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Letters to the Editors

With politicians, it's anything to get tax increase

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 8, 2001

Editor: After reading the quotes from the county commissioners and County Administrator Richard Wesch regarding the sales tax issue, I am compelled to write again.

"The tax will be more palatable to voters if the revenue went to more than just water-quality projects," Commissioner Jim Fowler was quoted as saying. "I think that would be a selling point this time around," said Commissioner Roger Batchelor. And our $95,000-plus, Mr. Wesch said, "Commissioners could visit local communities and ask what other projects should be paid for with the tax money." Wesch continued, "Maybe it's sidewalks in Floral City, maybe it's sidewalks in Beverly Hills. We could identify those community groups, walk in and say, "What is of interest to you?' "

Commissioner Vicki Phillips said "The retirees in the Central Ridge area may be the toughest to sell, but those voters might warm to the idea if some of the funds also went to widening County Roads 486 and 491 to four lanes ahead of the 2003 schedule."

In other words, "Throw us a bone and after the bone is paid for, the money is ours to spend as we see fit." Anything to get the tax increase.

Some of our officials seem to subscribe to the political idea that some of the people can be fooled all the time, and those are the people we target.

We moved to Citrus County to live in a small-town, rural environment. I would like to see the commissioners strive to keep it that way. Much of the "improvements" they propose will only hasten the change of our rural life to one like our communities to the south.

Citrus County is growing at a rapid rate. All the people required homes. All the new homes pay an impact fee and even more important, these homes add to the tax base and that goes on forever. Isn't that enough? The 1-percent tax increase will add $7-million to the $100-million budget. Where do they go when this is gone? The only way to prevent politicians from spending your money is to take it away from them.

To recent letter writer Mr. Gangler. I intend to be here as long as I can. I suggest you get your head out of the sand and see what your elected officials are doing with your money. If you wish to jump start on the quality of life you seem to want, just move a few miles south and you will find it.
-- Douglas McBurney, Inverness

Former candidate gleans items of interest in editor's column

Editor: Re: These 5 billboards were born to be bad, March 25 column by Editor Greg Hamilton:

Thanks to Mr. Hamilton for his timely article concerning the billboard blight in Citrus County. I found a couple of other items of interest in the article:

1. I now understand what happened to me in November's elections; I never figured out that I was running against Property Appraiser Ron Schultz!

2. The billboard on State Road 44 doesn't belong to me; it belongs to, and is under the total control of, the advertising company/owner. 3. Endorsing Kentucky Fried Chicken? No way! My taste runs toward Oyster's fried mullet and hushpuppies.

I don't figure the sign will change until the advertising company finds a new renter. Until that time, folks can ignore my picture and enjoy looking at my beautiful granddaughter.
-- Lee Cooper, Crystal River (and former candidate for Citrus County Tax Collector)

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