustine residents while I’m there this weekend.

    • THE VOICE OF REASON says:

      Local:

      Last I checked, there were five adults living at 909 S. Central in Flagler Beach, and five more living at 911 S. Central.

  7. My voice says:

    Did everyone speak up when we bought our last garbage truck? Or all the police trucks? I would like to hear why Mr Whoosley is against everything the fire dept does.

  8. Audited says:

    Rick, what makes you qualified to deem it perfectly capable? The fire dept says they need a new truck. I kinda believe them over you.

    • Rick Belhumeur says:

      I was a heavy equipment mechanic for over 25 years and worked on cranes, locomotives, bulldozers, garbage trucks and yes, fire trucks. I earned ASE truck certifications for Diesel Engines, Engine Performance, Drive Train, Brakes, Suspension & Steering and Preventive Maintenance & Inspection. I kept equipment that was older than Tower 11 running 24 hours a day /365 days a year and kept them certified. That makes me more qualified than most, certainly more qualified than Steve Settle. You don’t need any qualifications to understand that Tower 11 is a certified fire apparatus that is on active status. If it were not perfectly capable, it would not pass the certification process.

  9. Truth Seeker says:

    Seems crazy that so many people are involved when it comes to how “their money” is spent yet the article about their dishonest “Fire Captain” posted two days ago only has 2 comments … unless more are being held back.

    When is someone going to hold “Captain Pace” to a higher standard? Again, it would have been nice if he had been at the town hall meeting playing puppet for Campbell and Settle, but than again the previous article shows believing anything he says is foolish.

  10. Ron Boyce says:

    Florida Fire Service here in the North East can not control or extinguish structural fires with undermanned units. That goes for Pam Coast, Flagler County and Flagler Beach. Why spend 600 K on an aerial ladder? I would budget for additional firefighters to man an engine company before wasting money on an aerial ladder. In addition a tower ladder would work much better. Take a look at the structures that you will be dealing with first prior to purchasing any piece of equipment.

    Why rush into purchasing a new quint? If you can not get water on the fire you have already lost the battle. There has been three structural fires in Flagler county. All those dwellings where a complete loss. Increase your manpower to four fighters on each engine company now!

  11. don't buy from bailed out says:

    M Randazzo, how nice to hear for another unformed citizen. The county taxes all citizens FB and PC also tax their citizens. Our strength in fire protection comes from all three being ready to serve AS A TEAM.

    FBFD DOES RESPOND TO PC WHEN EVER REQUESTED.

    Just a thought – if you don’t have a nick name – Try this one – ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL

  12. Jim Carney says:

    FIRST TO LOCAL SAYS – if you notice, each page is numbered in the top right hand corner.

    Simply supply the page number on which you found these “out of town signatures” and if confirmed – I will look into each one personally and post my findings on FL. HOWEVER IF YOU DO NOT PROVIDE PAGE NUMBERS –

    I will also post on FL you have no credibility in the future.

    To truth seeker – Our same group has been on this for 12+ months, have patience – the truck is at the top of the list . But the wheels of justice turn slowly -this ain,t over.

    • Off Duty says:

      So Commissioner Carney who stated publicly is against the fire department purchase supports her husband to create a petition and rally it around the city? Sounds like the Florida Commission of Ethics will be notified this week!

  13. Jim Carney says:

    Ron Boyce – Thank you – 2 FF on a Quint translates to a (5 function ) fire apparatus with 2 FF? Too much to say all here but will present multiple examples where the quint was an A or B (no C D AND E ) Due to lack of STAFFING. Smaller crews sustain more injuries,FACT. They are ~26% efficient vs. crews of 4/5 or more on Quints and cost more in sick leave and thus medical expenses,FACT Quint maintenance is more, FACT; thus, down time is more.

    Keep this in the back of your mind -In my searches I found this article – A QUINT IS A FIRE APPARATUS DESIGNED BY A CITY MANAGER THAT IS A JACK OF ALL TRADES AND A MASTER OF NONE.

    All said, we do need new equipment, but not right now. Refurbish our older stuff to total functionality. Want real protection ? Go to 10 FULL TIME FF AND HIGHER PAY FOR THOSE WHO CURRENTLY RISK THEIR LIVES. “FF put out fires – not fire trucks” ( also from my research)

    .

  14. Am I wrong or is that ladder truck 28 years old? If your life depended on it would you go up in a ladder truck over a fire that was 28 years old? Come on people you are being foolish if you succumb to 650 people. I don’t even know if they are all valid signatures but you are asking these guys to risk their lives on really old equipment.

    It angers me when a small minority bullys the rest of the people over something that is not political at all. Like someone said earlier did you question the last dump truck or police car or garbage truck bought by the town? These misguided people are being penny wise and pound foolish. Why is the fire service the first people to get cut or cut back yet the first people you call when you need help?

    Get the truck. If your life depended on it (and it does) you would want the best. Just do it.

    • Rick Belhumeur says:

      You bet, I would climb on a ladder that was 50 years old if someone’s life depended on it. Police cars are on the road at least 8 hours a day / 5 days a week. Garbage trucks are used even more and accumulate high mileage traveling to the Volusia County Landfill daily. Tower 11 goes on a call at an average of twice a month and has put water on a fire less that once a year. Let the taxpayers that pay the bills in this city decide if they want to replace something that seldom gets used. 650 people is a significantly large number considering that an average of 800 people vote in this town. As far as your small minority… time will tell.

  15. lou says:

    people—-don’t let all of the anti fire truck group fool you! this isn’t about the quint or any other fire truck, big or small, that the dept needs to purchase. this is about the fire department. the petition group has always been about ELIMINATING the fire department. the bottom line, behind the scene, truth is this: if the city purchases ANY fire truck now, the effort to eliminate the fire department will be near impossible. if the city waits a couple years, they have more time to create a case for elimination. it is not the fire truck they are really against, it’s the whole fire department!!! just buy the darn thing!

    • Rick Belhumeur says:

      For me, this is not about getting rid of the fire department… it is about reckless spending. A lot has changed since this time last year. After considering what help(or lack of it) the county was offering for firefighting services in Flagler Beach, the city declared themselves fiercely independent and committed to funding the Fire Department totally on their own. After seeing the options myself, I don’t disagree with that. What I do disagree with is that now, barely a year later the city wants to buy a truck that costs twice as much as anything they’ve bought before. Bruce Campbell says that “if you’re going to be in the firefighting business… you have to pay for it”. The projected budget proposes spending 1.7 million dollars just for equipment in the next five years. If you add on the $500,000 a year operating budget you’re up to 4.2 million dollars. That’s an average of $840,000 a year which is over $250,000 more than they’ve spent in the past. I don’t blame anyone in the fire department for wanting new equipment but the fire department has survived this long because they have been reasonable with their requests and have gotten a lot of equipment second hand. My belief is that they should continue to do so and not deplete all of our infrastructure reserves just for firefighting equipment.

  16. Marley says:

    at least they didn’t use rolling paper for the petition.

  17. ogrethetop says:

    just wait till that list is crossed referenced to political donations and the get backs start. Also thanks for supporting big brother

  18. Neal Ecker says:

    Just a question…If 13% of the Flagler Beach population supposedly signed this “petition”, doesn’t that mean that 87% of them DID NOT?

  19. Rick Belhumeur says:

    Learn what the City of Flagler Beach has conveniently not told the residents and taxpayers about this purchase at nofiretruck.com

  20. tymothye says:

    so i guess this means the other 87% wants the truck?

Leave a Reply

Read FlaglerLive's Comment Policy | Subscribe to the Comment Feed rss flaglerlive comment feed rss

More stories on FlaglerLive
Loading

ADVERTISEMENTS

support flaglerlive palm coast flagler county news pierre tristam
news service of florida

Subscribe to FlaglerLive

Get immediate notification of new stories.

Advertisement
Log in
| FlaglerLive, P.O. Box 354263, Palm Coast, FL 32135-4263 | 386/586-0257

FlaglerLive.com