News and Tribune

April 29, 2008

LETTERS: April 30, 2008

She highlights volunteering

April 27 through May 3 is National Volunteer Week — a time to recognize volunteers and celebrate the spirit of volunteerism. We all know a volunteer. Many of you are volunteers. We know first-hand the selfless nature of people who give with no expectation of being paid for their time.

Volunteers do work for free, but volunteers will tell you that they are well-paid. They contend that the reward for their work is not money, but is, instead, the satisfaction of helping others, active involvement in the community and the friendships that form through volunteer work.

The theme of National Volunteer Week is Volunteer to Change the World, and that is just what Red Cross volunteers do. Without volunteers, the American Red Cross could not complete its mission to provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

At the Clark County Chapter, more than 400 volunteers help people affected by domestic and international disasters, support blood drives, teach lifesaving skills and serve members of the military and their families. In addition, we have more than 20 “furry” volunteers in our Pet Therapy Program, who visit 19 facilities in the metro area.

The Clark County Chapter welcomes volunteers of all ages and skills. Right now we especially need people willing to serve on our Disaster Action Team, as well as those willing to provide office support services. To volunteer, call 283-8416. We have a place for you on our team!

— Phyllis Wilkins, Executive Director of the American Red Cross - Clark County Chapter

Jeff Post Office made her day

I want to say a special thank you to the Jeffersonville post office for going above and beyond. In today’s world, customer service seems to be less and less important to most companies and the post office employees restored my faith.

On April 14, I dropped my state taxes in the outside mailbox at the post office and as soon as I dropped it, I realized that I had not put a stamp on it. I got a very sick feeling as it meant that my taxes would be late. The next morning, I called the Post Office to see if there was anything they could do, they said they would see if they could find it but couldn’t promise anything, which I expected. I was on my way to work and stopped by there to see if they had any luck. They had found it, put a stamp on it and mailed it. Needless to say, I was thrilled. So, thank you, thank you, thank you. I think you all are great.

— Suzanne Childers, Jeffersonville

Clarksville police offers its thanks

On behalf of the Clarksville Police Department, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Tina Brison of S & S Power Sports, 700 East U.S. Route 31, Clarksville, for donating the use of four ATVs during Thunder Over Louisville.

These allowed the police officers to patrol areas not accessible by a police car or a golf cart.

We certainly appreciate your generosity for letting us use those at no cost to the Town of Clarksville.

I would also like to thank Mr. Paul Kraft and Mr. Don Tetley of Kraft Marathon, who transported the ATVs to and from S & S Power Sports, also at no charge to the Town.

We deeply appreciate your generosity also.

Once again, thank you for helping us out during Thunder Over Louisville.

— Lt. Col. David K. Ross, Assistant Chief of Police, Clarksville

Reader: Keep neighborhood schools intact

The rumor around town (again) is that the NAFC school corporation is planning to close an elementary school.

Silver Street Elementary has been on the chopping block for a number of years. Why? Because it is an old building. Is that a good enough reason?

We need more neighborhood schools that really care for the whole family. That small school was able to raise over $15,000 for a student who has leukemia. That small school was able to be named an Exemplary School and the President of the United States came to visit because of the hard work and dedication of the teachers and staff. That small school has had generations of families attend. My father, my siblings and I, my husband and all three of my children had the privilege of attending school there.

I would like to see our school board stand up to the administration and ask questions. Redistricting numbers on a map do not paint a complete picture and the age of a school building doesn’t either.

Why does the superintendent feel the need to close schools?

When the bond issue was pushed through to pay for the renovation of New Albany High School, Silver Street was promised some of the money for a historical renovation of its building. It never happened.

Empty promises and untruths. Larger schools don’t make better schools. Please, be truthful and give the community some answers.

— Patty Needham, New Albany

Disagrees with municipal debt

When Mayor Doug England took office, he correctly identified the city’s crumbling infrastructure and obvious need to pave the majority of New Albany’s streets; however his claim of creative financing mechanisms has reverted back to “voodoo economics” by lobbying the city council to float more debt, i.e. municipal bonds to pay for it. This course of action could potentially send the city down a fiscal crash course to bankruptcy.

One only needs to examine the bankruptcy of New York City in the 1970’s and, more recently, the case of Orange County, Calif., one of the most affluent counties in the nation, to witness what happens when city leaders overleverage debt and ignore the reality that municipalities do not and cannot always pay their general obligation debt.

The Orange County case clearly exposes the risks: that cities can file for bankruptcy, that elected officials can be fiscally irresponsible, and that financially-squeezed municipalities may not have the resources or the resolve to honor general obligation bonds.

The end results if we pursue this course? Either taxes will have to be raised, services cut or chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy.

Rather than pushing for a drastic amount of general obligation bonds, the city council should consider a move toward project finance and away from bonds as a way to preserve the financial integrity of the city and hold local officials more accountable while minimizing the risks to taxpayers. Furthermore, a phased in approach to paving makes more sense due to the expected future sewer and stormwater capital projects that will need to be done.

We do not need to send the city down the Mayor’s path. I urge the city council to be fiscally prudent and resist the overzealous and financially unwise England plan.

— Tim Deatrick, New Albany