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Letters to the Editor

December 12, 2009

Water rate increases in Funkstown need to stop



To the editor:

A letter to the mayor, assistant mayor and council members in Funkstown:

On Nov. 9, we attended your town meeting to discuss the proposed and, of course, approved rate increase in the water fees for Funkstown. We questioned as to why we, as outsiders of Funkstown proper, have to pay a premium (currently 33.5 percent more) than the residents inside of Funkstown town limits.

At this meeting, we were told that other than this premium, Funkstown does not receive any other revenue from the outsiders of Funkstown. Additionally, it was mentioned that in 1962, when the water lines were installed to residents outside of the Funkstown limits, there was a charge for this service. Does this mean that 47 years later, we are still paying for having to have water lines installed to the residents outside of the Funkstown limits? What amenities do we, as outside residents, receive from Funkstown proper? Also, after further research we have discovered that we are paying 52 percent more for water than the residents who live in the outskirts of Smithsburg proper. Again, why?

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We moved to Hagerstown in 1996 for many reasons, including the small-town atmosphere being conducive to raising our small grandchildren. At that time, the property values were reasonable and the Washington County tax base was also reasonable. However, since establishing our family here, we have seen our sewer and water fees continually climb. It is now to the degree that we, and I am sure many other families residing here, can no longer afford to live here.

Your town is a lovely, quaint town with many advantages, but with the increase of the water and sewer fees, you are pricing yourselves out of the small-town market. As it was stated at the Nov. 9 meeting, "your current resident status of families on a fixed income is at 54 percent" and most likely will increase within the next few years.

We, as a family, along with several other families, helped to keep this as a quaint village by researching, analyzing and consulting to keep a big-box store out of Funkstown. By doing so, we feel we managed to keep unbearable traffic, crime, trash and vermin out of our beautiful village. We have fought hard to maintain our property and streets clean and peaceful. However, should we find it necessary to move due to your ever-increasing fees, the next generation may not fight as hard to keep your small town the same.

With that being said, we need answers and not only do we need answers, we need these increases to stop. We understand that the town has expenses, as we all do, but why do we, as "outsiders" of Funkstown, continually have to bear the burden of these unreasonable increases? We can only hope that you take a serious look into this matter and try to develop a resolution to this. This is not only for the current situation, but for the future residents of Funkstown.

Ted and Ginny Atkinson and family
Hagerstown




Political swipe was unnecessary in letter about joy of reading



To the editor:

Ellen Mullenix's letter to the editor in The Herald-Mail ("Pleasure of reading is a treasure that will last a lifetime," Sunday, Nov. 8, page A9) was almost a home run. The only error was she claims the TEA Party demonstrators should be better educated regarding writings of our founding fathers.

If, as she claims, she is a "nonstop reader of anything and everything," then I challenge her to read "Arguing With Idiots" by Glenn Beck.

People I know consider me a well-read individual and my daughter received a trophy for smashing the Accelerated Reader Program points record. My wife and other children read daily also. The joy and wonder of reading is a delight to my whole family, just as Mullenix claims for her family. However, I was baffled by a political swipe in an otherwise encouraging letter for people to use their public library to educate themselves.

I have yet to read any writings from our great American founders that claim they risked everything to create a federal government that would institute a confiscatory tax system that would penalize success, reward failure and run up trillions of dollars of debt.

I agree America is at risk of losing its identity through the political demagoguery of those who prey on the "uneducated." We are at a point now that because of the tremendous debt (President Bush doubled the debt in eight years; President Obama then doubled that in eight months), my children are victims of taxation without representation. They are burdened with paying the tab for all this spending while also not being allowed to vote because they're in elementary school.

TEA partiers consider themselves educated and responsible enough to make their own decisions regarding all aspects of their lives. Leftists who embrace big government, including Obamacare, feel they are neither well-enough educated nor responsible enough to make decisions regarding their lives. There is no argument here. Both sides are absolutely correct.

The only question is: Which side are you on? Answer that and then, if need be, go visit your library.

Josiah Wilt
Hustontown, Pa.




Toys for Tots donation can have a major impact on a child's life



To the editor:

On Dec. 3, a list of holiday drives in the area was published in The Herald-Mail. Around this time of year, many people donate time, money and toys to the Toys for Tots campaign.

Many people are unaware of how big of an impact their donations make in the lives of others. Last year alone, Toys for Tots received 6.5 million toys, $15.6 million in revenue from direct-mail campaigns and $13.1 million in unsolicited donations. In 2008, the Toys for Tots campaign donated toys to 7.6 million less fortunate children.

During the busy holiday season, it is heartwarming to know that such a simple donation can have such an impact on the lives of so many children.

Lauren Baumgardner
Waynesboro, Pa.

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