Editor: Though no one is interested in increasing taxes and establishing another layer of bureaucracy, a new municipal services taxing district for the East Lake Tarpon Fire District for recreation and library is on the ballot for next Tuesday's election _ again! Though biased and inaccurate, coverage on the library has been extensive, but noticeably absent has been coverage on recreation. Has the library coverage been used as a smokescreen to get the recreation tax passed?
It has been stated that tax money is needed to pay for capital improvements at the privately owned Upper Pinellas Youth Sports Complex. Can tax monies legally be used to improve and enhance the value of a privately owned sports field? The residents taxed will not own the land, nor will they have any control in the management.
Under a municipal services taxing unit, the county commissioners appoint a board to manage your monies. According to the articles of incorporation, the owners of the sports complex are to solicit donations, purchase equipment and materials and so forth. Is taxing the public to become a donation for saving a private organization?
Consistent with the corporation's deed, youth from Tarpon Springs, Pasco County and the Palm Harbor areas now use this field. Are residents of the East Lake Tarpon Fire District expected to assess themselves 0.25 mill for the general public from the outlying areas to have free usage of this field? (One mill is equivalent to $1 for each $1,000 of assessed, non-exempt real property.)
Commissioner John Chesnut stated that other districts or municipalities cannot be assessed for usage. It would be incredible to have public monies used to support any private corporation, be it non-profit or for profit.
I will vote no to this proposal _ no to recreation and no to library. Either one of these proposals will do nothing but raise taxes and indebtedness ad infinitum.
Editor's note: Directors of the Upper Pinellas Youth Sports Complex have voted to donate the facility to the taxing district if the referendum passes.
East Lake tax would let
residents have control
Editor: I am a resident of the East Lake Tarpon Fire District. As a resident and taxpayer, I'm very interested in the referendum that will be before the voters of this district next Tuesday. The referendum offers the residents of this fire control district an opportunity to exchange one tax for another. It also gives them the opportunity to obtain much-needed facilities for the area with no change in their tax burden. Essentially, they gain local control of their tax dollars.
To those who feel the residents of this area already have said "no" to this issue, I beg to differ. The residents two years ago voted down a referendum that required them to increase their tax burden by 0.5 mill. In March 1989, the taxpayers of the county voted to establish a countywide library cooperative. This established a tax we are paying on this year's tax bill. So the fact is that we are now being taxed up to 0.5 mill for the countywide system.
Therefore, the question is not whether we want to be taxed, because the tax is a fact. The question is, do we want to have local control of and direct benefit of our tax dollars, or are we happy to sit idly by and send that money out of our district to finance facilities and services for residents other than our own?
The tax is established. We will either pay up to 0.5 mill to belong to the countywide system or up to 0.5 mill to our own taxing district to provide up to 0.25 mill for library facilities and services and up to 0.25 mill for recreation facilities and services.
If we establish our own taxing district, known formally as a Municipal Services Taxing Unit or MSTU, we still will have membership in the countywide library cooperative; we would just change our status from an unincorporated area without a facility to an unincorporated area with a facility.
Without the formation of this MSTU, we have no voice, no facilities and no options. We have no entity to provide us with a voice or bargaining tool.
Yes, many options are available in establishing a library and recreation facility. But, unless we form the MSTU and establish the East Lake Community Services Board, we have no options. We will continue to pay that tax to the countywide library cooperative, sending the money out of our area and seeing little in return.
I think we owe ourselves and our community the option of self-government. Residents of unincorporated areas have so little opportunity to have a direct say in the spending of their tax dollars that to have a choice of self-directed spending is one we can't afford to pass up.
Proponents of these referendums have spent many long weeks clarifying issues, making sure we wouldn't be double-taxed, making sure we still would be a part of the county library cooperative and so forth. They have done a thorough and admirable job.
Now it is up to each of us as voters to decide to take the necessary course to ensure that this and future generations of this community have the facilities and services we need and deserve. Please consider the advantages carefully and vote "yes" for our community and ourselves.
Karen K. Koenig, secretary,
East Lake Tarpon Friends of Library/Rec.
Consider Walt Whitman
in anti-abortion tirade
Editor: A Seminole reader has chosen _ of all things! _ the plight of the sea turtles and other animal rights concerns as a platform from which to launch a theistic, anti-abortion tirade.
As a counter to this rancorous posturing, I offer the calm and rational words of Walt Whitman: "I think I could turn and live with the animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd. I stand and look at them long and long. They do not sweat and whine about their condition, they do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, they do not make me sick discussing their duty to God. Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth."
Dunedin school band
offers thanks for help
Editor: Dunedin Highland Middle School Band would like to thank the Dunedin community for its support of Tag Days on Oct. 12 and 13. We raised more than $4,100 toward the purchase of instruments.
If you have an instrument that is not being used, please remember the Dunedin Highland Middle School Band. Call 734-9228 for information.
We salute you and love you.
Beverly Schultz, president,
Dunedin Highland Middle School Band Boosters