I'll share some other observations that might have merit for cost savings. The city needs a policy that eliminates the habit of leaving vehicles running while parked for whatever reason. This has multiple positive results as well as saving fuel costs. For example, I recently went to Subway for lunch and there was an unoccupied city truck parked outside with the engine running. My order and purchase lasted at least 10 minutes. When I left the restaurant, the truck continued to run.
Reducing trash pickup to once per week should be considered. In my neighborhood, recycling has reduced trash volume and the need for pickup twice a week. Along with this change, there needs to be more positive reinforcement to encourage citizen participation in recycling. I would suggest that trash fees be tied to trash volumes, kind of a "user pays" fee structure. This would encourage citizens to recycle more and reduce costs.
I understand these suggestions might have minimal effect on savings. However, there is little doubt significantly more of this iceberg exists if we could only identify it. For example, as I write to you today, the most significant winter storm to hit Hagerstown in years is pummeling us with 20 inches of snow. I found it very interesting that The Greens at Hamilton Run (municipal golf course) was open for business. Seems like a perfect opportunity for a furlough day or reassignment to a more critical service.
This said, I truly appreciate this opportunity for input. I strongly support the discussion for savings in the budget process rather than the familiar "back-to-the-well" approach of raising the tax rate. The time has come to recognize that we can't continue to spend what we don't have and can't pay for.
Closing visitor center restrooms is outrageous
To the editor:
I cannot believe they are going to close the restrooms at the Sideling Hill visitor center on Interstate 68.
This is outrageous. All of this to cut a couple of hundred thousand dollars? It was bad enough when they closed the museum without giving the community a chance to come up with a plan to save it at its existing location. Did anyone question the visitor counts per year that they based their decision on? I live near this exhibit and I cannot believe they had accurate visitor totals. Lots of people don't sign in.
Then, they can come up with almost $24 million to expand and renovate our library, but can't maintain what we already have on Sideling Hill? It was educational and also provided a lot of information on local tourist attractions.
Do they honestly believe people are going to stop at local motels to use the bathrooms and then stay and spend money? Businesses don't maintain restroom facilities to welcome noncustomers. Why should they?
I'd feel like a vagrant entering a business with the sole intention of using the bathroom. It's sort of embarrassing and uncomfortable. Gas stations usually don't have restrooms to accommodate many people at a time and are often so unsanitary it makes me sick.
We pour money into prisons and jails, entertainment and sports, but now we'll see more people by the side of the road exposing themselves to relieve themselves.
I'd hate to be traveling with small children and have to drive into an unfamiliar town to resolve an urgent need.
Effective leadership is needed in county
To the editor:
In a little more than six months, the filing deadline for elected officials in Washington County will occur.
In 2010, we will be electing senators and delegates to serve in Annapolis, five county commissioners, three school board members and many other officeholders.
I believe times are critical to select individuals for effective leadership to lead Washington County. The policies of the past do not seem to be working. I encourage interested citizens to seriously consider running for office.
Straightforward answer needed on health care
To the editor:
In all of the extensive debate over proposals to reform the way in which we shift the costs of health care among different groups of people, I have been unable to obtain an answer to a very simple question:
"What is so terribly wrong with me paying for my health care expenses out of my own funds that I must be forced to purchase an insurance policy which I cannot afford to pay the bills which I can afford?"
Would someone please provide a straightforward answer to this simple question?
Allen R. Loser
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