Land purchase program at risk
It is unfortunate that such an unusual rain event struck the Peck Sink construction site while the berms were still in a vulnerable, non-vegetated condition.
I do not fault the engineers, who cannot plan for such extreme events while also minimizing construction costs. However, I was a little miffed that while the source of funding for this important storm water project was acknowledged, the county's environmentally sensitive lands program was not credited as the source of funding for acquisition of the land.
The ESL program's purchase of the 112-acre Peck Sink property set the stage for this storm water project, which will protect the quality of our groundwater — meaning the primary source of our drinking water. ESL has been a bargain for the county for over 22 years now, and it is important for Hernando residents to have such a program. It leveraged the use of state funds to expand and develop both the Pedersen and Bayport park sites, and to purchase the Cypress Lakes Preserve. It also funded acquisition of the Fickett Hammock Preserve. And it could disappear in November if voters do not choose to continue the ESL program after their overwhelmingly support for the referendum that created it in 1988.
The Board of County Commissioners has redirected the annual ESL funding to pay for mosquito control the last two years. Now they have opened the door for demise of the program by placing the question of its continuation on the ballot this November. While mosquitoes can certainly pose a public health risk, mosquito control is at best a Band-Aid. That money is gone, and we now have nothing to show for it. But land; "it's the only thing that lasts" to paraphrase the line from Gone With the Wind.
The ESL program is a wonderful investment in our future and it is important for Hernando residents to understand the benefits they derive from it before going to the polls. The next time you go to Bayport Park to fish or enjoy the sunset, or go picnicking at Pedersen Park, or hiking at Cypress Lakes Preserve — or open your tap at home and clean drinking water pours out — I hope you will appreciate the role of the ESL program in maintaining our quality of life.
Eugene Kelly, Brooksville
Spay, neuter your pets to save lives
Attention all cat owners: Get your cats fixed. It doesn't cost that much and will save countless cat lives.
Hernando County Animal Services, as usual, is overrun with kittens. At this time of year, between May and October, the shelter takes in upwards of 200 kittens. It is the beginning of the breeding season.
Can you imagine how many of those poor kittens will not be adopted even with the "2-for-1" special running now? It means too many kittens will be euthanized because cat owners did not get their cats fixed while young.
If you have a cat (or dog) please save lives by spaying and neutering your pets.
Nancy Eslick, Brooksville