Vote to end subsidy not prudent | Sept. 17 editorial
Subsidy for Main Street no priority
Did you know that the Greater New Port Richey Main Street Inc. contract under consideration last week would have removed the operation from scrutiny under the Government in the Sunshine law? I have a big problem with organizations that receive my tax dollars being exempt from taxpayer scrutiny.
Near as I can tell, Main Street does not have enough dues-paying members to support the organization. I have asked for data many times and the last response was a list of members without any indication of their financial contribution.
The folks who showed up at the meeting included exactly one New Port Richey business owner. The other three have business locations outside of our corporate limits and therefore don't pay city taxes.
The group lobbied for and got the ability to sell beer at the festivals. The event reports show huge profits.
The design committee provided a well-thought-out menu of design suggestions a few years ago which I believe have been successful in helping downtown look better with the help of Community Redevelopment Agency façade grants. Those grants are no longer available in this budget year.
On economic restructuring, I have no idea how this point has been successful. This is not a criticism, maybe just a symptom of these tough economic times.
Bottom line for me is that we can't afford giving a tax-paying family in town the ability to double their dollar on a home improvement, and we have to lay off seven employees. The taxpayers of New Port Richey have elected me seven times. My priorities are: Health, safety, and welfare in that order.
Clean water, sanitary sewer, police and fire fulfill the first two priorities. Our phenomenal park system and library provide year-round service under the third.
Beyond that, government in New Port Richey can't do more. (And I'm a Democrat!)
Ginny Lane Miller, New Port Richey City Council
Restore promise of Main Street
Five years after leaving the City Council, I am so disappointed by how all the redevelopment tools I worked to create and put in the box have been untouched, under-utilized and outright abused. For a while there was so much hope that we would become a vibrant city with desirable neighborhoods and a thriving downtown. Now the excitement is gone.
It's especially sad to know one-third of the 30-year CRA funding period has now passed. By 2030 the program will have fallen short many tens of millions below what it could have pumped into the city coffers.
The city never launched a self promotion campaign or enticed new businesses to U.S. 19 with the exception of Starbucks and the Cracker Barrel. The only real exposure came from Main Street sponsored events.
I always hoped Main Street would eventually leave the city's umbrella and stand independently. A yearly reduction in funding would have forced that goal.
Main Street serviced many needs that the city had. Besides brokering new leads for leasing space, trying to keep retail space filled, they bought the trash cans and benches downtown, facilitated the mural projects that greatly improved the city ascetics. And they did the promotion, keeping us in the news and drawing new visitors to show what New Port Richey offers. At $30,000 a year that cost was less than a dollar per resident from their city and county tax money. That was a steal for the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of media time and the family fun they provided to boot.
Main Street must not be allowed to fail and the efforts they championed must be continued. There is a simple solution to this dilemma: Judy DeBella Thomas must resign her director position with Main Street immediately and remove the obstacle allowing her to be the third vote to restore the funding. There have been many directors before her and now she needs to pass the torch to save the ship. I think she did a competent job and we should all thank her for her efforts and dedication.
Tom Finn, New Port Richey
Sheriff: Use jail for center | Sept. 17 article
Retain old jail in elections building
I believe the sheriff has hit on a great idea, turning the jail into the elections building.
Although, I would not remodel it so we could house the politicians later.
Thomas A. Schrader, San Antonio
Pilots, hunters, deer on collision course | Sept. 15 article
Put this father in hall of shame
Ed O'Toole is quite a man — feeding deer to lure them to where his kids can shoot them.
He should be in the hallowed halls with the likes of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. Where do we find such men?
Rich Horgan, Lutz