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Letters to the editor - 3/14/03

March 14, 2003

Poor finances in the county



To the editor:


I am concerned about the financial state of affairs in Washington County. First the Commissioners propose to limit the amount of land for home building.

This may impose a hardship on those farmers or land owners wishing to change their lifestyle for whatever reason. Those houses now being built on land outside the city of Hagerstown are selling for about $300,000. These houses are being built, not with sewer and water pipes, but with wells and septic tanks. The road improvements needed are built through general-fund monies.

This is because the county does not impose impact fees on the builders because these fees have a mandated use. The commissioners historically funnel tax monies to interest groups instead of using them for their intended uses. The hotel tax is a prime example.

Monies from the general fund could be put to better use than for road improvements due to new housing. The monies should be used to increase the services of the education system and public safety. They could also be used to foster the completion of an actual university in the city of Hagerstown and not just a continuing education center.

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The city will not be able to jump start any type of urban renewal unless the county and city rethink their uses for the city and county. The forties and fifties were nice but they are gone now.

The people want to create a world- class education system and yet keep their environment and taxes as they were 50 years ago. Since the current county leaders pander to these dreams, our leaders in the General Assembly must think out of the box and look to the future.

Our leaders want the home buyer to pay for improvements with the transfer tax and excise tax, yet they needed our delegates to impose these taxes so they could say they did not raise taxes.

Do not repel the impact fees, make the leaders of our county impose them when issuing building permits to developers of housing and businesses. Make our county leaders accountable; do not let them to continue to pass the buck as they have been doing.

Jaime Trujillo
Keedysville




High-priced friends



To the editor:


Greeks and Turks don't like each other. Never have.

As a kid growing up in a Greek household in the ethnic coal regions of Northeastern Pennsylvania, I recall that my father's ultimate insult was to call someone "a Turk."

So it's not normal for a Greek to come out in praise of a bunch of Turks.

Yet I can't help but be glad that someone in this world still puts principle over cash - even if it is a bunch of Turks.

Consider:

The U.S. offered Turkey $26 billion with a "B" $6 billion cash and $20 billion in loan guarantees which means that if they don't pay it back, we're stuck.

All to get Turkey to allow the U.S. to station 30,000 to 40,000 troops on its soil in preparation for an invasion of Iraq.

Sounds like a lot of money.

Indeed, I didn't realize how much until I divided it out. Figuring 35,000 troops, we were offering Turkey approximately $771,430 per troop! That's over three-quarter of a million dollars for each U.S. soldier Turkey would allow us to put on their soil for President Bush's anticipated five-week war.

And did you hear? The Turkish Parliament rejected the offer. Just by three votes, but hey, a win's a win.

It's enough to make you wonder what we'll be offering countries like Guinea, Cameroon, Angola, Chile and others for a favorable vote on the U.N. Security Council.

Indeed, if Mr. Bush eventually does invade Iraq, it will be with the aid of the most expensive "coalition of friends" in the entire history of war on earth.

It's enough to make you long for the days, a quarter century ago, when the eloquent old Illinois Republican, Sen. Everett McKinley Dirksen, stood on the Senate floor and chided his spendthrift colleagues with these sarcastic words, "A million here, a million there, pretty soon you're talking serious money."

Paul Politis
Greencastle, Pa.

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