Editor: Re: Landfill deal stinks.
My greatest concern with the deal Florida Mining & Materials has offered to the county is on page 18, paragraph 23, line 12 of the proposed settlement agreement.
It says, "FMM shall be relieved of any obligation to reclaim any portion or all of the FMM property."
This, at a time when the county is supposed to be crafting a new, more realistic mining ordinance, is not in the best interest of the people.
Public should own and operate utilities
Editor: The folly of allowing private companies to own public utilities has surfaced in several Florida counties. By way of example, Southern States Utilities has filed application for an exorbitant rate increase, an increase that stands to double or triple the bills of many Hernando residents. (In some counties, the proposed increase is even higher.)
At a time of unemployment and declining incomes, this rate hike is quite unjustified and plainly bespeaks of a serious flaw in our economic system. The Public Service Commission, which is the consumer's only buffer against wanton exploitation, is hardly a realistic safeguard against the danger of placing a vital monopoly into the hands of a private, strictly for-profit corporation. It is a little short of an open invitation for bribery. All it takes is a surreptitious payment to a few members of the PSC, and it might well be possible to influence their vote.
To think that this could not happen is tantamount to believing in the tooth fairy. Indeed, the huge interim increase already granted must serve to raise eyebrows.
It is clearly in the best interest of the public to own and operate its own utilities. Not only would it eliminate the threat of corruption, but it would preserve stability and save money in the long run. With low current interest rates, it should not be difficult for many municipalities to float favorable bond issues.
In the face of outrageous demands by SSU, it is surely time for citizens to unite and press their elected representatives for a referendum on the issue of public ownership. Private enterprise may have merit in many facets of a nation's economy, but ownership of public utilities is certainly not one of them.
Harold W.G. Allen
Vote "no' on the proposed tourist tax
Editor: We now have a proposed Hernando County tourist tax coming up for a vote, which should be defeated simply because tourists help our economy. I'm aware that it won't cost me, but why tax them?
I'm sure our hotels and motels would be very happy to do their own promoting and marketing of the hospitality industry in Hernando County, if only to avoid the collecting nuisance.
Then we have a proposed one-cent gasoline tax to repair our roads. Sure, it's only one cent, but nevertheless, until they can specify which roads will be considered for repair and how much it will cost, I will vote "no."
Forecasters fell down on the job
Editor: I know it's a tough job that these weather people have, standing up there by the map and smiling and trying to find the states with their pointers.
But couldn't they have at least said "50 percent chance of tornadoes?"
Outpouring of aid was astonishing
Editor: The Spring Hill Daystar Life Center wishes to thank the people who contributed so generously to the relief effort for the victims of Hurricane Andrew.
The outpouring of aid that came into our Spring Hill Daystar was astonishing. The people of Spring Hill can be justly proud of their concern for those in need.
Voters should note fire district's plan
Editor: The three-phase plan of the Spring Hill Fire and Rescue District is unfolding as planned.
First, its income continues to be based on assessed valuation, as it wanted. This automatically increases its income as more houses are built and inflation sets in. Second, it now wants total independence so the district can do as it pleases and not have a county government to keep it under control. Third, it then will request a referendum to raise its taxable limit under threat of poor service if the district doesn't get it.
The district's latest "bare bones" budget was quietly increased to the present taxable limit, so this referendum soon will follow.
All organizations that operate with tax dollars must have a system for control. If the voters grant the Spring Hill Fire and Rescue District its independence, control will be lost and phase 3 will begin.
Spring Hill residents had better wake up and pay attention to this "master plan." It has been going according to schedule so far.