Dissolving city won't cut all costs
Some people are saying that by dissolving the city of Port Richey we will pay lower taxes.
There is absolutely no guarantee of that and there is a very good chance we could end up paying more in taxes! I would hate to see our citizens vote on something without the full knowledge of the costs involved. Please consider these issues:
If our city is dissolved the citizens will still be responsible for its $5 million debt. This may be done by creating a special tax district assessed to every former city property tax bill. Our utilities will increase. We won't be able to take advantage of the current city-owned water cost, which is predicted to be less than other surrounding areas that use Tampa Bay Water.
Our storm drains are old and need to be replaced. We will be assessed for these costs as well. Our more than $2 million Community Redevelopment Agency money would be gone and it would not be used to improve our blighted city or used for any dredging projects. We will be assessed for road repaving. We will not get yard rubbish pickup. We will not have a boat ramp at Nick's park (deed restrictions by the donor include remaining a city) and most importantly we will not have the same police and fire services we currently have. This is a huge factor to consider.
County sheriff's deputies are spread thin and overwhelmed. Don't expect them to come running at your beck and call like our police do. Unincorporated Port Richey (county) has a huge drug, gang and theft problem. For the most part, our city's police presence has kept this wave of crime off our streets. Dissolving our city will just be a welcome invitation, reducing our property values immensely. Right now our police response time is 2 minutes, while the average county response time is 7.5 minutes. This could be the difference between life and death!
Where else can you live where most of the police know exactly where each resident lives? Where else can you call City Hall and speak to a real person? You will go from being one of a voice of 3,000 to a one of a voice of 450,000.
We need to continue to work together to keep our costs down and elect ethical council members. We are on the road to making our city self-sufficient with the purchase of our own water wells, cutting waste and watching our spending.
Whether you are for or against having the city, we should at least be given the opportunity to find out exactly what the costs and advantages/disadvantages would be to us.
Laurie Simpson, Port Richey
Teachers should not double-dip
Kudos to our school superintendent Heather Fiorentino for having the nerve to say enough is enough. It is a breath of fresh air to hear that retired teachers will not be allowed to extend their service.
All the public employees who retire should stay retired. The idea of allowing someone to collect retirement pay while still collecting their regular salary is an affront to all working people. If you retire, you retire. No double-dipping.
The school district may lose some experienced teachers, but it also may attract some young, bright teachers who will bring into the classrooms new, exciting ideas.
Thank you again, superintendent Fiorentino, for doing the right thing. I hope all school districts in Florida follow your example.
Joan Shapiro, Hudson
Martin may not quit board March 27, article
Gov. Crist needs to hear from us
I did my part. I sent my letter to Gov. Charlie Crist asking him to do the right thing and remove Cathi Martin from her position since it is obvious she doesn't plan on doing it herself. Instead, for the past two weeks, the School Board and the people of this county have waited for her to send the real letter of resignation all the while she has been getting paid for sitting at home.
I strongly encourage you to take two minutes and fire off a letter to the governor. The more people who let Gov. Crist know that we are fed up with people like Cathi Martin, the quicker he will do something about it.
Cathy Wishard, New Port Richey
Chasco changes made event better
This is in response to a couple of negative opinions about the ban on bead-throwing from the floats and too many law enforcement officers on the parade route at Chasco Fiesta.
There were several walkers with every float throwing and giving beads. I got more beads than I ever had in previous parades. Because of more law enforcement officers there was no one drinking around us and everyone was orderly. This parade was more enjoyable because of this.
Carol Turza, New Port Richey
Small businesses need help now
Small-business owners are quietly and patiently awaiting help. We wake up every day, seven days a week, to operate our businesses. We greet our employees with a smile on our face, trying to hide from them the stress that we are enduring. But they are not ignorant; they can feel its presence.
It is the end of the month again. The mortgage is due. The electric bill is due. The health insurance is due. These are just a few things on my mind while I guiltily drink my coffee that I purchased from Hess, thinking maybe I should start making coffee at home to save money.
My employees and I, all five of us, are like a family and are trying our hardest to keep a positive attitude and to stay focused on business through these very challenging times!
I have e-mailed recovery.org, visited the Small Business Administration office in Tampa, and I have called Gov. Charlie Crist's office in Tallahassee.
I have been in business now for 13 years. I began my business in my garage, calling it Aquatic Visions. I now own a 6,000-square-foot warehouse in Port Richey where I collect and distribute marine life for saltwater aquariums throughout the United States to pet shops and other wholesalers.
There are many other businesses throughout the country and families that depend on the Florida marine life to benefit the quality of their lives.
Please help the unheard cries of the small-business owners. Let us do what we love to do. We employ others who want the same.
Diane McMahon, Port Richey
Enough with the car commercials
They have too many automobile commercials on television. Is that the way they want to waste the bailout money?
I'm sick of auto commercials every five minutes. If people don't have the money, no amount of bailout dollars is going to help the auto companies.
Roger Lind, Port Richey
Re: March 27 guest column
Mary Partington is a terrific writer
I always read the guest columns by Mary Partington. She is a knowledgeable and gifted woman who writes on contemporary topics with remarkable perception. Her recent column on "Hoover Dam is a reminder of overcoming struggles" was wonderfully insightful.
Diane Galemmo, Trinity
Animal Services should respond
I live in Viva Villas in Hudson. There is a resident here with about four big dogs and two of them attacked my 5-pound Yorkie, which was on a leash.
I called Animal Services and it took four phone calls before I could get a complaint signed and nothing has been done.
There is a history of problems with this resident letting big dogs run free. Any resident should be able to walk in their development with out fear. Is Animal Services waiting for a senior citizen to get hurt while out walking?
I expect when I call any agency with a complaint they will do their job. Animal Services has not. I am a disgusted taxpayer.
Rose Chatelain, Hudson