Native trees get room to grow
If you've seen the Good Neighbor Trailhead next to Russell Street Park lately, you might have noticed the ongoing transformation of that site. A large number of invasive, non-native trees and shrubs were removed last week thanks to the efforts of the city of Brooksville's Parks Department, several teams of inmates from the Hernando Correctional Institute and the Hernando County Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society.
The vegetation removed from the site consisted almost entirely of Australian camphor trees and two species of ligustrum native to China and Japan. These species are all listed as Category I invaders by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council — meaning they are recognized as a serious threat to Florida's natural areas — and they are also designated as noxious species by the Florida Department of Agriculture.
The live oaks, water oaks, magnolias, cabbage palms and other native trees that were left undisturbed will now have room to grow because the impenetrable thicket created by the non-native plants has been beaten back. However, much work remains to be done before the canopy at this park has been restored to one comprised of native trees and frequented by the native birds and other wildlife suited to such an urban setting.
The Good Neighbor Trail is a valuable asset to the residents of Brooksville and Hernando County, and thanks to synergy of partnerships that led to its creation and continuing development, it will become even more beautiful and valuable over time.
Eugene Kelly, vice chair, Good Neighbor Trail Advisory Committee, Brooksville
Veterans deserve property tax cut
All overseas USA veterans who laid their lives on the line for this great country should be honored with a property tax discount, at once. Don't wait. Many will be deceased if you wait. This will be a dishonor to all the overseas veterans.
I was a United States Marine staff sergeant serving in the South Pacific, 1942-45.
Charles L. Russo, Masaryktown
Don't waste funds on school 'extras'
I read with interest principal Susan Duval's view of additions to Springstead High School. The first thought that came to mind was if the principal personally has $1 million spare dollars, she can find 24 more friends and live her dream.
Since the principal feels secure in her position, which is paid for with taxpayer dollars, she is free to fantasize during school hours. The principal apparently is not aware that buildings do not teach students. Good teachers do that, with parental help.
Personally, I have paid school taxes since I was 23 years old and am now retired and getting very tired of it and the lack of results.
Have they ever considered cutting down student parking or charging for the privilege to use it? It should also be limited to students with a B or above average. The parking has to be maintained with tax money.
As for students who leave early, they are already aware of the facts of life and could be allotted a separate section of the parking lot.
Another point is the four-way stop sign for traffic. These are young adults who were taught to look both ways for traffic in grade school in order to cross a road. Why not treat them as young adults and show some responsibility? With the four-way stop, they should not need a crossing guard.
The idea of a child care facility is a whole other can of worms. It also goes to teaching responsibility.
Victor Breckler, Brooksville
Value for money: library, tax office
There are two areas that give us a bang for our buck — the Hernando County Library System and the Tax Collector's office.
The library offers great books, computer time, a reference person to help and children's events. With more than 86,000 active card members, people do take advantage of our libraries!
Then there is the Tax Collector's office. I paid my quarterly property tax and received a renewed driver's license and the people in both areas are courteous and helpful, especially getting a license, as one has to submit all kinds of identification that can be trying on both parties.
Keep up the good work!
Arthur R. Croci, Spring Hill
Health care will help create jobs
Has anyone ever thought about how many grave diggers will have to lay down their shovels and become unemployed if health care reform passes? The funeral homes will lose customers. Casket sales will be lowered and flower sales will wilt.
All of this will happen simply because the customers — 45,000 Americans who normally die every year because they don't have health insurance — would be alive. They would be taxpayers in a doctor's office or hospital, nursing home, rehab, therapy, in-home care, or they may just get well and go back to work or be with their families instead of going to their graves.
Talk about job creation. It would take a trainload of new doctors, nurses, health care professionals, pharmacists, the list goes on. Plus new clinics, hospitals, medical supplies, labs, office workers, etc. Are you getting what I'm saying? Jobs, jobs, jobs.
So please tell me why would anyone would be against all Americans having health insurance?
Roy Betts, Spring Hill
Fire rescue brass lacks efficiency
The Spring Hill Fire Rescue has the best trained employees that anyone could ask for regarding fire and medical resources. The tactical leadership is as good as can be expected. The problems arise from the lack of administrative oversight and the inability of the Board of Fire Commissioners to govern.
The people did vote for independence. The question is, did they get what they bargained for? The Board of Fire Commissioners under the leadership of Commissioner Leo Jacobs created a very dictatorial role in telling the taxpayers what they could say and do. At least three commissioners stated that people who come there and complain are hurting the fire department and should not attend the meetings.
When the issue of the mechanic taking the district vehicle home was brought up and some people objected, the taxpayers were told they were not supporting the fire department. The vehicle travels at least 12 miles to Pasco County and stays there 50 percent of the time. We are told having the vehicle in Pasco County is economical because the mechanic is on a four-day work week. We still cannot find out how many times the mechanic gets called out. It is still the taxpayer's fuel, and wear and tear on the vehicle. The district says it is negligible in cost.
With the economic problems what they are, this commission wants to build a new fire station 5, and tear down and rebuild a current station. In an attempt to fund these projects a resolution was presented to them calling for a tangible property tax within the district. This tax proposal was created by the administrative personnel and sent to the Board of Fire Commissioners who, without the benefit of research, passed it by a 4-1 vote. We have to thank the Hernando Board of County Commissioners for vetoing the resolution and stopping the tangible tax from being enacted.
Under the leadership of the newly elected chairwoman, Amy Brosnan, the meeting schedule has been reduced by half. This has reduced the citizens' input toward the actions and policies of the district. This has reduced the transparency of the district.
Ken Fagan, Spring Hill