To the Editor:
If I read John Branston's article correctly (City Beat, February27th issue), Arlington doesn't deserve a new high school because its residents don't pay enough taxes. What he didn't mention was that Arlington provided most of the land for the 60-acre high school at below-market value. The county school board had earlier rejected an offer to provide the same land at the old airport for free.
It should also be noted that Arlington also provided Shelby County with 12 acres for the new sheriff's department substation, again for free. Arlington homeowners may not pay the high taxes that Memphians do, but the town has certainly contributed to Shelby County. And Arlington residents pay the same county property taxes as do homeowners in Memphis, Lakeland, and Bartlett. Their city property taxes are low because the city doesn't have a police department or many of the other "services" Memphians pay for with their taxes. The town sold its water system to MLGW several years ago and contracts with BFI for trash collection. City Hall and Public Works operate very well with small staffs.
The same can be said for Lakeland, where they have no police or fire department or property tax. Arlington and Lakeland residents pay fewer taxes because they have learned to live very comfortably without many of the services Memphis residents enjoy or seem to think they need. But the folks in both Arlington and Lakeland deserve to receive something in exchange for their taxes. Lakeland has virtually no county services except those provided by the sheriff's department and county fire department. Arlington has a county library, but it's so small they can't accept large-print books.
Branston is absolutely correct that the homebuilders who have created the need for new schools in places like Arlington should share in the cost of new school construction. Personally, I think he understates impact fees. I think $5,000 to $10,000 per $200,000 home is not unreasonable. Last year, I ran for a seat on the county commission and impact fees was one of the principal planks of my campaign. Naturally, I got buried at the polls.
Until we elect commissioners who aren't bought and paid for by developers like Jackie Welch and Clair VanderSchaaf, impact fees are a good idea that will never see the light of day. Impact fees are the "third rail" of county politics. You can be sure that the current bunch won't touch it for the next four years.
To the Editor:
Once there was a small community called Cordova. There was a sign on Macon that read "Farms, Flowers, Fellowship." Now there's an apartment complex there. Developers continue to destroy the woods, and people continue to move in by the thousands. In five years, they'll complain about crime and how crowded it is.
Cordova is becoming Hickory Hill North, and no one worries about the rising crime rate and destruction of natural beauty. They can always move farther out to Oakland, Arlington, or Somerville, I guess. I work in Cordova but live in Binghamton, and all the SUVs and credit cards in the world couldn't get me to reverse that.
To the Editor:
Regarding Janel Davis' article about the Med possibly closing (City Reporter, February 27th issue): I work at the Med in the ICU, and we lack the basic necessities to care for our patients. I fail to see how Governor Bredesen plans for the Med to have long-term financial security. We take care of indigents and the working poor, many of whom, if they have a job, surely do not have one after a hospital stay. These people are considered expendable by employers. I guess they are expendable to the governor as well.
It must be nice to sit in a mansion and not have to look death, malnutrition, and disease in the face. It must seem very antiseptic to tell us to get a long-term financial goal. Last summer, I took care of an elderly woman who was left in a crack house with maggots eating her legs. Luckily, someone called the police and she came to us. I saw to it that she died pain-free and in as much peace and dignity as I could give her. That's what we do at the Med. We don't get paid for it, but do you think Baptist, Methodist, St. Francis, or any other private (read: for-profit) hospital would have taken that patient?
What is the governor's idea for the long-term financial plan he would like us to have? Does he want to kill the poor people?
Please excuse the spelling and grammar. I've been up for 24 hours saving lives -- apparently, thanklessly.
Annita M. Cline, R.N.
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