Today's Letters: Tax problems not local leaders' fault

Published May 31, 2007

I might be the only person in the county, possibly the whole of Florida, but I stand by my thought that local government has gotten the raw end of the blame for the need of property tax legislation. It's too easy to point fingers, which in my opinion reeks of self-interest and grandstanding by our servants in Tallahassee, puffing their chests and demonstrating the importance and prowess of the problem-solving proficiency they portend to have.

I know it's a trite topic, but insurance relief is the pinnacle of poor leadership from state government. When talking about blame, can the folks in Tallahassee convince us homeowners that it wasn't partly their shortsightedness that lead to that crisis?

The proverbial monkey has been put on the backs of county commissioners for budget restraint. Our state legislators say local government must change and rein in frivolous spending. If they're going to take any credit for solving high property taxes, they can also take a good part of the blame for not addressing the situation sooner. Why have they waited until it has become another crisis for homeowners? Has the state shown fiscal responsibility of its own? Gov. Charlie Crist certainly got his point across on frivolous spending.

The importance of Tuesday's County Commission workshop for next year's budget is apparent with the attendance of Rep. Rob Schenck. It's a disappointment that Sen. Mike Fasano has a prior engagement, but I commend him for honoring it. Sen. Paula Dockery's absence would be another disregard for the county. I hope her schedule will allow her attendance. I thank Rep. Schenck for his dedication to us.

Although it's not typical for refreshments to be served, it would be quite appropriate to serve bread and water, representing how spending cuts will still leave county services on a strict economic diet.

Ron Rae, Spring Hill

Values up; taxes to follow May 26 story

Why are property appraisals rising?

Is there any other way for our elected officials to insult the intelligence of the people in Hillsborough and Hernando and other counties? It is beyond my comprehension to understand the arrogance and self-serving interests of the people we elect to office. Why is there such a disregard for the wishes of the people in the mind-set of our elected officials and government administrators? We vote people into office for change; we give them a mandate because we feel someone is finally listening. So, what happens when they completely disregard what we requested of them?

Is it now the function of the property appraiser to assist county administrators and commissioners in their quest to grow government? Instead of applying property appraisal formulas to establish true value property, appraisers are helping manipulate tax revenues to meet the whims and excess spending of our government agencies.

We're told our assessed values will increase 13 percent in the unincorporated areas of both counties. This means a person paying $2, 000 a year will be paying $2, 260 a year, even though the market value on his or her home has declined. The term "appraisal, " based on my understanding, includes an evaluation of market conditions. How can the property appraisers in both these counties consciously increase appraisal values?

The last time I read the paper we had a market glut of resale homes and new construction; typically, in a supply-and-demand market with an oversupply, prices go down. Why are appraisals going up?

I believe the property appraisers should respond to this question so that the people can understand their reasoning.

Vito J. Delgorio Sr., Spring Hill

Animal shelters need our help

I would like to encourage everyone in Hernando County to help our local animal shelters. They need donations, supplies and volunteers, especially the SPCA of Hernando County at 9075 Grant St., Brooksville, which is a no-kill and a nonprofit agency run solely on donations.

I am not affiliated with the SPCA myself, but eight months ago my husband and I adopted an adorable cat named Ramona from there. We had to have our cat put to sleep a month before and wanted to help another animal in need. My husband was killed in an automobile accident in March. Animals are near and dear to both of our hearts. I know in my heart my husband would want nothing more than to see these homeless and adorable animals, which are so in need, helped. I am donating to the SPCA in honor of my husband.

Donations don't need to be much. They don't need to be money, either. It could be just a bag of dog or cat food, a bag of litter or volunteering.

These animals need us so much, and we need them too. I know my animals have helped me through this terrible time in my life, and maybe there is one out there for you too.

Hey kids, school's out. How about a few hours at the shelter playing with the animals so they are used to people and can adapt better when adopted? The SPCA's phone number is 596-7000.

Jennifer Houtz, Spring Hill

Walk raises funds for cancer society

For some, the "M word" means money. For me, M is synonymous with May, Mother's Day and mammograms. Each May, I make my yearly appointment for my mammogram. This only makes sense, because this year in the state of Florida breast cancer will strike more than 13, 100 women; more than 2, 400 will die. Every three hours, one woman in Florida dies from breast cancer. Almost 1-million women older than 40 have never had a mammogram.

Early detection and treatment are key to extending the number of survivors and the length of survival. The mission of the American Cancer Society is to prevent cancer, save lives and diminish suffering through research, education, advocacy, service and early detection. This all takes money.

One way the American Cancer Society raises funds is through its annual 5K walk, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Money from this walk helps fund services right in your community. An article in the May 14 edition of USA Today indicated that the American Cancer Society does a great job in this area. The money goes for research and patient services. For every dollar earned, only 11 cents goes for fundraising.

This year, the fifth annual walk for Pasco and Hernando counties will be held Oct. 21 at Little Steeple Chase Park in Dade City. By joining others in this worthwhile cause, you can do your part to help stamp out this dreaded disease. We owe it to our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and ourselves to get involved. Just think: The life you save might be your own.

Individuals, businesses or organizations can learn more about setting up a team, volunteering for this event or providing a business' sponsorship by calling toll-free at 1-800-940-1969, ext. 105, or contact me at commpat@aol.com.

If you are a survivor of breast cancer, we want to know. You can register at www.cancer.org/stridesonline.

Pat Mulieri, Gowers Corner