No free lunch
Published in the Ocala Star-Banner, In Your Opinion, June 23, 2015
As a concerned citizen of Marion County, I am appalled at your proposal to cut the county’s library system budget by $500,000.
Our public libraries are a resource for our community far beyond the availability of books for all of us to enjoy. These facilities provide programs for our young students, films and lectures on topics crucial to our enjoyment of where we live and as technology centers for those without access to computers or the Internet in their own homes.
Your proposal to cut a half million dollars from the library system budget is shortsighted at best. Such cuts would barely put a Band-Aid on the continuing disgrace of our losing so many underpaid first responders to other counties that value their expertise and prove it to them by paying them a living wage.
Much as it makes you all cringe at the mere mention of it, to operate a county as vast as Marion is, revenue must be generated and as far as we know, the only way for a government entity to increase revenue is to add a tax burden to its residents. Be it a sales tax, property tax, gasoline tax or any other tax, all residents of the county must share the burden of providing ALL residents with the services required to maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle.
With the vast number of residents living in Marion County, surely a penny here or a penny there would generate far more revenue than the money the commission is proposing to steal from our library system.
I encourage you to take a deep breath and take the necessary steps to make Marion County viable for those living here. Sure, you hate the concept of a tax increase of any kind. But on the other hand, WE would hate to have to wait for first responders to arrive to put out the fire engulfing our home or to transport an accident victim to the hospital or to see the elimination or reduction of the many other county provided services that impact out lives.
Do what is right and necessary! As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. We believe that all right-thinking residents of our county would gladly share in the financial burden of maintaining the vital services which we depend on our county to provide.