Vote for sensitive land referendum
The Environmentally Sensitive Lands (ESL) program has protected critical wildlife habitat and aquifer recharge areas and created public amenities including parks, hiking trails, boat launches and picnic areas from one end of Hernando County to the other.
Funding for this program costs the average taxpayer less than $6 per year, and the benefit to our citizens is 1,000 times greater. For example, fisherman from all over Central Florida launch at Bayport Park on ramps paid for by the ESL. These folks buy bait and ice and gasoline here, they dine in our restaurants, and they stay in our hotels. And economists have proven that the value of property near conservation areas is significantly higher than elsewhere, because people want to live near green spaces. This means more property tax revenue for the county.
Almost without exception any land that might be targeted for conservation is already "green-belted" and thus exempt from all but token taxation, so protection of the land will not reduce property tax revenue.
I urge all citizens to protect the ESL program by voting for the environmental sensitive land referendum on Tuesday.
George Foster, Weeki Wachee
Family stands behind Sager
The issues before us and how to address them are so crucial to our beloved county. That is what our vote should be about.
I am the father of Jason Sager's wife, Stephanie Barnett Sager, and I and my family stand behind him.
Robert A. Barnett, Brooksville