I have just received the annual water quality mailing from Pinellas County. I feel that while this information is important and should be easily available for public review, the delivery method is wasteful.
In this time of tightened purse strings and environmental awareness, this distribution of valuable information wasted both money and resources. It is printed on a specialty sized paper (extra cost to purchase and to print), using colored inks (granted, two-color rather than four, but still more expensive than black ink only).
It was also mailed separately from regular utility bills. If the bulk mailing were to cost only 25 cents for each of the 115,000 pieces printed, this creates a postage cost of $28,750. At 10 cents each, the cost would still be $11,500.
In addition to these costs, there is the waste of paper, the chemicals in the ink and cleaning processes involved, and fossil fuels used in delivery. How many of these will go right into the trash?
I suggest that in the future, the county announce the availability of this report in its water bill mailings in the already included "Utilitalk" flier. This announcement could tell readers where on the county website the information can be viewed, as well as a phone number that can be called to order a printed copy.
For those who are not direct bill customers (residents who have a landlord or some other person pay the bill), I suggest that local TV and radio stations, county government TV and local print media run public service announcements or even news stories. This would keep costs, both monetary and environmental, down to an absolute minimum.
I urge readers to contact their county commissioners and county administrator to ask them to find ways of reducing costs through technology. Paperless utility billing would be an excellent start.
Ann Luce, Clearwater
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Ambulance rides to hurt a little more - June 20, story
Perhaps county can cough up 10%
As much as I can appreciate the need for ambulances and other medical transport options, I can't help but question raising resident fees right now, and by 10.15 percent.
My salary has not increased at all in the past seven years, and I know for a fact that the income of most other individuals hasn't either, if they are even lucky enough to have a job right now.
I sometimes wonder if those who figure these increases take into consideration the individuals who would pay this, in this economy right now. There are many other ways to increase the county's income. And to state that a portion comes from Medicare, insurance, etc. - who pays those premiums that are also increasing without our annual incomes rising?
I'd like to see a complete breakdown on what the county spends on everything, including office supplies. Then work down that list to eliminate that which could help pay the additional 10.15 percent.
Leila Friedman, St. Petersburg
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