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As taxes go, Penny is just chump change

It really amazes me _ all this hullabaloo over the Penny for Pinellas tax thing. Expensive, full-color signs planted everywhere, major stories in our newspapers, lots of debate in all quartersand about what? Keeping a penny tax we're already paying.

I can't remember a peep out of anyone about the myriad of taxes that have found their way onto our GTE and Florida Power bills. Have you noticed the list of taxes on our GTE bills? Teleaccess act charge, FCC access charge, county 911 funding fee, federal excise tax, city utility tax, city franchise fee, Florida intrastate gross receipts tax. Good grief! On a recent bill, the various taxes added up to $5.99 on a bill that totalled only $19.70.

The government might as well "slide" it onto our utility bills and let the utilities collect it for them. Heck! We'll probably never even notice it among the gaggle of other taxes.

Vincent DeMattia, Clearwater

Penny is well worth it

As mayor of Largo for the past four years, I have seen the value of the Penny for Pinellas firsthand in our city. Your city government is quite aware of the citizens' demand for prudent and responsible government. This is why the Penny for Pinellas makes so much sense.

Every step of the way, your city has been a good steward of these funds. Should any citizens care to know where these dollars have been spent, they are welcome to ask. Here is a brief review:

Penny for Pinellas funds have built lighting poles for ball fields, the Southwest Baseball field, and renovations at the Southwest Recreation Complex and North East Park. The Highland Complex surface water management and recreation shelters exist today because of Penny funds.

Penny-funded road improvements include work on Rosery Road and Lake Avenue and the Wyatt Street, 17th Avenue and 142nd Avenue improvements. Downtown drainage enhancements would not have been funded without the Penny.

Public safety is a concern of our citizens. Police department vehicles were acquired with the Penny. Both the Fire Station No. 41 design as well as fire department vehicles were bought with the Penny. Police department radios and video equipment, which better serve our citizens, are here because of the Penny.

The Americans With Disabilities Act refurbishments, an unfunded federal mandate, were paid for with Penny for Pinellas funds.

Penny for Pinellas funds have been spent on improving the quality of life for Largo residents. These expenditures include the Largo Cultural Center, Largo Central Park and improvements to the Largo Community Center.

There are other examples of how the Penny helps Largo. For instance, the Penny for Pinellas means tourists and winter residents fund nearly 38 percent of our infrastructure. Without the Penny, these visitors simply do not share the burden.

I hope you take a moment to think how the Penny has helped you. As a taxpaying citizen, and as your mayor, I ask your support of its extension on Tuesday.

Thomas D. Feaster, mayor, Largo

Make reclaimed water a priority

We should vote against the Penny for Pinellas on Tuesday, not because the projects are unworthy but because our need for safe drinking water is my top priority and it should be for everyone.

Do we want chemically treated water returned to us through faucets as drinking water?

The availability of reclaimed water for lawn and garden, etc., is the answer. It is expensive but it could be financed over a 10- or 15-year period _ the same period the Penny would be in effect _ with a very low interest rate. It is feasible.

If, as some would suggest, we do away with lawns and gardens, what would be the effect on the carbon dioxide and oxygen exchange?

Betty E. Williams, Clearwater

Tyndall should pay for his crime

I could hardly believe what I was reading in the paper: Bruce Tyndall, one of our high-profile county commissioners, was sentenced to probation and $250 in fines for distributing cocaine?

No wonder we can't solve the drug problem in this country with nonsense like this going on. Let's get serious, folks: The man was caught red-handed giving cocaine to two women in a hotel on Sand Key, right under our noses.

I wonder if it would have made any difference to his supporters in the courtroom if those two women were there instead of one of their kids. The people I feel sorry for are the many law enforcement officers that work hard every day to control this problem and have to put up with such nonsense.

Don Calhoun, Palm Harbor

Column misses the point

Re: Backyard wildlife allowed, but what of the neighbors? Column, March 17.

You suggest common sense is needed regarding the regulation of wildlife. Is it really common sense to allow those without experience and education to regulate subjects requiring a great deal of experience and education?

While it is true Mr. (Vernon) Yates moved "wildlife" into an area populated by non-wildlife, a lot of the facts do not appear in the public discussion. One of the most important of those is the fact that he checked with the county before buying the property. I doubt either he or county officials could have predicted the uproar that ensued after the purchase, though.

Was this property zoned agricultural before the condos were built? If true, why the outraged tone regarding agricultural zoning? You chose to disregard the fact that Mr. Yates and the previous owners could have placed noise- and odor-producing animals on the property any time they desired, and they wouldn't have needed to check with a soul.

An issue regarding dust and a manure pile occurred in the same neighborhood a number of years ago. I would have wanted to be present when the county's "air quality control" department tried to prove manure was an air pollutant in a court of law.

Mike Lowe, Rosebud Ranch, Largo