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Proposal to build homes on wild island upsetting

Published February 15, 2004

Editor: There is a 5-acre island surrounded by 17 acres of water in our subdivision. It is being sold to a builder proposing 92 townhouses. Our wildlife, herons, osprey, pelicans, alligators, turtles, tern and fox will be uprooted. All in the name of money.

Our sewer system is already overtaxed. There is heavy traffic along Grand Boulevard, especially since the new subdivision on Perrine Ranch Road started. The impact on our wetlands will be devastating. Greed has taken over in the name of progress, with no regard for the environment or the wildlife. Where is the wildlife supposed to go? Most end up as roadkill.

I hope the sellers try to understand another perspective besides money. A wildlife sanctuary or park would be wonderful. But then, no one would make any money from it.

-- Kathleen Taylor, Holiday

Utility's change of heart welcome

Editor: Residents of Trinity and other communities should be very glad to hear that Aloha Utilities is finally saying that it will do whatever the Public Service Commission decides.

After years of legal logrolling and foot-dragging, the utility soon will be forced to comply with the PSC rulings and new federal law. I believe the consumer should not have to pay the bill for the needed water processing improvements. Rather, Aloha Utilities should forced to use federal money from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has money set aside for local communities to improve water processing.

Sen. Mike Fasano has tried to offer this money to Aloha in the past, but Aloha refused on the grounds it did not want government oversight. Aloha needs government oversight and accountability to the customer. The days of ripping off the consumer with horrible water should be over soon.

-- Dave Rowan, Trinity

Free tax help is available

Editor: Benita Newton's piece on the extremely high cost of refund anticipation loans (and tax preparation fees) does well to focus attention on this issue.

Unfortunately, the article does not provide the information that could help many avoid this huge cost, simply by knowing where to get help.

The IRS and AARP Tax Aide programs provide free tax preparation assistance, complete with electronic filing of returns.

Taxpayers are treated with dignity and given the same services they would receive at a paid preparer, minus the costs.

Volunteers are trained by the IRS and work in all the counties in the bay area. Locations are available by calling either the IRS number 1-800 829-1040 or the AARP hot line, 1-888-227-7669.

In Pasco County alone, there are 10 locations available for free tax help, staffed by over 60 volunteers. Last year, more than 4,000 tax returns were prepared for seniors, disabled and low- and middle-income taxpayers.

If you would like to volunteer for this program, we need your help, especially if you are good with computers or have some tax preparation experience.

-- William F. Humphrey, district coordinator, Pasco County IRS VITA and AARP Tax Aide

Editorial on Aloha was accurate

Re: Aloha water isn't up to snuff - fix it, Feb. 12 editorial

Editor: It was great to read your editorial regarding Aloha Utilities in Pasco County. You decribed almost perfectly what the average Aloha customer has been experiencing for the past eight years or longer to my knowledge.

I am an Aloha customer. I have experienced the situations described in your editorial. I have written complaints to the utility, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Public Service Commission. All of them have been ignored. I have even written to Gov. Jeb Bush without any results. I have testified at several Aloha rate hearings in Tallahassee along with all of the hearings in Pasco County. The state of Florida has ignored completely everything I have told them, and has always excused Aloha, and granted all they asked for until the current rate case.

Your editorial was the first to tell it like it is. Aloha does not have the desire or capability to supply water that an average customer would deem to be of acceptable quality. It is time for the state of Florida to stand up for the customer.

Water being the most important of all human requirements, we should get water from our taps that is of quality that is acceptable to the customer. Not only should Aloha be prohibited from supplying water of the current quality, but the state of Florida should look at its responsibility to its citizens.

-- Edward Wood, New Port Richey [Last modified February 15, 2004, 01:15:45]

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