Alachua will benefit from jobs at Wal-Mart

Published: Friday, January 24, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 23, 2003 at 10:27 p.m.

This is in regard to Kiera Fitzgerald's letter (Jan. 10) regarding the proposed Wal-Mart project.

I've heard over and over again about the low 2.4 percent unemployment rate we have in the city of Alachua. In actuality, that 2.4 percent rate is for Alachua County as a whole - not for the city of Alachua. The simple truth is that this community needs jobs.

I understand that a recent consultant's study showed that about 25 percent of Alachua County's work force is underemployed.

People don't have a job that pays well enough or provides benefits, so they have to work at least two jobs just to put food on their tables. I know of many people here in our community who fit that description.

If Wal-Mart brings its distribution center to Alachua, many of our local residents will be able to work one, good-paying job to support their families and get health insurance and other benefits.

Many of our young people who have few skills and can't get a job will have the opportunity to work and build a life for themselves.

Fitzgerald points out that the city of Alachua is carrying a debt of $20 million. Wouldn't the $400,000 or so a year that Wal-Mart would add to the tax rolls assist in reducing that debt?

The city needs to generate revenue in order to pay its debt down and the taxes paid by companies like Wal-Mart and Dollar General go a long way toward making the city more financially stable.

She also talks about the deficiency of the I-75 interchange in Alachua and the money needed to fix it. If the interchange is deficient, why shouldn't we use state and federal dollars to fix it or to build a new interchange sometime in the future?

Road funds are going to be used in other states and communities. I think it makes excellent sense for the city of Alachua to get a fair share of that money to upgrade its interchange or build a new one.

I support Wal-Mart because the city and the citizens of Alachua will benefit in many ways.

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