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Crystal River Chamber urges vote for surtax

Editor: The Citrus County Board of Commissioners has decided to let the voters of Citrus County decide how the jail facility will be financed during the general election on Nov. 6 by providing a ballot described as "sales tax vote referendum." You will be given the opportunity to either vote for the 1 percent surtax or against this sales surtax during the general election. What you may or may not know is that a new jail will be built with or without this surtax, and without the surtax, the commission anticipates raising property taxes as a means to generate money to pay for the jail construction.

In light of the fact that the Citrus County commissioners are proposing property taxes as a possible means to pay for the new jail, the Crystal River Chamber has taken the position in favor of the 1 percent sales surtax for the following reasons:

Anyone who spends money on items other than food, prescriptions or services will pay this tax, including tourists and part-time residents. The surtax is limited to $5,000 on large purchases, thereby limiting the amount of tax on purchases to $50.

The tax will be used to pay for the new jail only, and may not be used for any other purpose, as in the case of property taxes.

This tax is expected to generate enough money to pay for the new jail within three years and must "sunset" or end when the new jail has been built and the debt on the facility has been paid, but no later than Dec. 31, 1994.

Increasing property taxes as an alternative could possibly delay projects such as road improvements, unless an additional property tax is levied.

By raising property taxes, the burden for paying jail construction costs falls solely on the property taxpayer.

Our decision to support this sales surtax has been made based on what your Crystal River Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors feel is our best option, and this decision is supported by a recent survey of our membership.

Don't forget to vote on Nov. 6.

Steve Martin, president

Crystal River Chamber of Commerce

Thanks to Adopt A Shore volunteers

Editor: I have been asked to relinquish my position with the Adopt A Shore Program, and it has been decided that Tom Dick will replace me as county representative. While I am saddened by this, I am proud of what has been accomplished.

To have worked with Rick Quinn, Mary Craven, Jim Hoffmeister, Ken Whitcomb, Newell Collins, Diana Armstead and the hundreds of volunteers has been an experience that is beyond belief. To think that just an idea can blossom into the cleaning of 30,000 acres of water bodies is mind boggling.

At the (recent) picnic, I was given thanks that I do not feel I deserve; better that I give thanks for the opportunity to work with such dedicated people.

Special thanks to Al Sponholz and The River Lodge Band who provided the music, ABATE for the long afternoon of cooking, Red Wing Disposal, a division of Waste Management, for once again providing the dumpsters for the trash pickup at no cost to the program.

Thanks to the media for helping to raise public awareness, without which the program would not be possible. I would also like to thank the businesses that donated most of the supplies for the picnic, and of course, Sue and Sonny Zettle for the use of Watson's Fish Camp and their special effort to see that everyone was comfortable on Saturday afternoon.

Imagine, if you can, a program that runs the gambit from Cub Scouts and Brownies through business and civic groups to retirees, all donating their time to an idea _ the idea of a clean Citrus County.

I will continue in my role with the Adopt A Highway Program, and will join you on the water as a private citizen for the next Adopt A Shore cleanup.

Keep up the good work.

Gerald O. Clark, Director

Department of Public Works

Citrus County

Should be Sheriff's decision on jail site

Editor: The most important question now confronting the taxpayers of Citrus County is the new county jail.

Unfortunately for the taxpayers, we do not have any common sense applied to the problem.

The County Commission has taken upon itself to make many important decisions about the problem. That duty ought to fall to the county sheriff. The sheriff is a constitutional officer and is responsible for the security and operation of the jail.

They are educated for that task and its performance; then, too, the sheriff should make the determination of where the jail, along with the economics that go with that performance, should be.

My opinion is that the County Commission is not qualified to make those essential decisions. Just review the knowledge of all of the commissioners in that perspective and they will receive a minus zero mark for that important decision. The only talent the commissioners seem to have in abundance is spending money.

That is a luxury for them, because they do not have to foot the bill but are earning more than they are qualified for by attending three monthly meetings.

Those of us who have leisure time and attend the meetings are concerned and speak for those who cannot attend the meetings in order to pay taxes levied by the free-spending commissioners. The reality of the need for incarceration in Citrus County is not for hardened criminals, but as a holding pen for those awaiting adjudication before a trial judge.

All of the fancies that are being included in the planning of the jail are not essential. County jails and state prisons were never intended to be a resort but a facility of punishment for those violating the law.

The taxpayers of Citrus County are penalized by not being able to recall the entire County Commission because we are an unincorporated county and the recall law does not apply to Citrus County. Our legislative delegation should address that important factor in the next session of the Legislature. Concern for the taxpayers should be the primary concern of the next Legislature.

Residents depend on newspapers to inform them of the workings of our politicians while in session. We find fault with that reporting and many will attest to that theory of what they read is not the same as is transacted at a public meeting.

The public has a right to know and it behooves the media to present all of the goings on and not of a personal opinion of the reporters.

We need more accurate report and truthful reporting.

Joseph Sandillo

Beverly Hills

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