Property taxes may rise | May 9
An act of blatant partisanship
How dare they. The Pinellas commissioners, that is. Ken Welch, Susan Latvala and Norm Roche have all just proposed a property tax increase, and at the same meeting voted to give $600,000 of our money to fund a welcoming party for the Republican National Convention in August. The barefaced partisanship of it stuns me.
It is the Republican-dominated Legislature that passed a change in the way Medicaid is billed that is, at root, responsible for this proposed tax increase, so why should the Republican Party receive any help from us?
Commissioners, we shall remember you in November.
John Starkey, St. Petersburg
Property taxes may rise | May 9
Carving up the tax pie
Our political leaders at all levels just don't get it. Our "state" politicians voted to pass on the cost of Medicaid to the counties. For this, Pinellas County will be on the hook for another $68.9 million over the next six years to pay for this unfunded state mandate. Our "county" politicians described our county budget as already awash in red ink and the general fund in deficit, and they are talking about a property tax increase. Then at the same meeting, our "county" politicians agreed to pay $600,000 for a "private" party at Tropicana Field for a political party that our "federal" politicians are already paying another $100 million to "city" politicians to spend in Tampa! It's not about our taxes; it's about how we spend them.
Charlie Rutz, Clearwater
More punishment for some
So the county wants to raise the property tax rate. This will further punish people who already pay double or triple the amount of their neighbors who live in similar houses. The reason is the "Save Our Homes" property tax cap thought up and championed by the Lee County property appraiser, Ken Wilkinson. It sets some property assessments artificially low, depending on how long the owner has owned and homesteaded the property, instead of the actual value of the property. So if the rate goes up and your assessment is high, your tax goes up more than your neighbor whose assessment is low.
Instead of government doing its job and lowering the rate, when appropriate, we now have a system that punishes people new to Florida who buy into an established neighborhood.
This constitutional amendment needs to be removed and we should return to a system where we all pay our fair share instead of paying both your own and your neighbors' share.
Thomas J. Travis, Dunedin
Dems should party, too
I think the Democratic Party of Pinellas should ask the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners for $600,000 so they too can party down at the Tropicana Stadium.
Walter Gay, Dunedin
Details emerge in new pier contract | May 9
Delay this major outlay
The Vote on the Pier group is making the real progress in regard to the pier's future. While this grass roots group of St. Petersburg citizens is about to reach the required total to consider this issue on the ballot, the City Council continues with its own agenda. The citizens are telling the council and the mayor that they want a say, a vote, on this important matter. Not once has the mayor or council inquired with the petition group to learn of their progress. Why not?
One million dollars spent on the design competition … $138,000 proposed to cover travel expenses … the rest of the $5 million proposed to rush the Lens through, even though the main component of this concept is impossible to achieve. Just ask any local marine biologist: Tampa Bay will not accommodate a water garden.
The council needs to postpone this $5 million expenditure until some fundamental questions are answered.
Jeannie Cline, St. Petersburg
Pier idea's long walk short on pizzazz May 8, John Romano column
Joke will be on taxpayers
Bravo! Somebody not afraid to let St. Petersburg know that it is headed for a big waste of money.
First of all, check the description of what a pier is. It is not a sidewalk or a concrete wall sitting in the water. This design, selected by "experts," is ridiculous and will, if actually constructed, be the white elephant it looks like.
Fifty million for two sidewalks and a concrete white-washed wall is not a prudent expense when St. Petersburg needs a new law enforcement center.
In the end, the joke will be on the residents/taxpayers.
Germaine Bretagne, Clearwater
Pier can be so many things
I'm right on with John Romano.
"It's a sidewalk." Spending $50 million for a long walk!
Lets keep our pier economical, practical and beautiful in these deficit times.
First, yes, we must tear down the existing pyramid. Second, shore up the pilings on the approach and make it pedestrian friendly only. Third, utilize the landscape architects already on the city payroll to plan a parklike pier with jogging and bicycling paths, seating areas, kiosks for refreshments, boat rentals, kayaks, boat trips, etc. Fourth, at the pier's end, put in water fountains for children to frolic in such as Tampa's Riverwalk and Lowry Park Zoo.
At sunset, have dancing water shows that could be viewed from the downtown waterfront. The Bellagio on the Strip in Vegas entertains thousands daily with its show. Water from Tampa Bay could be used. "Eh." I just don't get it either, John.
Elaine Schroeder, St. Petersburg
Gay marriage ban
I am led to believe that there has been some serious intellectual disagreement as to whether the Bible actually defines marriage as involving only a man and a woman, but there is no question as to what the Ten Commandments say about the evils of adultery.
Therefore I am thinking about starting a statewide petition drive to add a ban on adultery to the state Constitution. Thereafter we can criminalize it if we wish. I am sure that our conservative male politicians would be supportive of such a move as part of their belief that church and state need not be separated.
Arthur N. Eggers, Tampa