Most Volunteer Fire Departments have been rated a protection class 9 – This class will increase your insurance substantially from the PC 7 we now have


To receive a Public Protection Classification (PPC™) of Class 9, a community must first have the minimum facilities and practices needed to get a PPC rating. That includes at least one piece of apparatus with a permanently mounted pump. The pump needs a rated capacity of 250 gpm or more at 150 psi and at least a 200-gallon water tank. The fire department must deliver a minimum of 500 gallons of water to all reported first-alarm structure fires. The community must also earn a score of at least 100 credit points on the following items from the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS):

Records must indicate the date, time, and location of fires; the number of responding members; the number of training sessions; and the maintenance of apparatus and equipment. Each community must also keep an up-to-date roster of fire department members. 10 points prorated
The community must also provide the following equipment, in accordance with the general criteria of NFPA 1901:
400 feet of 1.5”, 1.75”, or 2” hose 16 points
2 handline nozzles, 95 gpm minimum 16 points
2 portable fire extinguishers suitable for use on Class A, B, and C fires. Minimum sizes should be 80-BC rating in a dry chemical extiguisher and a 2.5-gallon water extinguisher. 4 points
1 extension ground ladder 24-foot or longer 14 points
1 straight ladder (12-foot) with roof hooks 8 points
4 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) 16 points
1 spare SCBA cylinder for each SCBA carried (up to 4) 4 points
1 pick-head axe and 1 flat-head axe 2 points
2 portable hand lights 4 points
1 pike pole or plaster hook 2 points
1 forcible-entry tool 2 points
1 two-way radio assigned to the apparatus 16 points

The criteria, specifications, and tools listed above are important in establishing Class 9 protection. However, the specific size and nomenclature of each individual subitem may be subject to local conditions in the graded community. ISO may credit equipment having other names or different dimensions than indicated in the apparatus specifications.

For more information . . .

For those of you who are concerned about the upcoming ISO rating, I pulled some information off their site.

The last bits of information were submitted to the Insurance Service Office relative to our Fire Suppression Rating Schedule.  We are a protection Class 7 but if the Insurance Service Office does not give us a passing grade we could be a protection class 9 or a 10.

To receive a Public Protection Classification (PPC™) of Class 8 or better, a community must first have the minimum facilities and practices needed for a PPC rating and must earn a score of at least 20 points when evaluated according to the criteria in the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). The community must also have these additional minimum facilities:

  • There must be a minimum water supply of 250 gpm for a 2-hour duration for fire protection in the area.If the fire department delivers the 250 gpm through tanker shuttle, large-diameter hose, or other alternative water supply, the water must be available within 5 minutes of the arrival of the first-due engine, and the department must maintain the flow, without interruption, for the 2-hour duration.
  • The fire department must have one suitably equipped engine that responds to all first alarm structural fires. Pump capacity must be at least 750 gpm at 150 psi. The engine must have a water tank in accordance with the general criteria of NFPA 1901, Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus“pumper Fire Apparatus.”

Items Considered in the FSRS

The Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) measures the major elements of a community’s fire protection system and develops a numerical grading called a Public Protection Classification (PPC™). Here’s an outline of the items considered in the FSRS and the weight of each item used in calculating a PPC rating.

Emergency communications
Emergency reporting: ISO will credit basic 9-1-1 or Enhanced 9-1-1. Other items evaluated include E9-1-1 wireless, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and computer-aided dispatch (CAD). 3 points
Telecommunicators: ISO credits the performance of the telecommunicators in accordance with the general criteria of NFPA 1221, Standard for the Installation, Maintenance, and Use of Emergency Services Communications Systems. We also credit emergency dispatch protocols and the telecommunicators’ training and certification programs. 4 points
Dispatch circuits: ISO credits the number and type of dispatch circuits in accordance with the general criteria in NFPA 1221. 3 points
Emergency communications total: 10 points
Fire department
Engine companies: ISO compares the number of in-service pumpers and the equipment carried with the number of needed pumpers and the equipment identified in the FSRS. The number of needed engines depends on the basic fire flow, the size of the area served, and the method of operation. 6 points
Reserve pumpers: ISO evaluates the number of reserve pumpers and their pump capacity; other factors include hose and equipment carried. 0.5 points
Pump capacity: ISO compares the pump capacity of the in-service and reserve pumpers (and pumps on other apparatus) with the basic fire flow. ISO considers a maximum basic fire flow of 3,500 gpm. 3 points
Ladder/service companies: Communities use ladders, tools, and equipment normally carried on ladder trucks for ladder operations, as well as for forcible entry, utility shut-off, ventilation, salvage, overhaul, and lighting. The number and type of apparatus depend on the height of the buildings, needed fire flow, and size of the area served. 4 points
Reserve ladder/service trucks: ISO evaluates the number of reserve ladder/service trucks and the equipment they carry. 0.5 points
Deployment analysis: ISO credits the percentage of the community within specified response distances of pumpers (1.5 miles) and ladder/service apparatus (2.5 miles). As an alternative, a fire protection area may use the results of a systemic performance evaluation. That type of evaluation analyzes CAD history to demonstrate that, with its current deployment of companies, the fire department meets the time constraints for initial arriving engine and initial full-alarm assignment. The timing is in accordance with the general criteria in NFPA 1710, Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments. 10 points

Personnel: ISO credits the personnel available to respond to first alarms for structure fires. For personnel not normally in the fire station (on-call and off-duty members), ISO reduces credit for the responding members to reflect the time needed for notification, travel, and assembly on the fireground. ISO then applies an upper limit for the credit for personnel because it is impractical for a very large number of personnel to operate a piece of apparatus.

15 points
Training: Trained personnel are vital to a competent fire suppression force. ISO evaluates training facilities and their use; company training at fire stations; training and certification of fire officers; driver/operator, hazardous materials, and recruit training; and building familiarization and preincident planning inspections. 9 points
Operational considerations: ISO credits the standard operating procedures for structure firefighting and the establishment of an incident management system. 2 points
Fire department total: 50 points
Water supply
Supply system: ISO compares the available water supply at representative community locations with the needed fire flows for those locations. The supply works, water main capacity, or fire hydrant distribution may limit the available supply. 30 points
Hydrant size, type, and installation: ISO evaluates the design and installation of fire hydrants. 3 points
Inspection and fire flow testing of hydrants: ISO evaluates the frequency and completeness of fire hydrant inspections and the flow-testing program, which can include the use of calibrated hydraulic molding. ISO also includes credit for hydrant marking. 7 points
Water supply total: 40 points
Community risk reduction
Fire prevention code adoption and enforcement: This section assesses the Fire Prevention Code adoption and enforcement capabilities of a community. Items evaluated include adoption and maintenance of one of the model codes; number and qualifications of fire prevention personnel, including certification and continuing education; and fire prevention programs, such as plan review, certificate of occupancy inspections, quality control, code compliance, inspection of private fire protection equipment, fire prevention ordinances, and coordination with fire department training and preincident planning activities. 2.2 points
Public fire safety education: ISO evaluates the existence of a fire safety education program; the qualifications, training, and certifications of public fire safety educators; and the activities of the various public fire safety education programs, such as residential fire safety programs, fire safety education in schools, juvenile firesetter education programs, and fire safety education in occupancies with large loss potential or hazardous conditions. 2.2 points
Fire investigation: This section examines the fire investigation activities of a community and is based on establishing authority to conduct and enforce fire investigations, the number and qualifications of fire investigators, the activities of the fire investigation staff, and the use of the National Fire Incident Reporting System. 1.1 points
Community risk reduction total: 5.5 points
Survey total: 105.5 points


Divergence: Even the best fire department will be less than fully effective if it has an inadequate water supply. Similarly, even a superior water supply will be less than fully effective if the fire department lacks the equipment, personnel, or operational considerations to use the water. If the relative scores for fire department and water supply are different, ISO adjusts the total score downward to reflect the limiting effect of the less adequate item on the better one.

For more information . . .
. . . on any topic related to the Public Protection Classification (PPC) program or the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule, Contact ISO Mitigation, or call the ISO mitigation specialists at 1-800-444-4554.




TWO THINGS WS NEEDS: (1) Lower Sewer and Water Bills (2) A Paid Fire Department and Rescue Service

Joe’s previous speech to the Hamilton County Development Authority addressed the High Water and Sewer Rate which has caused many citizens who because of the inability to pay bills on a tight budget to shut off their water.  Some are forced to steal water from others in order to survive.


The Town advised in an April meeting that the high sewer rate allowed for the necessary seed money required in the General revenue account in order to facilitate the collateral on a $3 Million revolving loan from the State.


Joe asked that the HCDA not provide the Grant if it supports the political structure over the citizens’ needs. “Either deny the grant to the Town of White Springs or approve the $250,000 grant on the basis that the Town lowers its sewer and water rate for the Citizens of White Springs”, Joe stated.   As stated this high rate has affected our local businesses and we will never be able to have future businesses start with the high cost of the White Springs Economy.


There is, however, another problem far more pressing.   And that is the White Springs Fire Department. We now have four (4) certified firefighters and two (2) in class.  They will be certified in August.


The Fire Department was ignored by the Town after former manager Townsend fired Chief Peeler.  The town spent some $7,000 in legal fees so they would not have to give Peeler a public meeting.  The $10,000 in volunteer money went to the Town because the town ran out of money.  Since that time there has been very little the Town has done to help the Fire Department until the ISO intervened.


Although the majority of the ISO requirements have been met by the extension deadline of June 14, 2014, we have not yet received approval by the ISO.   Unlike other fire departments we do not have a central location for all of our fire equipment and in which the building is of masonry non-combustible material. If our ISO classification changes from a 7-8 to a class 9 or 10, the Citizens who insure their homes will have another dilemma.  Some insurers will cancel or non-renew the insurance or some insurers may increase their insurance premiums dependent upon the home valuation by $100-$200 a month. This means more citizens may not afford insurance causing a further dilemma.


Our police department is fully funded (with the Sheriff’s department responding approximately 73% of the time per a citizen’s investigation) but our Fire Department is based upon the assistance of volunteers with mainly Andrew Greene, also an EMT, handling the first responder calls and the majority of Chief Stith’s operations when he is out of town.


Our Town approved volunteer pay of only $10 per call for volunteers up to $50 a month.  That means, possibly if the firemen have more than five calls, and do not receive $10 per call, they may not show up. We need more volunteers but we need a strong professional Fire Chief and an assistant Fire Chief with respective possible salaries of $35,000 and $25,000 per year.


If we need a grant for anything it would be to create jobs in White Springs and Southern Hamilton County.  With a Professional Fire Department, more jobs could be created and at some point the Fire Department could sustain itself as long as the Town could not remove such money as is allocated to the White Springs Fire Department to sustain its professional capacity and to serve the citizens. In time, if a grant was provided to assist in the employment of a professional fire department whether by assisting in job creation, job training or other areas such as a building (like conversion of the old Dollar General store so all fire trucks could be in one place.  Building listed for $380,000 but maybe could be secured for $350,000 for a fire department and utilize a loan as well for improvements).


The U.S. Fire Administration through FEMA published Funding Alternatives for Emergency Medical and Fire Service, as follows: “Local Revenue and Funding Alternatives:’ ‘The funding alternatives available at the local level vary widely, though the ability of the EMS administrator or fire chief to influence changes in these sources will vary considerably based on local preferences and State and local laws. Many enterprising departments have found new revenue streams through the sale of services.”


We believe that after a three year period, the professional fire department should have sufficient funding to be a good source of revenue, a means of employing professionals and perhaps obtaining an ambulatory service which would help the Town of White Springs as well as job opportunities for those in Southern Hamilton County.   “ The discussion of local revenue sources includes

  • Taxes:These include taxes on real property, personal income, and sales transactions. Other taxes include real estate-transfer taxes and utility-user taxes. New taxes can go into a city’s general fund to be divided up by elected officials or can be earmarked specifically for EMS and fire services.”

In the Town of White Springs there are approximately 200 vacant unimproved lots.  Current taxes are $10.00 or less for the absent landowners’.  It is suggested that the town charge a flat $125.00 per lot, including vacant lots.  Based upon 477 total lots in White Springs, $59,625.00 in additional revenue could be produced to fund the Fire Department in the General Fund. This charge may force absent landowners’ to sell their properties to someone who will improve the land and lots, thereby creating additional jobs.


A grant for a professional fire department has much more of a chance of creating additional jobs than the rehabilitation of existing sewer pipes in certain sections of town.  I am not saying the rehabilitation of those pipes are not needed because it is necessary, but if the position of the HCDA is to create Jobs, the sewer pipe project will only create temporary jobs.  Whereas the Professional Fire Department project could provide major services to the community and outlying areas of Southern Hamilton County as well as increasing revenues for the Town of White Springs.  Currently our town receives $17,000 from Hamilton County for our services plus $150 for each out of town call.

  • “Development Impact and User Fees: These fees are charged to ensure that those benefitting from an activity pay their fair share of the costs related to that activity.
  • Fines, Forfeitures, and Citations:Some jurisdictions now issue citations to those who engage in high-risk activities that may later require a rescue. Other areas dedicate a portion of fines to fund EMS and fire services.
  • Enterprise Funds and Utility Rates:Local governments may establish an enterprise fund for city operated services. Ambulance service, for example, may be run like a municipal business where it is expected to earn revenue to support its operations.
  • Sale of Assets and Services: Some EMS and fire agencies sell used equipment or services to produce revenue.
  • Benefit Assessments: Special districts may be established for the purpose of supporting EMS and fire services. These districts can assess a benefit assessment similar to a property tax but based on the “benefit” received by each property. These charges are a way to circumvent property-tax limitations and can also improve the equity of charges for EMS.
  • Borrowing:Cities and towns have a number of options for borrowing revenue needed to purchase capital equipment and facilities including General Obligation bonds and Certificates of Participation. Not-for-profit organizations may have access to low-cost 501(c)(3) revenue bond financing or may take out a traditional bank loan.”

There are also  creative ways fire chiefs and EMS administrators have raised revenue for their agency such as creating private ambulance company contracts to reimburse for fire-based EMS, billing for department-operated ambulance services, offering subscription programs, providing inter-facility transport, creating paramedic intercept agreements with surrounding communities, and piloting innovating healthcare programs. The section concludes with time-tested cost-saving strategies and miscellaneous fundraising  


Currently our Police Department Budget is $205,000 with revenue of approximately $2500.  A professional Fire Department could more than sustain itself and add revenues to the Town.  And if a grant is provided it should be to have a STRONG PROFESSIONAL FIRE DEPARTMENT in Southern Hamilton County servicing the needs of all of the citizens in the area   Our fire fighters, who volunteer their time to train, respond and console our citizens in times of need, are our true heroes and our citizens need to be assured there is someone who may protect their properties and their lives in the event of a fire or medical emergency.


We hope the HCDA will consider a grant for funding our Firefighters whether in the way of creating stable jobs, a fire department building or ambulatory service or other means.  A professional fire department and rescue squad could more than support itself in the long run, provide better services to the community and more revenue to the Town of White Springs.  

Andrew Greene is our White Springs hero who has provided first responder and fire services to the community. Although he manages the Wastewater Treatment Facility, both of which are very important positions, Greene should be allowed to take the time necessary to handle his fireman’s duties and his duties at the Wastewater Treatment facility.   


Our former manager worked at the treatment facility for only four hours a day.  Greene needs the flexibility to handle both or one of his choosing and the appropriate money for his work in the community which should not be limited to $80 a month; I do not believe the volunteers should be limited to $50 a month to assure full participation to help Greene.  Currently Greene flushes water pipes, which usually is a function of a Fire Department.   Since we are not firefighters nor do I have any experience of that profession….if anyone has suggestions or comments we would love to hear them.


PS. “Professional”  in the context used means a “Paid” Professional other than a non-paid professional.


For those of you who have not read the Jasper News dated, June 26, 2014, we have a new Manager, William R. Lawrence who will be in Town July 21st.


Mr. Lawrence has a wealth of experience as Town Manager of Lincoln Maine as well as having been a former Police Chief.


A quotation from the Suwannee Democrat reads as follows:


“Miller said Lawrence’s experience, as well as his efforts in implementing new economic strategies in Lincoln will be welcomed in White Springs.

The community will soon begin the process of implementing its own asset-based strategic economic development strategy based on its efforts as part of the Competitive Florida Partnership pilot program,” Miller said. “The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the town of White Springs are in the process of planning a “next steps” meeting for early August.”

Lawrence said he was drawn to White Springs because of its historic charm and natural resources, as well as the town’s efforts to revitalize the local economy for the benefit of all residents, young and old.”

We are elated to have someone of his caliber assist us in the Town of White Springs.  He appears to be someone who looks toward the future, never looking back.   We cannot express how grateful we are to have an experienced town manager who will benefit our Town and the Citizens within.


Joe still trying to have the Town Lower your Sewer Rate


Opposition to Town’s Request for Grant Money from the Hamilton County Development Agency.

SIX Points.

1. The receipt of these funds, $250,000, will NOT CREATE any jobs but will only BE THE SEED money for a grant to do maintenance work, work that should have been funded in a “sinking fund” over the last 12-14 years.

2. The Town has received approximately 2 million dollars from Community Development Block Grants in the past 12-14 years which was spent on sewer expansion, not sewer maintenance.

3. In the last 12-14 years the town has been operating with a relatively free of maintenance sewer plant which was built in the first half of the 2000, I believe in 2002. What did they do with the money that should have been saved for future repairs and replacement of Sewer Pipes?

4. The use of these funds is to provide seed money for a loan to replace the sewer pipes in existing not new sections of town that sorely need replacement of pipes. But replaced pipes will not create any jobs, lower the costs of living or bring in any new businesses or housing developments into Hamilton County.

5. The funds for the 3.217 million dollar Sewer Pipe Replacement project will come from a state revolving loan of which a sizable percentage (92.75 %) is forgiven. The town has the money to pay the “seed money” that the Town hopes to get the HCDA to give them. Such a grant is for approximately $250,000. This HCDA Grant is NOT Necessary for the project to go forward.

6. We know the town has the money because just this year the town INCREASED its annual operating budget to 1.4 Million from 1.1 Million. And the Town raised its Sewer Rates to 250% over any other town in the tri-county area; making the average sewer/water/trash bill over $110.00 per month. I’ve heard of some horror stories of 3 to 4 hundred dollars a month from residences. Businesses are being hit especially hard. And now they want the Hamilton County Development Board to fund something which will create ZERO jobs and do nothing for business incubation or business growth.

If this board wants to create jobs NOW then they should deny this grant request in favor of a request that has a legitimate chance of creating jobs OR make as a condition of approval of this grant that the town lower its sewer and water bills to “Normal” levels and help current White Springs residents that way. You cannot have high sewer rates and new, if any, jobs at the same time, it just doesn’t work that way.

I say help the citizens of White Springs and the businesses of White Springs and especially any new businesses that might move into White Springs but won’t because of the high cost of doing business with the Town. Deny the Grant or Lower Sewer Bills. It is in your power to do so and save money for creating jobs sooner rather than a “Pie in the Sky” later.

The town needs help but not in the way they think. They need to help their citizens with either jobs or a lower cost of living. Since the project they are proposing can 1. Be paid for using existing funds, not HCDA funds. 2. Won’t create any new jobs in the first place and finally 3. The seed money could have been paid for out of a sinking fund that the Town could have had for the last 12 years. I say we need to spend our money to provide economic opportunity, to create JOBS. PCS is downsizing. Hamilton County has lost over 100 jobs in the last six months, jobs that are not coming back.

This project’s seed money might be fine for the residents of White Springs in a tertiary capacity. The project is definitely needed. BUT it doesn’t create any new opportunities: It doesn’t create any new or good jobs.

I urge this board to proceed with the utmost caution to not benefit the political structure of White Springs at the expense of the citizens and Job creators in White Springs. Lower the Sewer Bills or Deny the Grant. It is the only way to create JOBS.

Joe Griffin


Argyle Fire & Rescue Squad

I received a paper from the Small town I went to school in, Argyle, MN – Population 639.  They have 25 Fire Department volunteers and unfortunately we have only six.  Maybe with the help of a new Town Manager we can help our Fire Department and the Citizens of this Community as a result.


The Article was entitled “Small Town Heroes”. “The Argyle Volunteer Fire Department consists of 25 members.  The department also serves as a First Responder Unit and has 5 EMT’s and 11 Fire Responders (EMRs).  Two additional community members are EMT certified and help on calls when they are available.

The Argyle Volunteer Fire Department responded to 70 calls in 2013.  Forty-eight were medical related, twenty-two were fire related and fourteen were false alarms.  The department devoted 1,320 hours to training. 

According to Chief Kelly, that’s 270 years of experience (all 25 volunteers).  That’s a lot of dedication.

The Argyle Volunteer Fire Department conducts various fundraisers throughout the year.  This year, they are presenting a first annual Helicopter Golf Ball Drop on Friday June 27, 2014, at the Argyle Fire Department versus the Stephen Fire Department Softball Game during the annual Meet Your Neighbor Day Celebration.  Look for the tickets around town at the various locations.  Support our local volunteers”

The Community of Argyle is very proud and thankful for the past, present and future firefighters, who volunteer their time to train, respond and console in our citizen’s times of need”.



Emergency services are provided with average response time to 911 calls, about five minutes by the local rescue squad.  The hospital ambulance is just 10 minutes away with clinic, hospital, nursing home, pharmacy, chiropractor, dentist, and county nursing service all within 10 miles.

The Argyle Fire Department and Rescue Squad has a force of 25 people with three trucks and a Class III ambulance for emergency situations.  This is one of the best equipped small town emergency rescue organizations in northwest Minnesota.  The first responder unit with 13 members plus six certified Emergency Medical Technicians help with urgent medical rescues.



We need to assist our fire personnel in fundraisers throughout the year, whether it is a spaghetti dinner, pancake breakfast, raffles or sports activities at some of the Town’s events.   It would help in providing additional funds to those who respond as volunteers. 


White Springs Volunteer Fire Department Personal Incentive as SUBMITTED BY CHIEF STITH:

This policy is intended to recognize active members of volunteer fire departments and to provide incentives to encourage continued participation and new membership.
A) Active members of a VFD who are on the department’s roster for a minimum of six (6) months shall be provided the following incentives when responding to a call upon dispatch from the Communications Center.  Response shall be defined as arrival at the scene of the incident and reporting to command before cancellation.
  1) Certified personnel – shall be paid ten (10) dollars for each call to which he/she responds, not to exceed a fifty (50) dollar maximum per month.
   2) Support personnel (non-certified) – shall be paid five (5) dollars for each call to which he/she responds, not to exceed a fifty (50) dollar maximum per month.
  3) These incentives to the individual volunteer shall be paid monthly from our individual separate department account.
  Asst.  Fire Chief will receive a flat fee of eight (80) dollars monthly as an incentive for continual duties of maintaining reporting system, overseeing special events, and aiding fire chief with day-to-day procedures for fire department operations and in his absence
Karin’s comment:
This is not a lot of money as an incentive for those whose life may be on the line whether fighting a brush fire, a structure fire or as a first res-ponder….but at least it is something.  I have one question.  What does the police department pay their reserve officers?  I am certain it is not $10.00 per event. Two firemen (Josh and Brett) have lost their lives in White Springs.  Are not the lives of firemen as important as Police Officers?

WSPD ranked in the top three by FL Law Enforcement Challenge HARDEN IS THE BEST OF THE BEST IN WS

NEW COMMENT:   In researching Mr. Harden’s record we find that he has been an excellent officer who once was setup for something he did not do.  In spite of everything which has happened between us, Mr Harden followed his Chief’s requirements AND STANDS BY THE LAW.  He stands as the MOST QUALIFIED and EXCELLENT OFFICER/NOW DETECTIVE IN WHITE SPRINGS AND WE KNOW HE WILL BE A BENEFIT TO OUR NEW TOWN MANAGER and ASSIST IN FIGHTING CRIME in WHITE SPRINGS



The minutes of the June 10, 2014 meeting provided a police Department Report as follows:


“Monthly expenses for gas for the month of May are $168.90 paid by the Chief and $164.13 paid by the Town of White Springs.  In house advertising has lapsed for a full time police officer. The position is being advertised in the Lake City Reporter as open until filled.”

Karin’s Comment:   So far the majority of the police we have hired under the new Chief of Police have not had experience except for Mr. Hardin who now has been made detective.  

“ The Chief will be attending a ceremony for the Florida Law Enforcement Challenge in Orlando, June 26-27, 2014.  WSPD ranked in the top three and will receive a reward at the ceremony.”




One of Joe’s Friends mentioned casually that White Springs is a dying Town.  We never thought of it as dying and hoped that this town would someday realize that Economic Development is necessary in order to survive. Especially since so many have been dependent only upon PCS without looking as to what may also be really possible.  Joe stated to me that he believes the Town will implode under the weight of its own corruption or by a State edict but he never thought it was actually dying.


Let’s look at the history of White Springs.  Since I was not here at the time nor was my family, I looked to Wikipedia on the internet.


“In 1882, the Georgia merchants Wight and Powell purchased the property and plotted city lots. They sold parcels to other retailers to open businesses catering to plantations and resorts around the spring. Crowds of health seekers arrived, first by stagecoach and then railroad. White Springs was incorporated in 1885. Hotels and boarding houses popped up; a cotton ginattracted buyers & sellers; and fashionable clothing and hats were offered for sale. Leisure activities included ballroom dancinglawn tennis and skating.

In 1903, the spring was enclosed by concrete and coquina walls that included multiple water gates and galleries to prevent water intrusion from river flooding. A four-story wooden bathhouse was constructed around the spring.[5] The structure was designed by the Jacksonville architectural firm McClure & Holmes for owner Minnie Mosher Jackson, and included doctors’ offices for patient examination and treatment, dressing rooms, space for concessions, and an elevator.[4] At the time, water flow was calculated at 32,400 gallons per minute, or nearly 47 million gallons per day.[6]

During the 1930s, mineral springs fell out of favor and the town began to fade. In 1950, the Stephen Foster Memorial Museum opened to commemorate songwriter Stephen Foster, composer of the world-renowned song of the Suwannee River, “Old Folks at Home”. The museum is surrounded by formal gardens that extend to the banks of the Suwannee River. A carillon containing the world’s largest set of tubular bells, [7] opened in 1957 and plays Foster’s songs throughout the day. The facility is a Florida State Park.”

I thought about it and asked myself is it really sick and fixing to die?  Yet it is not yet terminal, but very close.


In the last decade, it appears no elected council person or their respective Town Managers have had a vision.  Any idea ever presented was dismissed or denied.  No one wished to have businesses in town and we are lucky to have a hardware store, three restaurants, two automotive repair shops, the Dollar General Store, a grocery, meat market and deli food store, four gas stations, a Yoga studio, a bicycle club, an outdoor camping supply store ,a Laundromat, a check cashing facility, a veterinarian, a canoe rental place, the former State Ecotourism Center and a lawn mower and small engine repair place.


The problem is that WE DO NOT HAVE ANY TOURISTS in White Springs other than those who go to the State Park and come here for festivals. Although the economy has declined drastically across the country, most areas in Florida have flourished, but NOT White Springs. We don’t have an ice cream parlor or an antique store or even a flea market and the closest to a flea market was the Swap Meet at the Hardware Store which was ruined by the charges made by the Town.  There are no stores to shop in other than the Dollar General (for which we are grateful) like a clothing store or a shoe store or anything of the like.  Even if we had an outlet store, someone would shop.  But we have nothing and for all tense and purpose, the town is not friendly to anyone who may be a stranger except for those families who have been here for generations.


The Town officials have spend the Town revenues foolishly and use grants for purposes for which they were not intended like the “Business Incubator” which did not start up any businesses but rather is a concrete park too small for our citizens to enjoy.


Thanks to the Town officials we no longer have a school.  No money was ever spent on its repairs and they knew something had to have been done but now it is too late.


The Carver School needed to be demolished and perhaps new buildings, tennis courts or even an open park could be developed for which the Citizens could relax and their children could play.  We do not even have a Municipal outdoor pool and our residents have to go to Lake City.  This would have been an ideal location for all families to enjoy as well as having the May Day Festival.  No one thought about the asbestos remediation or what would have to have been done but they know today that it must come down by January 2016.  Money was spent for a model but what did that do?


We have the Ecotourism building which contains works of various people yet most do not feel they would be welcome to display items because the atmosphere is unfriendly and no real visitors come there.  We are grateful to have a beautiful library with the County’s and PCS’s assistance.


These elected officials walk among us as if they can do no wrong and now they have hurt the citizens with high Sewer and Water Rates.  Many of our Citizens are older and there are some younger with small children who do not have jobs or make minimum wage.  These citizens have already budgeted as best they can to not use air-conditioning or not expend a lot on electricity and the little money they had for possibly some fuel for their older vehicles, they no longer have as they are hit with huge water and sewer bills.  And what did the mayor tell one person “You Used it So Pay for It”.

I hope that whatever Town Manager is hired he or she is able to provide the town with a vision to not only assist the residents of White Springs but to entice businesses to come to White Springs; whether a casino; whether a trucking facility; whether an outlet store or some unique store such as a Trader Joes which even Lake City residents would come to; a manufacturing facility whether hydroponics or making widgets. 


Yes our Town is terminally ill.  We need to build our town and not put money into such items as FLOW.  We need to work with the Economic Development Authority and the Chamber of Commerce to bring in business that would suit the area and bring others into White Springs.  Now Fat Belly’s is the place most tourists come to…thank heavens for that.  But all our businesses are hurting and this Town no longer seems to care about those it is to serve. Some of the officials seem to also enjoy causing dissension between races and families against other families.  This has to stop or soon this Town will have to be taken over by the State.  But what do you care as you bleed the Town making it more terminally ill.


A dying Town? Perhaps, but death comes slowly. I want the State to act or the town to kill itself sooner rather than later. I’m in favor of un-incorporation as a merciful death. We don’t appear to be able to govern ourselves.



We need to take our town back before Corruption loses it!

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
― Carl SaganThe Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
John Steinbeck

“Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power.”
― John Steinbeck
Thomas Jefferson

“Whereas it appeareth that however certain forms of government are better calculated than others to protect individuals in the free exercise of their natural rights, and are at the same time themselves better guarded against degeneracy, yet experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed that the most effectual means of preventing this would be, to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, ….whence it becomes expedient for promoting the publick happiness that those persons, whom nature hath endowed with genius and virtue, should be rendered by liberal education worthy to receive, and able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens, and that they should be called to that charge without regard to wealth, birth or accidental condition of circumstance.”
― Thomas JeffersonJefferson: Writings
G. Edward Griffin

“To oppose corruption in government is the highest obligation of patriotism.”
― G. Edward Griffin