Schools need to tighten spending
The school district needs to tighten its belt. Enough is enough. It is not only we retirees on fixed incomes, but the average working person who is stretched to the breaking point. We must live within our means and so must the public school system.
People are leaving Hernando County due to high taxes and low wages. Yet, the school district administration has been the recipient of a 40 percent increase in revenue over the past several years. They want to build another $40-million to $50-million high school and want more millions for a K-8 school, while the pupil population has declined and may continue to decline. In time of financial uncertainty, this is irrational, bordering on foolishness.
We need to cut out the one-half percent school sales tax for construction, passed in a time of a false economic boom. Citizens of Hernando County need tax relief in this period of financial downturn.
School administrators need to tighten their belts to make a leaner organization, not let it out to grow fatter and more wasteful. Cutting many cushy administrative positions would save money and give us a break.
I suggest we place a moratorium on building new schools until we can determine the state of Hernando County's population and economy.
Nick Morana, Spring Hill
Re: Impact fees
Jobs are needed, not just homes
The Hernando County commissioners want hard numbers concerning a proposal to reduce impact fees. Here are some hard-to-look-at realities: Gasoline is $4 per gallon; the commission has devoted itself to approving development after development, saying how good it is for the county because the developer would pay impact fees to pay for the infrastructure improvements needed. Even after the housing market bubble burst, the commission stayed in fantasy land and approved more subdivisions.
Guess what? Because the commission catered to the developers, home builders and the real estate agents, Hernando County has enough housing approved to satisfy the need for years to come. The problem is that if the commissioners had looked at reality, they would have figured out by now that if every single-family residence already approved is built, they will sit empty. The reason they would sit empty is because the commission spent all of its time and effort on new developments instead of working as hard as possible to lure major businesses to this county, which has the best access to Tampa and Orlando.
So, anyone wanting to move to Hernando has to say "Gee, I cannot live that far from any chance of employment and pay $4 per gallon for a 50-mile, one-way commute. If I buy near the Suncoast Parkway I get to pay $4 per gallon plus $6 in tolls for my 50-mile commute.''
These commissioners and their replacements have got to bring major employment to the county. I have lived in Hernando County only eight years, but in that time I have not heard a single member of the commission talk about anything except development. How many of the current commissioners have contacted Jabil Circuit, which wants a new headquarters and manufacturing facility? Who on the commission has tried to get the Renaissance Festival here to boost tourism, or tried to get the Bass Proshop, PODS, or Chris-Craft? These job- and/or tourist dollar-producing enterprises have made, or looked, at a move in the past eight years. I am sure there are a lot of enterprises that could have been contacted by the commission to bring stable jobs. But we do not need to worry; the commission has built our economy around home construction and as soon as the jobs get to the counties that surround us, we can be the bedroom community that gets to build roads, schools and sewage plants, increase law enforcement, increase fire protection and expand the landfills to support the people who will work and shop outside our county. (Not everyone shops exclusively at Wal-Mart.)
Richard Ross, Brooksville
Re: Arctic drilling may reduce U.S. gas prices | June 26 guest column
Use the oil in our own back yard
After reading Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite's guest column, I thought of all the people who would reply by saying that drilling off the coast of Florida would be a terrible thing. To them I would ask the simple question: Why not?
Why is it that countries like Norway can drill off their coast and still have a beautiful coastline? Why is it that many European countries can have safe nuclear power?
Those who don't want drilling off the Florida coast say it will hurt tourism, but with oil now at more than $140 a barrel and gas prices inching ever higher, who will be able to afford to visit Florida? These same people don't even want us to drill in Anwar, and we're not talking about the entire region, only 0.01 percent of the region.
What is the solution of the Democrats? Well, you have some who want to impose an additional 50-cent tax on a gallon of gas to get us to drive less, and some what to impose a windfall profit tax on the oil company. And who do you think will end up paying for that tax? We will pay for it at the pump.
I am not saying that drilling is the only answer. We also should be promoting alternative sources of energy, but in the meantime we should get the oil from our back yard rather than from foreign countries. Those who are against drilling, I don't want to hear you complaining about $4 gas; after all it's partly your fault we're in this mess in the first place.
Peter Stathis, Spring Hill
Low lighting is a danger at theater
The Beacon Theatre on Cortez Boulevard is an accident waiting to happen. Before the movie, I watch senior citizens very carefully trying to go up the steps to their seating. Coming down at the end of the movie is even more fun. One man almost fell into a large plastic garbage can. People were yelling, "Put on the lights."
True, the steps are outlined with those rope lights, but more are needed.
I suggest that when going to the Beacon, take a flashlight. The owners of the theater should rethink the lighting before something happens.
William Hamm, Spring Hill