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Manuel LLC wants Hernando County to be fair

Re: County needs to move on dredging project | Jan. 11, Times editorial

Manuels want county to be fair

The St. Petersburg Times writes its articles and opinions slanted toward the assumption that the Manuels are the bad guys working against the public's interest.

This was the case again in the recent editorial regarding the Eagle Point dredge disposal site. Manuel LLC is depicted as "bullying" the County Commission into accepting the Eagle Point site. Before judging the Manuels, we would like to offer the following:

1. Manuel LLC was approached by the county for the use of our property (Eagle Point) for a dredge disposal site. We were advised that our Eagle Point property was the best environmentally and economically and would potentially save county taxpayers $400,000 over the other sites being considered.

2. Manuel LLC voluntarily held our site available while Hernando County and its consultant and staff explored various aspects of the site and the county prepared a lease agreement.

On Jan. 9, 2007, the County Commission executed a spoil disposal agreement for the use of the Eagle Point site. This agreement was prepared by the county staff (Michael Silvey, Kent Weissinger, attorney with assistance from the county engineer's office). This lease terminated June 1, 2008.

In May 2008, the county again came to us and requested an Amended Temporary Spoil Disposal Agreement to extend to Dec. 31, 2009. The agreement was prepared by the county staff and approved by the County Commission and signed on May 8, 2008.

3. The combined agreement(s) leased our land for a total of three years to allow for Florida Department of Environmental Protection permitting for the dredge disposal site required for the Hernando Beach dredge project. The county agreed to compensate Manuel LLC for the use of our property with approximately 32,000 bank cubic yards of "leave behind" sand dredge material.

4. The compensation offered in the agreement is to offset the cost to Manuel LLC for holding the site available for county use over the agreed upon time period. Cost to carry items paid to date by Manuel LLC include interest on property purchase debt, professional fees, property taxes, legal fees, maintenance cost and loss of potential revenue from site development.

5. Manuel LLC is not "bullying" anyone, as suggested in the Times editorial; however, we would expect to be treated fairly by the county consistent with the terms and conditions of our agreement.

Manuel LLC will defend our interests, as would any business in the free enterprise system. Manuel LLC has fulfilled its contractual obligations and anticipate the county will do the same to assure the successful completion of the Hernando Beach Channel dredging project.

Manuel LLC is available to meet with the county administrator or county commissioners to discuss the above matters openly and to provide an opportunity for both parties to explain their respective positions regarding our agreement if county does or does not select the Manuel LLC site as the final location. This meeting and related direction should be factually based and transparent to the public through discussion with the County Commission. Perhaps the Times could be present and report our involvement accurately in the future.

6. Manuel LLC is a limited liability company. C.E. Manuel Sr. (Gene) is the general manager responsible for the decisions and related direction of Manuel LLC. I have retained Jake Varn, attorney, and Coastal Engineering to assist Manuel LLC and the county in obtaining an FDEP permit for the dredge disposal on the Eagle Point site.

Manuel LLC would like to continue to support the county consistent with our own agreement until the county offers a fair plan to terminate the benefit of our involvement.

C.E. Manuel Sr., manager, Manuel Limited Liability Co.

Re: Making their case Thursday, Times article

His actions don't match his words

A recent article in your paper displayed a picture of Hernando County Schools Superintendent Wayne Alexander addressing a group of middle school students. His message, according to the caption, was about "committing to a cause and following through to make changes." How inspirational!

This, from a man who surreptitiously applied for a job in Connecticut without informing the Hernando County School Board. He is currently two years into a three-year contract.

I hope the students took his message to heart, which is apparently "Do as I say, not as I do!"

Dennis R. Smith, Spring Hill

Re: Gift cards to the rescue? Thursday, Times article

Solution doesn't involve tax money

Do you remember when snake oil salesmen used outlandish techniques to peddle their products in western movies? It looks like we now have a new medicine man in town by the name of James Adkins.

County Commissioner James Adkins, that is, who rode into town last fall wearing a white hat, promising lower taxes and smaller government to the electorate. This charlatan preached a mantra of "ax the taxes" to the masses and now wants $2.5 million of taxpayer money to bail out an industry that was involved in many home foreclosures in Hernando County.

It seems Adkins has engaged the services of Blaise Ingoglia, the founder of the Government Gone Wild seminars, to hawk a local stimulus plan that would be financed with $2.5 million of taxpayers' money. This air of enthusiasm by Adkins to sell this local stimulus plan in Hernando County would make a "western shill" blush with envy.

What part of smaller government don't you understand, Mr. Adkins? Responsible taxpayers in Hernando County do not want their hard-earned dollars used for any type of bailout, locally, or on a federal level.

Responsible folks in our community are already grappling with the notion that we will be forced to cover the bad debt of some consumers in this nation.

Are you now telling us that you want another $2.5 million from the local general fund to reward bad debt, Mr. Adkins? When did it become the taxpayers' responsibility to bail out homeowners in the foreclosure crisis?

There is no "silver bullet" to fix this economic solution, Mr. Adkins, other than pure grit and determination by the private sector to put people back to work. We don't need any more government spending to create an even larger deficit in our lives.

Anna Liisa Covell, Nobleton

Manuel LLC wants Hernando County to be fair 02/14/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 14, 2009 10:07am]
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