Today's Letters: Municipal marina enjoys advantages

Letters to the Editor
Published October 30, 2007

Re: Enterprise funds needto keep pace with costseditorial, Oct. 18

I would like to compliment the Times on its editorial regarding the underpricing of slip rental at the Clearwater City Marina.

I believe some additional facts need to be brought to the taxpayers' attention concerning the issues:

1. The municipal marinas (not just Clearwater's) are in competition with private marinas and have a huge advantage since they don't pay any local or federal taxes. I sure would like to run a competitive business where I don't have to pay taxes.

I hope the general taxpayer realizes that they are picking up the tab for the property and income taxes which would be paid by private ownership. Many thousands of dollars.

Other than it's always been this way, why is a municipal government in the marina business, which unfairly competes with the same people who are paying for municipal government?

2. At least Clearwater had enough sense to add a fee to cover some of the additional costs, such as use of the property and hopefully the depreciation cost for ultimate replacement, since it will need replacement in the future. Most other cities just ignore the obvious.

3. In a time when fuel costs are high and conservation is vital, they give the boaters a fuel discount. Why?

Clearwater City Council member George Cretekos' comment about it being unfair to business is absurd. How about high property taxes on the beach, which forced the closure of many businesses and resulted in fewer hotel rooms? How about the adverse effect on businesses due to the Beach Walk project? Brilliant marketing strategy!

The local politicians sit around defending gross inefficiencies while Rome burns. Example: I recently asked a very dedicated Clearwater employee why they were repeating a task that had just been done a few days before and the answer was: I didn't have anything to do so they sent me back to do it again even though it wasn't necessary.

I asked what they do in the off-season and was told they have them do odd jobs (definition: make work).

Yet the public officials keep threatening the taxpayers with reduced services and safety concerns. Hogwash. What they need is a good dose of efficiency.

If they would hire independent auditors (efficiency experts) to do operational reviews, they would save millions. Why haven't the staff people suggested this? The answer is obvious.

The truth is, most government is very inefficient since they don't have to compete or earn the revenue .

Jim Harpham, Palm Harbor

Mobile home parka nice place to live

In light of the recent power outage at Southern Comfort Mobile Home Park in Clearwater, as a resident there I just wanted to make a few comments. Besides all that has happened, it is really a rather nice place to live.

I have been here since 1999. With all the selling of mobile home parks, I asked the park's owner if he had sold it. He told me no. That tells me that he is compassionate to the residents.

During our recent outage, one story said, "Progress Energy officials said they repeatedly offered to take over maintenance of the underground power lines at Southern Comfort Mobile Home Park, but their proposals were rebuffed.

Progress Energy spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs said the park rejected their offers before the utility company could estimate the cost of the job." From what I understand from the landlord, that offer never happened. After all, what owner would ever reject something like that?

Most things don't last forever. Over time and years, they will deteriorate and that is just what happened. Since the park has been here more than 40 years, I think that says a lot for the park.

On the rent increase, that happens every year. It was a little more than expected, but still doable I think for most folks.

I'm really tired of the negative comments about mobile home parks. They aren't trailer parks. Trailers are for campers or for towing boats and hauling.

Sure, our rent will be about $500 a month, but it would be hard to find a place as nice as this elsewhere. We have a nice pool and laundry, round-the-clock security, and the park welcomes families and pets. So in retrospect, there's no place like home.

Deborah J. Adair,Clearwater