Letters to the editor – May 25th, 2016

Published 7:06 pm Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Disappointed in Council

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    I was very disappointed to read in the May 18 edition of Smithfield Times the Smithfield Town Council is proposing tax increases. Town Council, did you not see what happened with the Isle of Wight County’s budget process? The citizens spoke and the board answered with no tax increase. I do not support any tax increases, no matter what form they come in. In my many conversations leading up to the Isle of Wight County budget vote, I found no one that wanted to pay more in taxes — no one.

    The proposed Smithfield budget for next fiscal year shows an increase in $3.8 million or 29 percent. The tax increases, according to the article, would cover a $200,000 shortfall in the budget. I find it hard to believe the town council can’t find $200,000 somewhere to close the budget gap and not raise taxes.

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    Also, part of the revenue stream shows “loan proceeds” of $3.6 million. Debt payments increased from $133,959 to $695,567, a rise of 519 percent in one year. That number alone should raise eyebrows. It appears Smithfield is going down the road Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors did the last six years by spending like a drunken sailor, adding debt to pay for it, and then raising taxes on the citizens for poor decision-making.

    Another concern is the 5 percent pay raises. No one I know in the private sector has received a 5 percent pay raise in recent memory. Why should we pay more in taxes to fund pay raises?

    My final questions are to the citizens of Smithfield: Where have you been? Are you going to let this happen? I have a prediction, within 2-5 years the Town of Smithfield will propose to raise our personal property taxes and many more fees. I see no other reason they won’t because they clearly cannot make hard decisions and manage their own budget. I hope to see you on June 7 at the public hearing.

    Ken Wagar


Parochial attitude

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Construction of the South Church Street and Battery Park Road segments of the Windsor Castle Park to Nike Park bike and pedestrian trail may actually get underway in the near future thanks to the fact that most of the funding is coming from state and federal grants. I attended a county board of supervisors meeting nearly twenty years ago at which the supervisors declined to pursue grant money for the trail. I have two prominent memories from that meeting.

    1) A gentleman who lived along the route spoke in favor of the trail even though it would take a strip of his property.  He said he wanted his grandchildren to be able to ride their bikes beyond the end of his driveway.

    2) The late Supervisor Henry Bradby stated back in 1999 that he voted against the trail because it wouldn’t directly benefit his district. I think he would have regretted stating this if he could see the current lack of progress on the development of Bradby Park. Bradby Park is a worthy project, but four of the five supervisors probably don’t consider it a priority since it won’t directly benefit their districts.

    Greg Vassilakos


‘Thank you’ to IWA

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank Jack Reynolds for hiring me in 2000 as a bus driver for Isle of Wight Academy. Over the last 16 and a half years, I had the privilege to drive my kids to and from school safely. I have met some fine folks over the y ears in Surry and Isle of Wight Counties.

    It is time to turn the page in my book of life and start a new chapter. A special thanks to Greg Upton, Mike Edwards and the late Andy Edwards, as they were always there for me. In closing, best wishes to the families of the children I’ve had over the years and to the Isle of Wight Academy staff.

    Scott A. Gordon
    Bus #8


Productive month

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    The Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad Auxiliary completed yet another productive month. These ladies rock! We shared an EMS Appreciation Dinner with Squad members. Special thanks to Mike Smith, 7-Eleven (South Church), for his generous donation and to the late Diane Brown for her eternal kindness and generosity to make our dinner quite the celebration for National EMS Week!

    Our 2016 Bucket Drive was awesome — thank you to The Smithfield Times for advertising, to Farm Fresh, Dollar Tree, Peeble’s and Cock-Eyed Rooster for allowing us to use their store fronts. We ended our Drive with not only extra funds for the Rescue Squad but with a warm heart, knowing that our community is very generous and supportive to those that serve them to save lives. 

    We look forward to continuing to serve Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad and are grateful that you do too!

    Cathy Berry


Successful blood drive

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    The Smithfield Community Blood Drive at Trinity United Methodist Church was held on Thursday, May 19. The Blood Drive had 96 donors sign in.

    The end results were 73 whole blood donors and 4 double red cell donors for a total of 80 units of blood to the local Mid-Atlantic Region.

    A Special “thank you” to the Church of the Good Shepherd of Smithfield for being the sponsor and providing the Canteen. Marie Arinello and her group of volunteers prepared some great food and great service to the donors who came to this drive. Thanks always to the Masonic Lodge #18 with set up and take down, and to Trinity United Methodist for the use of their facilities.

    Congratulations to our first time donors, Michele Mcmanus and Marko Jocic. A sincere thank you to each “Hero” from across the area who unselfishly gave a short period of their time and rolled up their sleeves to donate the Gift of Life and thanks also to all the patrons, businesses, and organizations that supported the Community Blood Drive.

    The next Community Blood Drive at Trinity United Methodist Church is on Thursday, July 21 from noon to 6 p.m. The Sponsor and supporting Canteen will be the Benn’s United Methodist Church of Smithfield. We always have fun, seeing old friends and meeting new friends and the great food is always an award in itself; so, set the date, join us and donate.

    The Red Cross Mid-Atlantic Region includes the area from Fredericksburg to Emporia to Elizabeth City, N.C., including all five major cities, and it uses 6,000 to 7,000 units of blood. In a month our local area alone uses an average of 720 units of blood. Blood to save lives is needed every two seconds in the United States. Again, thank you, Smithfield community donors for your support.

    Willie Rountree


Traffic and noise

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    When my husband and I first moved on South Church Street up the hill from Smithfield Station, we found it hard to cross this narrow street due to the speeding of motorists! I do believe the speed limit is 25 MPH! People’s homes are close to the street here. It is a residential area and not a racetrack or an interstate highway!  Our front door is only 50 feet from the street! This time of year, we have a lot of people walking around looking at the lovely homes here, too and I worry for their safety.

    I went to cross this street to our house and had plenty of time to do so, but as I crossed into the oncoming traffic lane just up from the restaurant, a small truck just starting up the hill, put on the after-burner and began to head towards me faster, not slower!

    Daily, we sit in the front room watching TV and grow angry at the school buses, trucks and cars flying by the house at far too fast a speed and if anyone ever lost control, they would crash into the homes! Another problem is the loud “boom boom” of the so-called music from the vehicles and we wonder if these people would like to hear this in their neighborhoods? We live here! This awful noise actually vibrates the whole house.

    I sincerely thank the kind dispatcher with whom I just spoke at the Smithfield Police Dept. regarding this ongoing problem. Maybe the police can do something to see the speeding stops and we can all enjoy a safe summer!

    Linda Gould Steffey