Volunteers could help out at parks
With all the cutbacks everyone has been reading about pertaining to our parks and pools, I have a suggestion for the county commissioners. Rather than close our parks for two days during the week, why not ask for volunteers?
When Eagle Lake Park, the new county park in Largo, opened, there was a signup sheet for those who were willing to give some time, not only at the new park but at other parks in the county. When I signed, there were pages of volunteers' names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
Why not ask formally via the media for help for all the parks? We have no problem running mowers, edgers, blowers or using pruners, rakes and shovels. Simply put, there are many retired people, such as myself, who would be happy to help out whenever we could.
I believe there are many people out there willing to help out in these hard financial times, especially when it comes to helping our communities keep open our wonderful parks. All you have to do is ask.
John Wirth, Largo
Re: Pinellas backs $3 parks fee | story, May 12
Reconsider park closures and fees
We have been residents of upper Pinellas County for 26 years and use John Chesnut Park almost daily. The park is one of the reasons we chose to live here. We need a place to return to the calmness of nature.
We realize that the current economy is forcing hard decisions. Already, we have seen the effects (decreased attendance) of fees charged for launching boats, parking and reserving shelters.
Now the entire park is in the target. You propose closures, entrance fees and shutting down two days a week. The changes proposed would create a further diminishing use of an important and essential asset of a county that is the most heavily populated (per square mile) in the state.
In our park, we have met and spoken with people who are working part time, dealing with reduced wages or completely out of work. The park is their "breath of fresh air." We see large families who depend on the proximity of the park and the open space to get together. We see people who chose to live here because of the park system.
Please reconsider the consequences of these proposed actions. Consider those of us on dwindling fixed incomes, and now you are proposing to make everyone pay for something we all thought we could rely on through our tax dollars. Consider congestion at the entryway as we all fumble for our entrance permit or the $3 and decide to skip it for today. And today becomes tomorrow and so on.
Parks are a time-honored tradition, and taking them away, even incrementally, is a violation of cherished expectations.
Tom and Joyce Hansell, Palm Harbor
Do the math on police proposal
Your recent articles concerning the proposal by the Pinellas County sheriff to serve the city of Clearwater were well written but should have included some additional items to educate the public.
If you did the simple math, you would find that Clearwater spends well over $300 per capita per year for police, vs. Dunedin, which spends less than $100 per capita using the sheriff. Wouldn't you think somebody on the Clearwater City Council would have been asking why, rather than defending the status quo?
After defending the status quo, city officials suddenly find that they can now find ways to reduce the cost of the Police Department. Where have they been all these years ? This is further proof that government is mismanaged and inefficient, and elected officials have to be forced to manage the taxpayers' money efficiently.
The police chief defends the status quo by saying it would cost $6 million to make the transition from police to sheriff. Let's see. It would cost $6 million the first year to save $2.5 million and would then save $80 million over the next nine years. Wouldn't you think somebody should have been concerned about the taxpayers long ago?
Jim Harpham, Palm Harbor
Re: County needs curbside recycling program now editorial, May 9
County weighing facts on recycling
The Pinellas County Commission is not "indecisive" or "dillydallying" on curbside recycling. What members have been doing is researching the total issue and ensuring the future of Pinellas County.
Pinellas County is 97 years old and will be here for at least 200 more years, but where will our garbage go if the county does not plan 75 to 100 years out? This means planning to save our landfill beyond its current life and ensuring that our waste-to-energy plant runs 100 percent every day and that new sources of landfill land within our county will be available, lest disposal in 30 years costs $150 a ton instead of the current $37.50 per ton.
The county is responsible for disposal, whereas the municipalities are responsible for collections. Unincorporated-area residents are happy with their private haulers and don't want a franchise garbage service without their approval.
Also, according to Florida Statute 403.706 (3), waste services within municipalities are the municipalities' responsibility, and Section 6 states that counties that have a waste-to-energy facility can recycle only the volume of waste that will not affect its operation financially or operationally.
See, the County Commission is looking out for our county.
Attilio Corbo, Palm Harbor