Today's Letters: Why must Largo be so different?

Published August 30, 2007

Re: Truth in Millage notices.

The Largo City Commission strikes again.

Did you look at your TRIM (Truth in Millage) notice? The county aggregate proposed tax rate down 7.9 percent. The Water Management District down 5.7 percent. The Juvenile Welfare Board down 4.5 percent. The Transit Authority down 5.1 percent.

And just guess what decrease Largo proposed: 3.4 percent!

If the county can reduce by 7.9 percent, why can't Largo? Because the egotistical City Commission refuses to reduce spending and live within a reasonable budget, that's why.

Maybe these commission members need to be reminded who put them in office and who can take them out. Be sure to vote in the city election on Nov. 6.

James Steele,Largo

Lower my taxes, or I'll sell a condo

I have been told by many that this letter will do no good because I am only one insignificant individual, but I feel I represent many.

In December 1994, I purchased my condo, built in 1984, in Clearwater Beach for $185,000. My property taxes were $3,500 per year. We considered this high, but affordable for Florida property.

Today, the value of my condo (from the proposed 2007 county tax appraisal) is $730,000. That is just short of 400 percent of the original purchase price. The proposed taxes are $15,241.53. (They were $14,588.41 this past year.) That is 435 percent of the original tax amount. The unit is the same unit with no real improvements.

Enough is enough. The tax situation in Pinellas County is absolutely out of control. We had saved for years to get a place in Clearwater, a place we considered our entire life as the most beautiful area. Now it is impossible for us to be able to live in our lifetime dream place.

We will be forced to sell our dream and move to the mountains of North Carolina, where property is reasonable, unless something can be done quickly. This seems to be the situation for many people in Florida, particularly those in Pinellas County. I am told by many that the problem is a refusal to lower the tax millage rate.

Officials, please review my proposed county taxes for 2008 and lower them to $10,000. A slight reduction will do no good!

Please take this letter seriously. I don't want this tax situation to run another individual out of Clearwater and the Florida area.

Our heart is broken!

Richard F. Hunter, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Re: Neighbor against neighbor story, Aug. 26

Reporter's math, facts don't add up

This was a good human interest story and should be received that way. However, as in most articles, if the facts are not correct, the impressions made on the reader just add to more confusion.

The reporter usually referenced the transaction as the possible sale of the Palm Hill Country Club mobile home park.

There is a big difference between selling the park and buying the land, which is encumbered with the existing ground lease. The reporter made it sound like the action of the board of selling the park would result in the residents losing their homes.

The reporter said that the board and "little more than half the residents support the sale." In fact, 66.13 percent of the voting residents supported the purchase of the land.

The reporter further indicated the "price was too steep," so residents wanted to wait for the 2010 appraisal, but she failed to mention that the price was supported by the lender's appraisal and five other comparable sales, and only the one relied on by the No Way Group supported their wait-and-see position.

The author indicated that the lower-income residents needed more time, but failed to mention that the board approved a financial-assistance program for that group of residents. She indicated that the critics want taken into account what residents already have paid for the improvements, so the price should be reduced, but she failed to mention that the Taylors never got a dime of that money since they were never the developer of the park.

In any event, I believe she did accurately report the strained atmosphere in the park, but made it sound like the park was divided down the middle, when that is not the case.

I hope you will print this letter in its entirety to correct some of the misleading statements. I am a member of the board of directors.

Bill Stephenson,Largo

Editor's note: Of the 1,096 shareholders who make up the Palm Hill Country Club cooperative, 625 residents, or 57 percent of all shareholders, voted in favor of the purchase. Three hundred sixty-eight shareholders voted against the purchase and the remaining 103 shareholders did not cast a vote, for a total of 993 "voting residents." Of those "voting residents," 62.94 percent voted yes (625) and 37.06 percent voted no (368). The number of votes cast was supplied to the Times by board chairman Allen Rudden and board attorney Joe Gaynor.

Your voice counts

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