Courthouse a money drain

Published: Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 12:45 a.m.

Over a year and a half ago, I wrote multiple letters to the editor warning the readership that building a new courthouse would result in an increase in taxes in Alachua County.

My concerns were met with rebuttals by the proponents of the courthouse that included condescending comments inferring that I did not understand the process surrounding the project.

I was told that a judge mandated the building of the courthouse and the only decision left was how to finance the project. Notwithstanding the fact that it is unconstitutional for a judge to pass any law, let alone one that mandates the payment of new taxes, the project was forced on the taxpayers of Alachua County.

Just a few months ago, The Gainesville Sun carried an article that declared the courthouse project to be on time and on budget. Yet, now we are being told that a budget deficit looms for the county due in large part to the construction of the new courthouse.

The remedy? Why, raising taxes of course. The article (Jan.) also notes that governmental threats have already begun as well. You know, the "if we don't get more of your money, we'll have to cut services and people will suffer" kind of threats.

Suffer? Who will suffer? In the outlying areas, it takes far too long for fire services or law enforcement to answer an emergency. Parents are already expected to pay for various sports programs in the schools, and our parks are a joke.

Gasoline prices in Alachua County are obscene due to the local fuel taxes and the streets are in pathetic condition.

The last band of county commissioners saw to it that hundreds of acres of "green space" were purchased, effectively removing that land from the tax rolls.

In their infinite "wisdom," they put "green" before the welfare of the taxpayer and now we are left with useless property, a judge's new castle and a big, fat deficit.

Will this commission sell off the worthless property to offset the shortfall? I wouldn't count on it because it is far easier to simply pilfer money from you that you would just squander on a mortgage payment, an education for your children or your own retirement.

As a taxpayer in Alachua County, you can tell the commission "no!" You can tell them that you are not going to be treated as a simple source of revenue that can be dipped into every time it needs to fix a fiscal blunder.

You will continue to pay for the ineptitude of county government unless you stop it here and now.

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