County residents need more information

[Editor’s note: This letter was originally addressed to the Waldo County commissioners, and a copy was provided to the Journal.]

I read with interest the recent news article in the Republican Journal regarding the vote by the commissioners to build a new sheriff’s office. I heartily agree that a new sheriff’s office is a necessity and long overdue.

A few years back when I served on the Jail Study Committee, it became obvious that a new facility was needed. At that time, the need for a new jail was also of paramount importance. With the implementation of the state-structured county jail facilities plan, the work of the study committee was abandoned.

After reading the Republican Journal news article, I became interested in finding out how the county was going to build a million-dollar sheriff’s office at no cost to the taxpayers, as stated by Commissioner Berry. The idea was appealing and I just had to know how it could be done, so I attended the County Commissioners Court Session with the county budget committee Feb. 5, and I still don’t have an answer. Being a guest at the court session, I felt that it was inappropriate to ask a lot of questions. I listened, hoping that the county budget committee members would question this matter. That did not happen.

Commissioner Berry’s statement that the sheriff’s office will “come at no cost to the taxpayer” is deceiving and should be retracted and accompanied with an explanation to the taxpayers of Waldo County of how the one-million-dollar sheriff’s office will be funded.

According to the figures presented by the commissioners at the court session, five reserve accounts have been completely depleted, along with a substantial reduction of $500,000 in the Undesignated Fund Balance to fund the office, leaving a mere $141.156.25 in reserve funding for a “rainy day.” I hope it doesn’t rain much for the next few years. In addition to raiding the Undesignated Fund Balance and the reserve funds, the county has paid $120,000 towards the Emergency Management Agency building, which is partially funded by a $360,000 federal grant.

The taxpayers of Waldo County need a thorough explanation from the commissioners as to how they plan to replenish the reserve accounts, which will undoubtedly be “at a cost to the taxpayers.”

A close look should be taken at the need to hold onto the land that was purchased after the jail bond issue was defeated to see if the county needs it, or should a portion of it be sold to replenish the reserve accounts.

A comprehensive capital improvement plan should be developed for the county. This plan should identify and explain foreseen capital projects, along with cost estimates, and a timeline for the completion of each. It is foolhardy to say after building the sheriff’s office and Emergency Management building the county will not have any capital project needs in the foreseen future.

In closing, I wish to acknowledge the efforts and plans to replace the sheriff’s office, and tying the office into the Emergency Management facility, but the plans to finance the project and to replenish the reserve account funds should be fully explained to the taxpayers before the project is undertaken.

Grayson A. Hartley

Islesboro

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Support the Snuggles Project

I am writing to make you aware of a project my Girl Scout Troop is organizing. We have been working on our Take Action Project and chose to focus our project on raising awareness of the plight of homeless animals and overcrowded shelters.

We are deeply concerned with the issue of overcrowded and uncomfortable shelters. It has come to our attention that many animals in shelters have little to no comfort and no place to feel like they belong. These animals need good homes, but many never get adopted.

To provide a sense of security and comfort to these animals, our troop has been working on the Snuggles Project. The purpose of the Snuggles Project is to make blankets for sheltered animals.

In addition to blankets, many shelters are in need of supplies like food, toys and cat litter. You can help these shelters and these animals by donating supplies or taking some time to volunteer at area shelters. Better yet, you can become an adoptive home.

We feel it is possible to end the issue of homeless pets and overcrowded shelters by acknowledging the problem and working together. Won’t you help?

To learn more about the Snuggles Project see snugglesproject.org or contact my troop leader, Meredith Hill, at 322-4048.

Sarah James

Belfast

Girl Scouts of Maine Troop 521

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A good example of Democratic lies

I have a big sign that says “Democrats Lie Like Rugs.” I used an old white bathroom rug with a frilly edge as the background for the message and attached the rug to a thin piece of plywood. A good example of Democratic lies is the following Associated Press release on May 7:

“The economy got what it needed in April: A burst of hiring that added a net 290,000 jobs, the biggest monthly total in four years. The improving picture caused so many more people to pour into the labor force in search of employment that the jobless rate rose from 9.7 percent to 9.9 percent.”

This is an excellent example of a self-evident lie. First of all, the “improving picture,” which relates to the “burst of hiring that added a net 290,000 jobs,” could not have been known to the people who presumably poured into the labor force in April, because the figure wasn’t released until May 7.

The lie doesn’t stop there. They then have the gall to suggest that people looking for work result in more people losing their jobs and collecting unemployment. Perhaps the Democratic readers are dumb enough to believe that, we are not. This whole release was an attempt to disguise the bad news that unemployment increased again and reached almost 10 percent. The more likely cause of the increase in unemployment was that there has been an extension of jobless benefits.

The lie was repeated on the networks and CNN. What can I say, but: Democrats lie like rugs.

David Huck

Swan Lake