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Letters to the editor

June 17, 2006

Give credit for recycling



To the editor:

Washington County citizens have quite a problem with their county officials. These officials see, hear and speak of no problem until it becomes a crisis. And then the answer is always more taxes, fees and spending. A good example is the growth problems with the schools. Although the problem built up over a period of years, the county continued to issue building permits like they were going out of style (and is still doing so). Crisis management seems to be the only thing that moves them. There seems to be a total paucity of planning and thinking.

So now the landfill is filling a lot faster than planned. They only know one answer - higher fees. No thinking, planning, alternatives - just throw money at the problem. With a hit-or-miss system for recycling such as we have, it's a wonder the landfill isn't full already. Now I have had no need to go to the landfill, so I admit I am unfamiliar with its physical characteristics. One would assume that bins are available for recycling purposes, but what incentive is there to use them? Consider this:

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For waste brought in to the landfill, charge so much a pound. I don't know what the figure should be but with the statistics the answer should be available on a computer in a short time. Assume a 10-cent-a-pound charge. John Doe brings in 25 pounds of waste and the charge is $2.50.

He removes 10 pounds of recycling material and puts it in the bins. By recycling he reduces his fee to $1.50. He gets a rebate of 5 cents a pound for recycling so his net cost is $1. The figures are hypothetical but the principle is clear. By recycling, he lowers his cost considerably.

A similar plan could be worked out for pickup waste. Pickup customers would pay so much per one 30-gallon container. Some kind of ticket, stamp or tag would be issued when the fee was paid and the ticket, stamp or tab punched or marked when the trash was picked up.

The county should have tanks to hold used crankcase oil and cooking oils (separate tanks). A recent news article cited a West Coast hamburger chain that recycles its cooking oil into diesel and uses it to fuel its diesel-powered vehicles. Why can't our county authorities learn and use this method to power county diesel equipment?

We need a shakeup in our county government so that they stop throwing money away and start showing some initiative, ingenuity and intelligence. An elected county executive and county council could be the answer.

William F. Jones

Williamsport




Too much information



To the editor:

In the local newspaper they run a list of the people who have been convicted of drug and alcohol offenses. Along with the name, they list the house number and street name. I really do not feel that this is necessary. Possibly just add the street name but not the house number. A lot of times the offender lives with a law-abiding citizen and the "advertisement" of this address is a violation of their privacy. Drug dealers and users then have a current list of where to look for their next possible deal.

I have been exposed to this personally. A relative was convicted of an offense and his parents' address was placed in the paper. This created a concern that the people with whom he associated, but who may not have known where he lived, now knew.

Several parents have also expressed to my relatives that this has happened to them also and they were very disappointed in it.

It is against HIPA regulations to disclose any medical information, and technically if you put that someone was caught DWI then you are disclosing that they may be an alcoholic or addict. Again, I am not making light of the situation, but I do feel you could get your point across to the public in a little more general way.

If you cannot take out the house number at least consider something like the "500 block" etc. Any changes to this policy would be greatly appreciated.

Stacey Hays

Hagerstown




Legislature failed us



To the editor:

The 2006 session proved to be another disappointing year for NARFE's legislative issues in Annapolis. The only major change is that, whereas in recent years the governor and the leaders of the General Assembly could point to a state budget shortfall as the reason for not favorably considering NARFE's efforts to equalize the special income-tax exemption for all persons at age 65, and for delayed enactment of legislation to protect senior taxpayers from sharply increased property taxes, improved state revenues eliminated this excuse.

It has become obvious that many state elected officials are just unwilling to show senior taxpayers any respect, regardless of the State of Maryland's finances.

Bills specifically on an increase in the special income-tax exemption for taxpayers who are blind and/or age 65 from $1,000 to $2,400 were never voted on by the House Ways and Means Committee or the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.

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