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WE CAN'T HANDLE INCREASED TAXES

Re: Tight budget, tough decisions - story, Sept. 5

Clearwater City Council members George Cretekos, John Doran and Carlen Petersen should be ashamed of themselves to even think of raising taxes. I own the Country Harvest Restaurant in Clearwater, and I can't handle any more increases. My employees (those who are left) can't handle any more increases, and my customers (those who are left) can't handle any more increases. And my neighbors can't handle any more increases. Enough is enough!

This will only contribute to increased unemployment, increased home foreclosures and more businesses closing down. The total irresponsibility displayed by these council members will lead to no benefit for the city of Clearwater.

This fiscal insanity must end. The supposed city leaders must get the city back to a sustainable organization and stop spending. I don't know everything that is in the budget, but I see roundabouts being built on roads that see very little traffic. I see a pension/benefit package for employees second to no one. I can't imagine they could not find somewhere else to make these cuts.

They keep claiming they hear from constituents who say raise taxes, but what about me? They never mention hearing from me and all of the other ones I am sure are writing to the city or their local newspapers. They need to follow the lead of Mayor Frank Hibbard and council member Paul Gibson, who want to cut taxes, not raise them.

Steve Trizis, Largo

Editor's note: Thefinal public hearing on the proposed 2010 budget will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday in City Hall, 112 S Osceola Ave., Clearwater.

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Re: Tight budget, tough decisions - story, Sept. 5

Golfers deserve more than others?

The mayor and City Council have turned a deaf ear to the citizens of Clearwater. They say they have to raise the tax millage rate for the city and close several buildings, including the Morningside Recreation Center. They say the city doesn't have the $70,000 to maintain it. They voted to close and demolish it.

They spent $2.1 million to buy the Clearwater Country Club clubhouse instead of letting a private firm take it over. I wonder how much it now costs the taxpayers of Clearwater to maintain the clubhouse for the benefit of a few golfers? The City Council also spent another $2.3 million for the purchase of the Royalty Theatre so some residents wouldn't have to drive across town to attend functions at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

It seems Clearwater city government is catering to a select few citizens instead of spending $70,000 to maintain a recreational facility used by citizens of all age groups - not to mention that the Morningside Recreation Center is used as a polling place for all our elections.

Our city government seems to forget that citizens are voting taxpayers and taxpayers want more for their tax dollars than golf and theater performances.

Jim Coraggio, Clearwater

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Re: Dunedin pool should stay open - letter, Sept. 1

Foresight could have saved pool

I just read Carolyn Willey's letter regarding the closing of Dunedin's Highlander Pool starting this Oct. 1 until April of 2010. I cannot believe that the city manager couldn't come up with some alternative to closing the only municipal pool we have.

The city should have had the foresight and followed the economic trends before accepting funds and grants to build the Dunedin Community Center, Martin Luther King Center and the Hale Center on such large scales. The maintenance costs alone must be way out of sight. With the money saved by having smaller buildings they could have built a completely new state-of-the-art, enclosed pool.

The people that are going to suffer as a result of this are mostly working-class families that rely on low-cost recreation and those that need the wonderful physical therapy that water exercise provides.

Dunedin touts itself as being on the cutting edge but when it comes to practicalities, prioritizing, and thoughtful planning, they definitely miss the mark.

Karen Weibel Burton, Dunedin

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YOUR VOICE COUNTS

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our Web site at www.tampabay.com/letters, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

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