Letters to the Editor

Numbers crunch adds up to ‘yes’ vote

With the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corporation’s (NAFCS) school safety referendum nearly upon us, I think it might be informative to take a look at certain of the property tax rates — for each $100 of assessed valuation — applicable to the school district for the most recent five-year period, according to the State of Indiana’s Department of Local Government Finance and its Certified Budget Orders (property taxes in Indiana are paid in arrears):

Budget Year Debt Service Total

2016 $0.5408 $1.1069

2017 $0.3883 $0.9404

2018 $0.4941 $1.0534

2019 $0.4527 $0.9998

2020 $0.4349 $0.9784

Includes 2016 referendum debt service of $0.2086, $0.1705 and $0.1573 for 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively.

It should be noted, too, that the fluctuation in rates from 2016 to 2018 is the result of the retirement/repayment in 2016 of the New Albany High School renovation debt service that lowered rates for 2017, before the 2016 referendum debt service was added in 2018 (again, property taxes in Indiana are paid in arrears).

The NAFCS school safety referendum’s Public Question is asking for an additional property tax rate not to exceed $0.085.

The point of providing this information is to note that if you add the requested 8.5 cents to the above referenced 2020 rates, the new rates that produces — $0.5199 Debt Service, $1.0634 Total — are less than the corresponding rates for 2016.

I find all this interesting and worthy of my “Yes” vote of support.

Tom Jones, New Albany

Georgia has a better plan than we do

May 9th, Republican Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia celebrated the state’s lowest number of hospitalized novel coronavirus patients and the fewest number of COVID-19 patients on ventilators, 15 days since the Republican loosened lockdown restrictions in the face of persistent attacks from the mainstream media and the public disapproval of President Donald Trump.

Respiratory symptoms of COVID-19 “typically appear an average of 5-6 days after exposure, but may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure,” per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UC San Diego Health notes.

“Today marks the lowest number of COVID-19 positive patients currently hospitalized statewide (1,203) since hospitals began reporting this data on April 8th,” Kemp posted to Twitter. “Today also marks the lowest total of ventilators in use (897 with 1,945 available). We will win this fight together!”

— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) May 9, 2020

As noted by The New York Times, Kemp reopened large parts of Georgia’s economy on April 24, adding, of course, COVID-19 precautions, like screening workers for fever.

According to a daunting CNN headline published April 28, “Georgia’s daily coronavirus deaths will nearly double by August with relaxed social distancing, model suggests.”

“Kemp allowed for the reopening of hair and nail salons, barber shops, massage businesses and gyms under new safety standards. He allowed restaurants and theaters to reopen with new restrictions Monday,” the CNN report said. “With the assumption of relaxed social distancing, the model predicts that the number of Covid-19 deaths per day in Georgia will jump from 32 people dying on May 1 to a projected 63 people dying per day by August 4.”

Well, Mayor Gahan? You know better than the Florida, Georgia, South Dakota, and Indiana governors? You’re continuing lockdown clearly isn’t about health and safety, so what is your real agenda?

Paul Espeseth, Naples, FL (formerly of New Albany)

Support school safety referendum

We are fortunate to live in a community with strong support for our public schools from all sectors of the voting community. That support is based on a strong history of school excellence and a recognition that a viable community is dependent upon strong schools educating a new generation of citizens that we hope will choose Floyd County as their home in the future. Excellent schools also attract needed population growth to maintain lower taxes while also enhancing the value of our homes and businesses.

A school safety initiative is something that should be unnecessary in a perfect world, but that is not where we find ourselves today. We all know the history of school shootings in our country and we hope and pray it will never happen here. School violence comes from many sources both inside and outside of local communities and schools. It is always surprising and tragic when it comes from students in our own communities. How could this happen? What could cause this?

But even without such horrible events, every generation of students faces new troubles and obstacles to overcome in a society that grows more challenging with the passage of time. Poverty, food deficits, homelessness, educational and psychological challenges at home and school, lack of appropriate health care, and discrimination from a variety of sources are only some of the problems facing today’s youth.

Whatever we can do to support the best possible start for our children we should do. It’s every citizen’s opportunity to “pay it forward” for the benefit of the entire community. This is something we can do as a community to make our schools safer and to address the support needs of so many of our students. It’s no guarantee our students will always be safe and more emotionally healthy and secure, but it’s something we can do in addition to offering our thoughts and prayers in the midst of a possible tragedy. It is said that you can judge a society by the way it treats its children. Are we doing our best to ensure a positive and healthy future for the children in our own community?

I am a supporter of the School Safety Referendum currently before Floyd County voters. I hope you are too.

John Marsh, Floyds Knobs

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