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City council missed the boat

Letters to the Editor
Published August 25, 2006


Re: City's reversal on boat slip vote raises questions, editorial, Sunday.

You are absolutely right. The Clearwater mayor and City Council members were covering for yet another bungled assignment by the city staff, and you put the spotlight on them all. The long-suffering citizens of Clearwater thank you.

The mayor and council need to understand that their loyalty is to we, the people, not the entrenched bureaucracy of City Hall. Effective management requires the ability to prevent a close association with the staff from interfering with the appropriate dispensation of discipline and punishment, when necessary.

If our leaders truly understood their mission, this change in the boat slip voting date would have been accompanied by a statement that read something like this:

"The council regrets to inform the public that the city is unprepared to carry forth in this matter on the previously announced schedule. An investigation will commence immediately to determine where the failure occurred, and the cause - be it of general methodology or specific decisionmaking - will be corrected."

David Spath, Clearwater

Real math says slips plan a bad deal for taxpayers

Re: City delays vote on boat slips, story, Sunday.

I read the article and I was dumbfounded that the reporter states that the $10.9-million project will "be paid for mostly through boat slip rentals."

It's obvious that the reporter either didn't take any courses in economics or just passed on what the city wants the voters to believe.

Basic math tells me that there will be an investment of $85,000 per slip, which will require annual revenue (interest on the debt, principal on the debt, maintenance, administration and depreciation) of around $30,000 per year per slip, or about $2,500 per month slip rental or other revenue.

This marina will have to compete with private slip rentals that charge about $500 to $600 per month (for large slips), which includes property taxes and income taxes paid by private marina owners.

The next thing they'll tell you is that it really isn't going to cost the Clearwater taxpayers that much because they'll get the federal or state government to help pay for it because that money is "free." It ain't "free." In either case, the federal or state government will go out and borrow the money so the taxpayers will pay for this boondoggle.

No wonder Clearwater has the second-highest property tax rate in the county. Sounds like another roundabout, doesn't it?

Jim Harpham, Palm Harbor

What took so long to clear motorcycle crash?

Re: Biker critically injured in wreck, story, Tuesday.

Isn't anyone upset that S Clearwater-Largo Road was closed for 5½ hours Monday morning for a single motorcycle crash in which no one was killed?

It's obvious that the rider was speeding and a toxicology test will show if he was under the influence. So why couldn't this accident be cleared? Why were thousands of motorists held up and diverted?

What were the cops doing for 5½ hours? Talking about who they picked on their fantasy football team?

Thomas Plate, Largo

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