Today's Letters: Beach community has deteriorated
By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published June 27, 2007
Clearwater used to be the family beach, and that's why we couldn't wait to move here permanently. Our children visited the recreation center, swam and fished, and we enjoyed walking through the community and beach. People smiled and greeted visitors in passing.
Now, all manner of environmental pollution - the human type - assaults the senses. Police are frequently called to North Mandalay. Our community is dying.
On the beach, filthy language and dangerous skim boards accost, while my front yard is flagrantly used as a urinal and trash heap for the refuse of the beer-orgies.
Instead of the occasional, ineffective appearance of police cars, tandem officers should have a routine patrol in a four-wheel drive vehicle up and down the beach to personally confront the abusers.
If unmanageable taxes and insurance weren't enough, why would any respectable person want to be here?
V. J. Jackson, Clearwater
Officials must stop spending
With the recently ordered rollback of property taxes, local governments are threatening residents with cuts to vital and basic services.
Local governments need to stop their unchecked spending. The Clearwater City Council seems to forget it has spent and continues to spend millions of dollars on frivolous projects at our expense.
Who can forget the beach roundabout - the millions of tax dollars expended to build and then revamp it? The then-City Commission approved a fountain in the center, which wasted water and caused traffic accidents.
They invited developers to tear down existing motels and hotels along Clearwater Beach. These same developers are now balking at building new hotels and condos due to increased real estate taxes and the insurance bills. The council has managed to remove the income these hotels were producing. This is causing the residents to have to make up the difference.
The final straw is the Beach Walk project. They have managed to remove most of the parking along Clearwater Beach. Now they must turn to the same developers who devastated Clearwater Beach and beg them to build new parking for the beach.
It's time we hold our elected officials responsible for their actions. Instead of spending tax dollars on any whim they choose, they should be investing in better services. The money they have spent on these fiascoes would make up any deficit a tax rollback would create.
Our government officials seem to forget they are there to serve the best interests of the people who elected them.
Jim Carr, Clearwater
City needs a chief financial officer
The politicians' standard cry over reducing the budget is always the threat of the school, police and fire budgets being slashed. I thought those were essentials in any city budget.
Great consternation and thought tells us that $4.4-million can be cut from the budget. No mention of the pet projects financed by the taxpayer: millions of dollars improving Cleveland Street in downtown; close to $30-million on the Beach Walk; $500, 000 subsidizing the landscaping of a hotel on Court Street. All seem to be discretionary spending and not necessarily productive, and certainly extravagant compared to police and fire protection and educating our children.
The Jolley Trolley is another example of money not well-utilized - cute idea, but makes no economic sense.
The demolition of the senior citizen center in Clearwater was pure waste; we still need a senior citizen center - not a new, extravagant, state-of-the-art complex. Morningside Recreation Center is utilized by homeowners and has been for years; it needs maintenance but budget constraints threaten to close that down.
For a city the size of Clearwater, we possibly have too many employees. There is always money to pay a consultant a hefty fee to advise the City Council members on additional ways to spend the taxpayers' money.
Spending money does not take great talent; budgeting necessities takes both talent and responsibility. I would suggest what Clearwater is in great need of is a chief financial officer to retain some fiscal responsibility for our budget. It might be taken under consideration for the county as well.
Dorie Sampson, Clearwater
Police, fire cuts will hurt city
Congratulations to the mayors of St. Petersburg and Tampa, who have assured their citizens there will be no budget cuts in the police and fire departments.
These mayors can distinguish between safety and services.
Their populations will remain safe while budget cuts are directed to less essential services.
Sadly, Clearwater's mayor, council members and city manager cannot see this distinction and do not recognize that the safety of Clearwater's citizens deserves the highest priority.
Clearwater's cuts in the police and fire departments invite the criminal element to our city. Our Police Department has been regarded as one of the finest in the nation.
How sad it is that that rating will surely suffer as the crime rate increases.
Constance Morgan, Clearwater