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Scouts made right decision to keep camp

I strongly support the decision made by the West Central Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America to retain ownership of Camp Soule.

I disagree with those who think the decision made by the council's executive board was "a loss for the community." The community is gaining from the Boy Scout program because it helps to mold America's youth into tomorrow's leaders for the betterment of our community. Furthermore, there are numerous state, county and city parks within Pinellas County to serve the public, whereas Camp Soule remains our county's only Boy Scout camp facility.

In addition, the camp _ which is open to boys and girls (Explorers) _ needs to be kept private property so the safety of our youth is ensured. The board's decision to refuse to sell the camp shows the character of the people and the program of scouting, a character that was not built upon greed, but upon the thinking and caring of others.

I thank them for caring about me and hope you will continue to support scouting and Camp Soule. It is truly a valuable asset.

John Metz, age 17, Eagle Scout, Clearwater

County gets its

pennies in other fees

So, the "tax-and-spend" Pinellas County commissioners want us to "renew" their "one-time-only" Penny for Pinellas.

Let me tell you about the "big pennies" they have extracted from me in the past 5{ years since I moved to Florida.

In 1990, I bought a lot here on which to build a new home. Then, in 1991, after I moved here I found out that the county commissioners had imposed a mandatory $5,500 impact fee _ just for the privilege of building a new home in Pinellas County.

So I decided against building a new home and bought an existing home in East Lake Woodlands. My taxes on my home have gone up more than $600 a year over the past 5{ years _ and that doesn't include 1997. In fact, in 10 years I will have paid more than $30,000 in property taxes alone.

And now they are tearing up Tampa Road at the entrance to East Lake Woodlands to build a new highway, after East Lake Woodlands and the rest of the area is built up. Why didn't they build it before _ say 10 or even 15 years ago _ at half the cost of building it today?

In 1995 I decided to get married and promptly found out that it costs $88.50 for a marriage license in Pinellas County.

And, of course, the last straw was last year when I decided to put my wife's name on the deed to our home. The county hit us up for another $342, just for adding her name.

Tom Mills, Oldsmar

Pinellas needs to put

current dollars to better use

On first review, the extension of the Penny for Pinellas sales tax looks attractive. So many worthwhile projects have been accomplished with this money, we are told. And each dollar goes only to Pinellas County. It does not make a round trip to Tallahassee and come back at 70 cents or less.

But after further consideration, I thought, why can these things everyone wants be done only with extra tax dollars? What is being done with the regular tax dollars? Has our government gotten so fat that the only way it can do these high-profile, nice projects the people want is with extra tax dollars? Why aren't they worked into the budget? Further, once these projects are built, won't the operating expenses go up to maintain them?

And planning specific projects 10 years in advance is difficult because population shifts and needs change as well as economic conditions. Ten years is too long an extension.

Some years ago, I figured the 6-cent sales tax cost our family of four $600 per year, minimum. At 7 cents, that's $700, a minimum of $100 per year more out of my pocket. Finally, what if the state decides to tax us another cent on the sales tax?

I think I'll say no to this one.

Louis J. Frangipane, Largo

Mayor should listen

to residents' complaints

Mayor Rita Garvey needs to listen. The residents of Clearwater Beach have spoken. There is no silent majority that she contends she represents. Why would residents turn down a beautification project that could give Clearwater Beach an upscale image if their concerns were not serious and justified? These people are not dumb; they are realistic and have forethought. They want the best for their community. They are asking you to do the same.

Don't let it turn into another Landmark Drive extension project where an eager-beaver attitude and poor planning has caused one delay after another, much to the detriment of nearby residents. Pennies are precious. We deserve to have them used wisely.

Roberta Stall, Clearwater

What will penny do

for Palm Harbor, East Lake?

Re: Funds allocation for Penny for Pinellas.

Your breakdown for Penny for Pinellas has a serious flaw. Nowhere on your map or your analysis do you take into account about 70,000 residents, notably those of us in Palm Harbor and East Lake.

Not one mention is made of the benefits we would derive from any of this, although we make up about 10 percent of the county's population and contribute a greater percentage to its tax base. You and the county totally disenfranchise us, and it is time you took a good, hard look at what you are doing.

East Lake needs a library. Palm Harbor could use a centrally located community center. We are larger than most cities, and you don't recognize it.

You want us to vote for the tax. Spell out what it will do for us.

Marvin Graff, Palm Harbor

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