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LOCAL LEADERS APPEAR CLUELESS

Re: Cities honing budget axes, story, Jan. 31

Your article regarding the effect upon the cities of the passage of Amendment 1, and the initial response of the elected officials and city staffs makes me wonder if they have any economic expertise or ever read the newspaper.

Anybody with common sense (no college degree required) would have had a plan to implement an expense reduction the next day! What have they been doing the last few months?

Even more startling is the "sudden" realization, by some, that reduction in property values will further reduce the receipt of local tax revenues.

Regardless of whether Amendment 1 passed, the substantial reduction in housing values over the past six months translates into less property tax revenue. It appears they haven't even begun to comprehend or address that effect upon the cities.

I'll bet they haven't even thought about additional revenue reductions resulting from slowing sales tax receipts, from which they derive revenue. Anybody who pays attention would also conclude that if sales tax revenues are down, and they are, then Penny for Pinellas revenues will also be down.

Do any of them comprehend what's happening throughout Florida? Apparently not, because they seem to have been living on another planet!

Putting a hiring freeze in effect is just a Band-Aid. The real world would reorganize the departments and restructure the entire organization to reduce overheads. Immediately!

The huge increase in property tax revenues over the past few years only served to engender uncontrolled spending, and they just can't stop. They spent money on things that require ongoing costs rather than projects which would promote efficiency. They gave no thought to the long-run consequences of funding these projects, i.e., additional maintenance, labor , overhead, utility costs, etc.

Private businesses that do this go bankrupt.

The article only serves to point out how incompetent local government really is. Why don't you suggest they be required to read the Local & State sections of your newspaper and then test them on comprehension like we do our children. It couldn't hurt!

Jim Harpham, Palm Harbor

Re: Cities honing budget axes,story, Jan. 31

Too late to say no to Amendment 1

I voted against Amendment 1, and, of all people, I should have been voting for it. Our house has had the tax cap from day one. We pay about half as much in taxes as some of our newer neighbors. We will get to take our cap with us if we decide to move. So why did I vote against it?

There is nothing in the amendment that limits government taxing power. In the St. Petersburg Times, a Clearwater City Council member was said to have made a statement that Clearwater might have to consider a property tax increase to more or less make ends meet. What other local governments will consider raising taxes to make ends meet?

People will say if they do this, we will vote them out of office. But look at it realistically. Just how many people run for local public office these days? Two members of the Clearwater council were re-elected unopposed. I believe in the last county election there were three seats up for re-election. One of three seats had, I believe, five people running and the other two seats were unopposed.

I believe the amendment should have been voted down and the state government should have created something better. But that is too late, so all we can do is hope.

John Blechschmidt,Clearwater

Candidates did too much calling

Thank goodness the primaries are over, but this was one election where the candidates or their cronies had no respect for people's privacy. They called all hours and too many times.

Just because someone is a registered voter, they shouldn't have to be hounded day and night, and especially when they have an unlisted number on the house phone and it's ringing off the wall. They also invaded the cell phone and the office phone, and you finally have to just quit answering.

What if someone had an emergency and wanted to get through at the same time? And they are wasting your time, telling you about all the negative things about other candidates.

It seems that the do-not-call numbers become call lists for all nonprofit and political campaign phone banks. As I said, what's happened to an individual's right to privacy?

Fran Glaros-Sharp, Clearwater

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