Let's remember the impact fee cut
In the summer of 2008, the Hernando County Commission proposed a 25 percent reduction of impact fees for 18 months. It was dropped because of budget considerations, though Commissioner David Russell voted for it. Now we have a commission proposing a 50 percent cut in impact fees, back to 2001 levels, for a 12-month period. Same package, different wrapping.
Here is a little history. Impact fees are the same as they were in 2005. The difference is that prior to 2005, builders were allowed to prepay impact fees and possibly avoid increases. This was taken away with Ordinance 2005-16, approved by the County Commission, which at the time had a Democratic majority. It gave builders three years to apply for building permits or their money could be refunded, after June 2, 2008; no interest would be paid on deposits. These changes in 2005 were to assist the county administrator in balancing his budget.
The new County Commission, with a Republican majority, is now trying to reverse these positive steps by allowing builders and developers to prepay their impact fees at half the price, adding to budget deficits at both the Hernando County School Board and Hernando County government and are transferring the cost onto the taxpayers of Hernando County, the employees of Hernando County and school system through future budget shortfalls.
Let us not forget why our local economy has the highest unemployment rate in the Tampa Bay area. Let us not forget the same people who accused the county government of spending wildly are the same people who are looking for an impact fee cut. Let us not forget that it is the same people who want an impact fee cut who support the majority of the county commissioners.
Does this smell like special interest favoritism by our county commissioners? Keep all of this in mind next year in November.
Vito J. Delgorio Sr., Spring Hill
Answers needed on missing money
I am so disgusted with the cronyism in this county — on several issues — but today I'm writing in regard to the story about money missing from Animal Services. No investigation after happening a second time?
Ms. Rags, how would you feel if the money were missing directly from your wallet? Pretty violated I imagine, as all the county taxpayers should.
If you don't call for investigation, I will. It was the taxpayers' money, not yours.
Kathy Anderson, Brooksville
Young scholars deserve limelight
I want to congratulate the St. Petersburg Times, staff writer Tony Marrero and photographer Will Vragovic for the outstanding report of the International Baccalaureate program offered at Springstead High School.
I've known about this program for some time and am very pleased that the principal and students are getting credit for learning rather than catching or throwing a ball.
For some reason, we don't give these students enough coverage. We don't have a homecoming week. How many of you know about Megan Bartlett? She is a graduate of Springstead High with high honors, a scholarship grant from Harvard. She went to Borneo twice as a student involved with her major, plant biology, graduating with honors. She's now in the Malay peninsula, working with plants with an emphasis on climate change.
One person who should be acknowledged in the IB program is librarian Kathy Hicks. I suggested many years ago that she be hired as a candidate for library director.
Helga Curtis, Brooksville
Oust the fire board chairman
Oct. 28 was another poor excuse for a business meeting of the Spring Hill Fire Rescue Commission. This is the group that asked to be independent from the county.
It has been demonstrated that the chairman is not capable of conducting the meeting without help from Commissioner Amy Brosnan and the attorney. He does have an arrogant and defiant attitude to ramble on and on and tell the board not to correspond with the attorney, as that adds to attorney fees.
It would behoove the board to ask him to step down now before more damage is done; his actions are a disappointment and disservice to the Fire Department.
This is my personal evaluation as a taxpaying resident of Spring Hill.
Grace Bouma, Spring Hill
Putting family first isn't costly | Oct. 29 letter
Many virtues are family values
The family values that the Pappas family enjoyed sound really great and I'm happy for them and all their successes. Our family values began with the birth of our first son in 1964.
These are the values that we taught our sons:
• Always know that you are loved.
• Always ask WWJD (what would Jesus do) before you proceed with your plans.
• Always respect life, be it man or beast.
• Always treat others as you would want to be treated.
• Always remember — clean body, clean mind.
• Always be willing to help those in need.
Oh, I know there are other things as well. Our children imitate us regardless of what we tell them. It's the kind of persons we are that will stay with then, so we've tried to be a good example to them.
We couldn't be prouder of our sons. They go to work every day to support their families. They are excellent husbands, excellent fathers and stepfathers. They volunteer to coach the children's games and certainly attend all the games, go camping with the Scouts, attend school functions. They couldn't be prouder of their children and don't hesitate to tell them.
Now, although they took college courses, they didn't graduate and don't have prestigious jobs. But, like many other parents, we are so very proud of the people they turned out to be, and know that when Jesus comes to call, he will be happy with who they are, too.
I guess my point is that although college is terrific, it is not the end-all of everything parents wish for their children, at least not us. For many of us, we can look at our children as adults now, and be ever so proud because they are good people.
There can be a balance for parents and children to make time for each other and have time for themselves without eliminating all the fun stuff. At least it worked for us.
Aline Racicot, Spring Hill
Re: Oct. 30 Dan DeWitt column
Brown-Waite's votes define her
I think calling U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite mean-spirited was extremely kind to a woman who in the past has done so much for helping to empty the U.S. Treasury for the war in Iraq, sending wads of cash to Halliburton and Brown and Root to be squandered on defective, deadly showers at the U.S. compound and doing little for Hernando County residents.
Other than a million dollars to study cows for a couple of guys west of Brooksville, I haven't heard of anything she has brought to Hernando County.
This mean-spirited party rubber stamp hasn't had an original thought until her recent call for the president to ask her permission to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. Yet she continues to seek newspaper space ahead her next election 12 months from now. It would be wise for those of us who still have a roof over our heads, a job and decent health care, to check out a politically neutral Web site (www.themiddleclass.org) and place it in our favorites file for reference.
The site rates the voting record of Congress on every piece of legislation. The Web site also can be used to read each piece of legislation so that we might become familiar with the bill and why it affects the middle class.
For instance, she recently voted against a bill, HR 3548 — the Corporate and Financial Institution Compensation Fairness Act of 2009, a bill that would have given shareholders of a publicly traded company an opportunity to vote on the gigantic compensation, pay and golden parachutes given to CEOs of those public corporations.
Why would she do that? The legislation would give shareholders a voice in company pay policy?
Our junior and senior high school students will be interested to note that the Web site also indicates that our congresswoman recently voted against HR 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009. This bill would end the subsidies given to lenders that write student loans. Instead, it allows the Treasury to issue the loans directly to students, eliminating the middle man and saving $87 billion, to be used to increase the amount available to loan, plus increasing the Pell grants from $5,350 a year to $6,900 by 2019.
By the way, you don't pay back Pell grants, you keep the money, get a good education and become a taxpayer and, perhaps, an employer, so you can continue to make a difference in the lives of the next generation of taxpayers. Why did she vote nay? She was probably told to, but who knows?
Dave Mulholland, Spring Hill