Communities through YMCA
The YMCA recently commissioned a consumer survey to measure how Americans view quality of life in their communities, including personal involvement and the quality of community services ranging from education to public safety. The survey revealed a 30 percent gap between what people say is most important in creating a strong community and how satisfied they are with their own communities in those areas.
For example, Americans report that a safe environment for children and assistance for struggling community members (job training, food pantry, etc.) were important for building a strong community; however, they rate their own community low in these same areas. When asked for a solution survey respondents said it's important to contribute their time and money to community causes. They expect more from their community — and each other.
I agree and that's why I believe the Y is worthy of investment. The Y needs help from the community to continue its vital work, a global cause that has nearly 170 years of history.
The YMCA of the Suncoast James P. Gills Family Branch is launching its annual campaign to ensure that everyone from New Port Richey to Dade City has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Every day the YMCA of the Suncoast works to support the people and neighborhoods that need it most by addressing community issues and supporting youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
Our association's goal is to raise $1,093,560. In Pasco County, our goal is $133,000. As of last week we've reached 22 percent of our goal. Visit donate.ymcasuncoast.org/annualcampaign or contact Julio Vega, district vice president, James P. Gills Family Branch at (727) 375-9622 to learn how you can support the Y's cause.
Doug Chamberlin, Trinity
WREC increases hurt customers
Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, which serves approximately 201,000 west-central Florida customers, has once again implemented a customer charge increase. It has become an unwelcome annual event for general manager Billy E. Brown and his WREC board, which can independently implement increases, absent oversight from the Public Service Commission.
The most recent customer charge increase of approximately 40 percent is financially offensive, given that in the past five years the monthly customer charge has increased from $11.50 to $25, an increase of more than 117 percent.
A significant number of WREC customers are senior citizens living on a fixed Social Security income, averaging approximately $1,200 a month. Their cost of living increase for 2014 was 1.5 percent, $18 per month. It will take 40 percent of their Social Security increase to pay WREC's $7 per month increase in the customer charge. Does WREC have no decency?
I'm wondering what the reaction of Mr. Brown and his WREC board would be if they were assessed a customer charge every time they shopped for groceries, went to the movies, or filled their vehicle with gas. I suspect they would be seeking out other options. But 201,000 WREC customers have no viable options.
With teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, retirees, and a host of others getting paltry or no raises, WREC implements a customer charge increase of approximately 40 percent that sucks more than $1.4 million a month out of local main street economies at a most inopportune time.
James Gries, Weeki Wachee