Pasco recycling is behind the times
Prior to the resource recovery facility becoming operational, I was the solid waste manager for Pasco County. It was first recommended by county staff and their consultants to the Board of County Commissioners that the garbage collection to be franchised in order to control the solid waste stream within the county and to secure a good rate on the bonds to build the facility. The board, after heavy lobbying by the private-sector garbage haulers, voted against the recommendation as they have apparently done several times since. As a result of this caving to the haulers' objections the county was forced to place a disposal fee on property tax bills.
At the same time the facility was being planned and built, the county addressed recycling as required by the state. The county chose the blue bag method in part because it was the easiest on the haulers. The blue bag collection did not include newspapers because they were needed for incineration as fuel in the facility in order to meet contracted capacity requirements. At that time, not recycling newspaper was understandable. However, I understand the county does not need to burn newspaper in order to meet capacity requirements. Due to overcapacity, it is time to recycle as much newspaper and cardboard as is feasible. This is more cost-effective than expanding the facility or its associated landfill.
It is also cost-effective to recycle glass and aluminum because they do not add to the BTU value of the fuel and can increase maintenance and disposal costs.
The per-ton rating for the amount of garbage that can be processed through the waste-to-energy facility is based on the assumed BTU value of the fuel being processed. Removing the glass and metal from the waste stream would offset the loss of BTUs due to newspaper recycling.
Due to population growth and accompanying increase in the solid waste stream in the county, it is way past time to update and improve the effectiveness of recycling in Pasco County.
It is also way past time to quit coddling the garbage haulers, which only appears to add to the cost to the citizens. The time for excuses is over. Not changing is essentially a back-door tax on the citizens and businesses of Pasco County.
George W. Ellsworth, Dade City
Medicaid suit is too little, too late
Recent headlines state the likely Medicaid tab for the county will be $3.5 million and the county is suing the state. The county commissioners bemoan the state's action.
Where were the commissioners when this legislation was being considered by the Legislature? It was not a secret and was reported in the press. While our commissioners were mum, every one of their colleagues, and our elected representatives of the same party, voted for HB 5301 with the exception of, yes, you guessed it, Sen. Mike Fasano.
Our county commissioners have consistently failed to speak up for interests of the county and its citizens relative to matters under consideration by the state Legislature. A Republican county commission refuses to stand up for Pasco residents against a Republican state Legislature. It has happened again and again.
The Pasco commission is like the three monkeys of oriental myth, they see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil as far as their fellow Republicans are concerned. Commissioner Jack Mariano wants to sue over the Medicaid law now. Where was he and where were the other commissioners? The horse already left the barn.
Lynn W. Lindeman, Hudson
Education bill is good for our kids
House Bill 7059 was delivered to Gov. Scott's office Friday and the governor has until April 28 to act on this bill. The initiatives within HB 7059 shine a light on our highest performing students by increasing access to acceleration options in public education.
The core of HB 7059 allows school districts to provide an academically challenging curriculum or accelerated instruction to eligible students. HB 7059 gives principals and school districts the flexibility to establish guidelines for these options and also requires school districts to include accelerated options, early graduation and dual enrollment options in each district's student progression plan.
It also provides high school students the opportunity to graduate early once standard graduation requirements are met and it rewards school districts with funding for unpaid credits delivered to these students. Additionally, HB 7059 authorizes students who graduate midyear to receive an initial Bright Futures Scholarship during the spring term.
The bill clarifies student eligibility requirements for dual enrollment and clarifies that all schools may offer career-themed courses, not just career and professional academies. Too often we forget those students that may not choose the collegiate path and instead are looking to learn a trade once they graduate high school. House Bill 7059 benefits those students by focusing on high skill, high wage and high demand jobs, and helps put these students to work immediately upon graduation.
Rep. John Legg, Port Richey
Toxic mosquito control blasts us | April 15 letter
Mosquito Control deserves thanks
The letter regarding Mosquito Control made my blood boil. Does the writer also complain about the garbage trucks that come twice a week, sometimes during the night?
I have called Mosquito Control when I couldn't get out my front door because there were mosquitoes all over the outside walls. Would you believe they came within an hour of my call? Does the writer expect spraying during the day when children and adults are outside playing or walking around?
Mosquitoes are very dangerous. They carry all kinds of diseases. Mosquito Control does a fantastic job for our community Maybe this gentleman should sleep with his air conditioner on and keep his windows closed.
Harvey Friedman, Hudson
New store should heed homeowners
I, a homeowner in Autumn Oaks, was told a construction company was going to build a Dollar General store on County Line Road within 500 feet of our home. Our home was on a corner, within easy sight of the construction area. Not a good thing.
I volunteered to be on a committee of homeowners organized to fight this blight. There were a series of meetings where our association started to challenge the Dollar General construction, which, by then, had actually raised the new structure.
Our committee pressed for changes to the site development with such things as a brick wall and planted trees to hide as much as possible the ugly walls of the store and prevent the ensuing traffic from using our local community roads. A decision had been made to use one of our streets (Winding Oaks) as their main entrance thoroughfare to the store rather than using County Line Road. The use of Winding Oaks also imperiled Echo Mountain Drive, as it would likely be used as egress from the Winding Oaks entrance. The north side of our home is on Echo Mountain Drive.
At a recent meeting of the Development Review Committee, I overheard the attorney for the developer and Dollar General say that they were not obligated to make any concessions to the homeowners' association. Wrong, Mr. Attorney!
You need to take the needs of the homeowners into careful consideration unless you want to transfer to the Dollar General Corp. a white elephant — a store facing the active enmity of the 250 families who live in Autumn Oaks.
Joseph L. Barcelo, Hudson