Libraries are worth saving
Five years ago, the Pasco County Library System consisted of seven libraries open six days each week that provided a combined total of 336 weekly hours of service to the public. Today, those seven libraries have a reduced schedule of five days a week, and a combined total of 250 weekly hours, with later openings and earlier closings.
They do the best they can to meet the growing number and variety of needs for library services, and strain to provide for a growing population despite the cuts in days and hours driven by budget cuts, while hoping for a better tomorrow in which their resources can be restored.
Instead of that possibility being raised, however, past years have seen the threat of closing one of those seven libraries, and this year we read that there's to be discussion of closing two, which would cause an even greater loss of library access and services to Pasco County's people. That would be heading in the wrong direction.
Budget decisions are difficult in these times, and there are valid requests and needs to be considered by our county commissioners. However, I cannot believe that the county's families and taxpayers, let alone people and businesses considering moving into Pasco County, would place a higher priority on jails than libraries.
As Andrew Carnegie once said, "A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert."
Nola Branche, Hudson
Editor's note: On Aug. 13 Pasco commissioners decided against closing library branches to help balance the 2014 budget.
We have to pay for county services
At a recent Pasco County Commission meeting three people spoke against a proposed property tax increase. Some mentioned increased property taxes while their home value declined. In the Aug. 11 letters to the editor, two people wrote letters referencing increasing property taxes. One spoke of an increase in property taxes while his home has lost 37 percent of its value since 2006.
While property taxes in Pasco County have increased slightly over the past three to four years, the vast majority are still paying less in property taxes than they did seven to 10 years ago because the county commission reduced the tax rate significantly during the housing boom.
My own property taxes are higher now than in 2007 but still lower than what they were in 2004. Don't believe it? Check the public records for your own or other's property taxes through the Pasco County Tax Collector's web site and clicking on payment history.
Remember that 70 percent of the county commission property taxes go for public safety. What other service do you pay less for today than you did 10 years ago?
D. Johnson, Holiday
Closing papers required for water
We recently purchased a home in Pasco County that had been vacant for nearly two years.
Once I signed a contract to purchase, I immediately went to Pasco Utilities to turn on the water for testing purposes. I was informed that we needed closing papers to turn on water. So, beware of this rule and be sure to include a waiver in your purchase contract for testing water, plumbing, etc., or have the seller turn on the water.
It seems since the county gets the deposit (kept for two years) and an initial fee, it could turn on water on for the short time of the contract signing to the closing.
Also, even if homes are sold as is, Realtors should advise potential new residents of this utility rule.
Arthur Double, Holiday
Why not rezone Cross Bar Ranch?
Our county commissioners seem concerned that Pinellas County, which owns the Cross Bar Ranch property, might sell it to developers. The commissioners' solution is to spend $40 million to buy it back.
It seems to me that a much simpler solution, and one that would cost nothing, is to ensure that the zoning of the property is such that it cannot by used for development and/or for anything but its current use as a preserve and well field.
While Pinellas may own the property, its use is still subject to Pasco County land use and zoning laws. And, the Pasco County Commission controls that.
This solution would cost nothing. Let's see if the commissioners are capable of doing that.
Alfred J. D'Amario, Hudson
Perfect example of good policing
I could not be more proud of the way Sheriff Chris Nocco's unnamed deputy confronted Robert Kaminski last week. In a world where we read about police brutality and excessive use of force on a daily basis, it was a beacon of light to read how this officer dealt with a life-threatening situation.
First, the officer was brave enough to post up outside a house where he knew there might be a problem. Second, the deputy tried to defuse the situation before Kaminski got his hands on the AK-47. Third, the deputy had the rifle aimed at him and chose not to fire his own pistol because it would endanger innocent bystanders.
I read that it was the deputy's first two weeks on the job. Surely, this deputy should serve as an example on how deputies should put public safety first. I hope that this is a credit to some training that the deputy received from Nocco's department. The department and the deputy deserve commendation.
John Andrew Warrener, Odessa
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