© St. Petersburg Times, published June 26, 2001
Editor: I have lived in Holiday for 21 years and have never seen a park or pool built in our area.
The commissioners are looking at Wesley Chapel for a tennis complex with our tourist tax.
Don't you think you should start thinking of the other people in your county besides the people who have money? Our areas are younger people striving to make ends meet and bringing up families. We need neighborhood playgrounds and pools, not big complexes for the wealthy.
The schools have their property fenced off and closed like prisons. Why aren't these open to the children? Schools used to be meeting grounds for kids. You have to trust the children and give them something to strive for; they need a place to work off their energy. When I see the school on Sun Ray sitting all summer closed up, I say, what a waste of money. The schools could do without spending all this money if it's not used all the time.
Please, commissioners, build parks in neighborhoods so our children do not have to roam the streets.
As a child we always hung out at school playgrounds; our children also did the same. Let our grandchildren. Open up your eyes and do something in our areas, not miles away where if you don't drive, you don't go.
-- E.G. Barse, Holiday
Editor: Mr. George Jennings may have many ideas for spending this tourist tax, but the law restricts its purpose to attracting more tourists only. It also should be noted that only hotel users contribute to this tax, not county taxpayers, and it, therefore, is not part of the "county coffers."
When it is properly explained to the public, the proposed tennis center will be an excellent use of those tax dollars. It will attract major tennis tournaments, soccer matches, concerts, etc. and Pasco County will receive a portion of the ticket price. Therefore, we can only gain from this proposal.
County commissioners should vote yes on this proposal.
-- Alice Donovan, Port Richey
Editor: Pasco County taxpayers should be aware that $750,000 is about to be committed to a Saddlebrook Resort proposal to have Pasco County designated as the home of the Women's Tennis Association world headquarters.
I have just a few questions that may put doubts in our minds as to the value of this type of commitment.
Do you know where the headquarters is for the Men's World Tennis Association? (It's bigger.) Where is the NFL association headquarters? Where is the NBA association headquarters?
We now spend a total of about $80,000 per year for all Pasco promotions, which all taxpayers enjoy. What shall we cut from the proposed 2002 budget to come up with this money?
What will tennis fans do here in Pasco when they come to our one national event a year?
Give us a guarantee on tax revenue, not a cover of our losses as proposed.
-- Pat Moran, owner Comfort Inn of Port Richey, Tourist Development Council member
Editor: Ridge Road is a waste that must be defeated.
The federal government refused to issue Pasco County permits to destroy the Serenova Preserve with the Ridge Road Extension, so the county wastes several hundred thousand taxpayers' dollars to hire a lobbyist and attorney to con the federal government into permitting this destructive road.
Since the Ridge Road Extension is morally bankrupt for the health of our citizens, the Ridge Road widening and realignment is a foolish waste of our tax money. The road, east of Little to Moon Lake roads, clearly does not need enlargement. With all the urgent needs in the county, now is not the time for projects that look like pork.
The Ridge Road Extension ends at U.S. 41 in Land O'Lakes. If hurricane safety is the real motivation, build overpass bridges along state roads 52 and 54 and make the center lanes of the state roads non-stop to speed evacuation. Our state roads need the improvements and widening before Ridge Road.
More new residents and less stable water will result from the Ridge Road extension. It is obvious most people are against spending another tax dollar or another drop of water to molest Ridge Road. Please, Pasco County, leave Ridge Road alone. You will never improve paradise, so let the wildlife have the overpass at the Suncoast Parkway and Ridge Road as a crossing.
-- Thomas Lincoln, New Port Richey
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