County needs strong leadership
There is an age old adage that if you keep doing what you are doing, you keep getting what you are getting. With that in mind, Republicans run the Florida House and Senate, and the governor's office. Florida Republicans have been in a position to curtail taxes, control growth, take on property insurance, as well as other cost-controlling policies, for 10 years.
What have they done? (I'll use the Yorkshire term for nothing.) Nowt!
Yet, we are constantly being told by a hard-core cadre that the GOP is the way to go this fall. I don't think that we can afford to vote Republican on a state level.
However, a caveat is that, on a local level, we can't afford to keep the commissioners who are doing nothing to control growth in Hernando County. They are still saying yes to any and all development regardless of the financial and social consequences to our community. Demographically speaking, we have unsustainable growth models to offset the huge, long-term, costs of maintaining our county. Our taxes in new residencies don't pay for the massive costs of providing services (schools, roads, fire, water, police, etc.) that will have to be creatively financed. The average median income in our county is $35,000 per year. Most of our hard-working and retired residents can't afford higher taxes on top of the other rising costs of staying alive. The lure of $10-million in new residency taxes is nothing compared to the cost of financing the infrastructure to service said developments.
Do certain commissioners still believe that residential construction or service jobs are staple occupations that encourage incomes that help pay the taxes for our county's reckless growth policies? Our commissioners need to be more engaged in bringing better-paying industrial jobs to our community. They should place a moratorium on residential development over a certain size. The public should be allowed to vote on whether our Comprehensive Plan should be changed.
Our county desperately needs the leadership and wisdom that our incumbents have promised in the past. Our residents are not just taxpayers, but investors in our county. Their return of investment is diminishing rapidly. Our state legislators are doing nothing to abate the ever-ascending cost of living, despite proclaiming themselves to be the guardians against excess; if our state leaders won't do it then we must turn to our local leaders for help.
Jamie Wrye, Spring Hill
Re: Who's on the bus to be studied | March 26, story
School Board has lesson for county
The Hernando County Commission will spend $20,000 of taxpayers' money for consultants to survey THE Bus ridership and make recommendations for its future.
Recently, by contrast, the Hernando County School Board, in-house, developed a plan for restructuring the school staffing organization and salaries.
Maybe the School Board should assume direction of county government.
James A. Willan, Brooksville
Re: Permit bill about economic growth | March 24, letter
Let's not build at nature's expense
First, I want to thank Rep. Rob Schenck, R-Spring Hill, very much for taking the time to respond to my letter and for answering and addressing my concerns. I know that the session is a busy time and I appreciate him responding as quickly as he did.
We will have to agree to disagree as to the potential negative impacts of his House Bill 147. While I fully support economic development, particularly economic development not directly tied to the residential housing market, economic development that comes at the potential expense of our natural resources is not a good long-term investment for our community.
While Schenck argues that his bill does not deal with wetlands, I feel strongly that speeding up the process of granting stormwater discharge or Environmental Resource Permits (ERP) could and will adversely impact wetlands systems, as well as all the valuable functions they serve.
Government regulators already have to face smaller budgets, less staff and political pressure from stakeholders as they work to ensure natural resources will not be damaged as they grant permits. And current wetlands and stormwater policies in Florida are not as strong as they should be. To compound this by requiring shorter permitting timelines is not good public policy.
I admire Schenck's goal of working to achieve accelerated economic development in our community, but I feel strongly this is not the method to achieve that goal. Faster permits mean corners get cut, and no one benefits from that.
Economic growth at the expense of our natural resources does not provide a sustainable future.
Nancy Murphy, Spring Lake
Re: Flooding washes away debt | March 23, story
Time to rein FEMA in
I can't believe it! The Federal Emergency Management Agency is at it again. It developed its dubious reputation during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and its handling of FEMA emergency housing in the New Orleans area.
Now, here they are giving a property owner $490,000 for a one-story house on stilts in a flood plain at a time when many property owners are struggling to pay high insurance rates, taxes and other expenses, and local governments are trying to cut back the red ink. Isn't it time FEMA is reined in? I think it's long past time something is done about it.
One more question: What irresponsible government agency gave the permits to build houses in this type of environment?
Eugene H. Fontana, Spring Hill