Trash proposal includes tradeoffs
As I have explained the solid waste advisory referendum to different groups around Hernando County during the past three weeks, it has afforded me the opportunity to meet many very nice people, and for that I am very appreciative. To those with whom I have met, and to those I am scheduled to meet, thank you very much for listening, and thank you for your many questions. I truly enjoy the conversations.
I have listed below several key points about the referendum:
By necessity, the referendum is worded as a question to which there is only a "yes" or "no" answer. However, while it may imply to some there is a "right" or "wrong" answer, that is really not the case. There was a scheduled election, and the commission simply decided to take advantage of that opportunity to solicit the opinion of the voters. (And the opinion expressed will be only that of those who vote, so please get out and vote.)
A "yes" vote means you will be advising the Board of County Commissioners to consider implementing the new automated system of collection. A "no" vote will be interpreted as you prefer the current system.
The good thing about the proposed universal system — as a one-size-fits-all alternative — is it will result in lower overall trash management cost to the taxpayers. The bad thing about the proposed universal system is it may not as precisely fit the needs and desires of each and every household.
The cost reduction to be realized is really the sum of a number of smaller pieces, some of which are very subtle. This new system, for example, has proven itself in community after community to be the most effective means to increase the rate of recycling. There is potential for as much as an eightfold increase in that recycling rate, which will significantly extend the useful life of the new landfill cell, just completed at a cost of about $9.5 million. The annual amounts that must be set aside to build the escrow funds for the construction of the next cell will be reduced, along with the annual amount state law requires for long-term care and closure (something akin to perpetual care at a cemetery). These parts alone could save each Hernando County household as much as a combined 15 percent per year off the annual solid waste assessment.
Future meetings on the topic are 6 p.m. Monday at the United Communities candidate forum, Hernando County Government Center, Room 160; and 7 p.m. Thursday at the Berkeley Manor Homeowners Association, Spring Hill Senior Citizen Center on U.S. 19, behind Brewer's Funeral Home.
Remember, "Don't be invisible — vote on Nov. 2!" Please visit the Hernando County government website to view more information about the referendum, including frequently asked questions: www.hernandocounty.us/TrashTalk.
Joe Stapf, Hernando County Environmental Services director, Brooksville
Kudos to Rowden on Amendment 4
I would like to thank Diane Rowden for her commitment to vote "no" on Amendment 4.
As stated in an Oct. 20 newspaper article, Rowden said Amendment 4, which would give voters more of a say in comprehensive land use changes, "would create a lot of red tape" and she would vote against it.
Even though the Hernando Builders Association and Ms. Rowden have not seen eye to eye on issues in the past we are happy to see that we are in perfect agreement on this very important issue. Amendment 4 would be the straw that broke the camel's back for our county and our state if it passes.
Thank you, Diane.
Jeff West, president, Hernando Builders Association
Teacher prefers class-size limits
As a teacher in Hernando County and a parent, I am asking all voters to take special consideration when casting your votes for Amendment 8: revision of the class size requirements for public schools.
If you vote "no" to this amendment, your vote will keep class sizes at the current levels.
If you vote "yes" to this amendment, your vote will increase class sizes.
Vote no: current student-teacher ratio remains the same — prekindergarten through Grade 3, 18 students; grades 4-8, 22 students; grades 9-12, 25 students.
Vote yes: increase student-teacher ratio — prekindergarten through Grade 3, 21 students (increase of three students); grades 4-8, 27 students (increase of five students); grades 9-12, 30 students (increase of five students).
When nurturing a child's education, keeping the current teacher-student ratios, I believe, is a good compromise between fiscal responsibility and ensuring the overall quality of a child's educational experience. Vote "no" to Amendment 8!
Danielle J. Gembicki, Spring Hill
Let Hernando rent Pasco's jail
I have an idea for utilizing the old Pasco County Jail, which will generate revenue.
Since Hernando County needs an additional $11.9 million of taxpayer money to rehab its jail, why doesn't Pasco reopen the old jail in west Pasco and contract with Hernando to house their inmates?
Seems like a win-win situation for both counties.
Richard Golden, San Antonio