Today's Letters: Budget cuts lack common sense

Published April 30, 2007

Re: Budget proposal trims $4.4-million story, April 26

Have our Clearwater officials really lost it with these proposals? They have spent hundreds of thousands on studies to figure out what to do about downtown Clearwater and still do not have it right! They have developed Clearwater Beach to the point that it looks like Miami Beach. They made a roundabout that was a fiasco. They have allowed the development of every inch of space in the city of Clearwater to the extent that water is a problem, traffic congestion is horrendous and hurricane evacuation would be impossible. This development was all made in the name of raising tax revenue.

If these officials think we do not have crime in this city, they have their heads in the beach sand. You have wall to wall people; you have a crime rate. It is only because of the overworked police officers that we are able to contain it. Oh, and it makes real sense to cut school resource officers and the Officer Friendly program in the wake of Virginia Tech. We should not be cutting the police force or firefighters but increasing them.

If city officials are using some sort of study to justify the elimination of services, who should believe the conclusions after the disastrous results of past studies?

So, Clearwater officials, here is where the cuts should come: your salaries. No more development you cannot possibly support.

Be cost-efficient - I do not want to see one of your workers digging a hole while three workers watch. All your personnel should be optimizing every minute of their work time like the rest of us do to pay for all your past follies.

You all got us into this mess, now listen to the people who pay your salaries.

Pat Dalton, Clearwater

Re: Budget proposal trims $4.4-million

Where does all the tax money go?

In 2005 I moved with my children into the Morningside/Meadows neighborhood in Clearwater. The price was comparable to the house that I moved from, but because the Save Our Homes cap is not portable, my taxes have increased from $1, 800 per year to $4, 700.

Because of the instability of property values over the last five years, the city and county have received nothing short of a windfall in tax dollars. Now that the politicians are finally waking up and attempting to lower taxes, City Manager Bill Horne has recommended cutting several of our long-established amenities, including the Morningside Recreation Center.

How did these amenities operate prior to the tax windfall? I understand that the costs of insurance and fuel have increased, but so have the fees that are charged to the public for use of the pools as well as swimming, gymnastics and the many other classes offered, which should sustain the center.

It's simple math, Mr. Horne. Maybe we could eliminate your position and allow Mayor Frank Hibbard to absorb your responsibilities. That might save us a few tax dollars.

Sandra Lloyd Gordon, Clearwater

Re: Short-term rentals can go on story, April 21 and Short-term rentals are economic asset letter, April 29

Rental ruling is irresponsible

After living on Clearwater Beach for 30-plus years and owning property in downtown, I've witnessed it all, from the fight with Scientology to the squirting roundabout.

But this one takes the cake. Now if you have enough money, slick lawyers and a judge who's scared of them, you can do just about whatever you want.

Since when is a law able to be completely ignored just because it hasn't been enforced in a while and it's too vague? Just what exactly does that mean? Can I go to the courthouse, look up all the laws that haven't been enforced for, say, 10 years, and go out and break them and not worry? I don't think so.

How could you come up with such a stupid and irresponsible ruling? I was always taught a law is a law - period! But here's what the residential motel owners on Clearwater Beach say (about short-term rental homes): It's been going on for a long time.

That's not true and they know it. Up until about three years ago, you never heard of weekly rentals. It all happened after the big rise in property values, Internet advertising and big profits to be made, to the tune of $2, 000 to $3, 000 per week.

Then there's the bit about carefully screening the renters. Now there is a reason to disregard the law if I ever heard one.

The residents of Clearwater Beach and the city should be outraged and ready to fight this till the end. It should stop now! The law should be upheld as it was written, not bent and twisted to the residential motel owners' advantage. "Residential neighborhood" should mean exactly that.

Steve Osburg, Clearwater

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