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County should look at improving productivity

Reorganization supported, Jan. 28 story.

County must look at productivity

County commissioners unanimously adopted the administrator's doctoral thesis plan for reorganizing government to cut costs. Ten issues to be addressed already have been identified. Nothing is heard about need to increase work productivity.

Work productivity is increased by routine tasks being changed as to when, where, how and by whom performed. Again, surfing the Internet for self-gratification, procrastination, cell phone socializing, obesity, hopping between tasks, reorganization stress and inadequate off-duty sleep decrease productivity.

Increased productivity would enable county government to operate effectively with a staff reduced considerably mainly by attrition. Further, less staff needs less equipment, materials and utilities, as well as less space for work and car parking.

James A. Willan, Brooksville

Hamilton serves Hernando well

During the last few months I have been increasingly impressed by the pro-active proposals and actions already taken by, David Hamilton, the administrator for Hernando County.

Hamilton, to whom I have never so much as spoken, has reached the inevitable conclusion that the current major challenge for local government is to accurately forecast a serious 2009-10 revenue shortfall and to restructure, and right-size, his organization so as to live within a dramatically smaller operating budget.

While not exactly rocket science, it contrasts sharply with Citrus County where the focus has been on cutting impact fees to reward builders and developers for their support during last year's elections. A decision which has everything to do with politics and chooses to ignore economics.

Rarely, if ever, has the discussion in Inverness turned toward the delicate balancing act of retaining critical services, and the key staff who manage and deliver those same services, against the stark reality that income for the coming years is going to be substantially reduced.

In Florida, growth starts with new home construction and informed opinion says that business sector shows no sign of recovery until 2011. Government's reliable cash cow has stopped producing milk.

By all accounts, Hamilton is something of an intellectual who infinitely prefers a heavy book to a lightweight TV show. Somewhere down the road he must have come across the concept that expenditure cannot exceed fixed income, unless the existing debt burden is further increased. The assumption being that any reserves are already depleted to a minimum safety level.

The issue of cutting head count is a controversial item in today's labor market where unemployment is above double digits in Hernando. Hamilton appears sensitive to this point without capitulating to the lobby, which would raise taxes before losing heads. Tough times demand tough decisions.

County administrators are always subject to the criticisms of outraged citizens. Often they are hired and fired on the whim of commissioners who are unwilling to accept their own failings and require the token sacrificial lamb.

Hopefully, Hernando residents are well pleased with their incumbent. If not, there are another 66 Florida counties who would probably be pleased to receive his resume.

Chris Lloyd, Lecanto

Save Our Homes needs to be fixed

Florida Rep. Robert Schenck would better serve people by turning his attention away from the Spring Hill Fire District and aim it at correcting a flaw in the Save Our Homes law.

What flaw, you ask?

For the past few years, the market value of our home has declined. But the property appraiser has raised the assessed value by 3 percent each year. This isn't right.

I spoke with Sen. Mike Fasano, and he agreed. I hope more homeowners will write to Sen. Fasano.

S.E. Ross, Spring Hill

Keep THE Bus and improve it

Please keep THE Bus. I'm wondering why THE Bus does not go to the County Line Road and in the future link up with buses serving Pasco County?

I still can't walk out on U.S. 19 to catch a bus at the Publix for fear of getting killed because of no sidewalks. It's sad to say, but this end of Hernando County is forgotten.

Lorraine Mueller, Spring Hill

Let's care for those with Alzheimer's

Nine years ago, the Alzheimer's Association spearheaded the designation of Feb. 6 as Florida Alzheimer's Day. This day, approved by the Florida Legislature, is to raise public awareness about the disease, and to dedicate this day to persons and families coping with Alzheimer's.

While we commend the 2000 Legislature for approving this designation, the anniversary of the law is a reminder of how far we have to go to provide support for persons currently with the disease.

Florida has more than 500,000 persons living with Alzheimer's including 7,087 residing in Hernando County. That number is skyrocketing because of the enormous number of baby boomers reaching at-risk age, and an increasing number of persons with early onset – younger people diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

The threat to so many Floridians should be enough to urge action. Unfortunately, many supportive Alzheimer programs have been cut or completely eliminated because of the budget crisis. The governor and the Florida Legislature should make the health and welfare of Floridians their top priority. We encourage the Legislature to increase funding for the memory mobile — a service that provides support to families in rural areas, restart the life-saving program that trained law enforcement officers about dementia and searching for wanderers, and increase funding the Alzheimer Respite program to eliminate the waiting list of more than 1,500 people.

Join with me in telling the Florida Legislature to remember persons and families living with Alzheimer's. It's time to care for our most vulnerable citizens.

Gloria Smith

CEO and President of the Florida Gulf Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association

Small world, or just same name?

Someone on our board discovered Barbara Fredricksen's Dec. 19, 2008, column about the Stage West season. We were both amused and appreciative of the Florida publicity for our 30th season. Thanks for the plug, Barbara and your funny take on the whole thing.

We'd love to have any of your readers come and share our work when they're in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Small world!

Jerry Russell

Stage West Theater

Fort Worth, Texas

Check phone bills for new scams

Go over your phone bills with a fine-tooth comb. It seems there is another scam going on, and I am one of the victims.

In December we noticed a charge from a company called USBI on our AT&T phone bill. It is located in Las Vegas. When we called this company they referred us to another company called Call For Less located in Miami.

After many tries we got through to them and they tell us we signed up for a free iPod or laptop computer, and this is a one-time charge. We told this company we never signed up, as I know today there is nothing free. They had my name, address, and even the place I was born, and for the life of me I have no idea how they obtained this information. I have never received the above named products

After calling AT&T, which was no help, they informed me that the charges had to be paid. Call for Less said they would issue a credit but it would take a couple of billing cycles for it to happen.

I did a Google search of USBI and read some of the complaints listed against them, and they were all similar to mine. None of the people knew how the charges got there, mine was for $20.73. Some of the ones I read were much higher, and they said their phone companies, Verizon, AT&T and others were no help to them, and said that we had to contact USBI on our own to solve the problem of these charges

Please read your bills carefully.

Jack Joyce, Spring Hill

County should look at improving productivity 02/04/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 5:32pm]

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