Annexation law is costing us jobs
The main reason businesses leave an area is changes in community attitudes, usually in the form of laws, codes, rules, restrictions, regulations, increased taxes and fees, etc.
The details were explained by the key speaker in one of the Pinellas redevelopment summits. In Pinellas County, annexation usually results in a 16 percent increase in electricity cost caused by added tax and fees plus other costs. Pinellas provides a perfect example of companies leaving because of annexation. Laws that eliminate legitimate businesses and jobs should be considered immoral.
Pinellas Annexation Ordinance 00-63, written by a city organization, became law in November 2000. Within weeks, groups of companies started meeting to assist each other in establishing plans to leave. By the end of 2003, during a business boom, 11,014 jobs were lost in just one industry.
Prior to 1974, huge numbers of Floridians rose up against the immoral state annexation law. A new law passed in 1974. In 2006, Florida legislators and Gov. Jeb Bush reinstated the previous law plus more immoral conditions in another law offering an alternative method of annexation (see Part II, Chapter 171, in Florida statutes). Even today, many problems still exist because of the law used prior to 1974.
Smart managers are making smart decisions to move their companies out of Florida. I confirmed for one company that annexation will cost $5 million over a 10-year period. The company is leaving Florida. I am way over $50,000 richer today because managers I worked for suggested that I move out of a city in Pinellas County. It is nice to know that 92 percent of voters in East Lake voted against annexation.
The 2006 Florida annexation law allows each government in Florida to establish separate annexation agreements. The people are no longer represented since non-elected people are allowed to establish agreements. Public hearings are required only if agreements are not reached.
A major increase in urban sprawl is promoted since annexed land is no longer required to be contiguous or compact. Use of rights of way and easements are allowed again. Creation of enclaves, pockets, fingers, serpentines, etc., are also allowed again.
Florida is once again a helter-skelter state created by legislators and former Gov. Bush. Florida taxpayers are paying millions for incentives to replace businesses, which are continuing to leave because of the 2006 annexation law. Problems caused by this law will exist for many years.
Gov. Bush was informed that he would leave a legacy of causing huge numbers of people, businesses and jobs to leave Florida if he approved the 2006 law. What will be the legacy of Gov. Charlie Crist?
W.C. Snipes, Clearwater
Re: Finances end 25 years of music | March 26 story
Music director deserved better
Thank you for the story about Tom Huffman, music director at First United Methodist Church of Dunedin. I have been a member of the choir at First United Methodist for almost 25 years under Tom's direction. Tom's ability to bring outstanding music to the church service is overshadowed only by his kind and gentle spirit.
It is a tremendous loss to see Tom terminated under such conditions. A very few individuals made a decision that would affect so many. It is hard to imagine that such a man has been let go without allowing the people to be included in the process or finding an alternative solution to his termination.
Carol Zaffiri, Dunedin
Funding libraries helps everyone
The library system and its branches, staff and volunteers provide an essential service to the community. The library is a haven of knowledge for people of all ages and all walks of life.
Closing local library branches casts a negative reflection on the quality of living in the state of Florida. Any reduction in library hours or any closing of a library creates a hardship for patrons, particularly low-income patrons, who cannot afford to buy books or computers. Library closings would further limit students' use of the library. High gas prices make going to a city's main branch more costly.
I put forth my request as a constituent and library patron for the governor and legislative leaders to take measures to ensure the continuation of state aid to public libraries.
Bonnie R. Bond, St. Petersburg