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Letters to the editor

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By The Staff

Utilities director responds to articleTo the editor: This is a response to an article called, “Utilities merger could boost efficiency, cut costs” in the Jan. 17 edition.  For three years, the City of La Grange and La Grange Utilities Commission have discussed a possible merger or joint cooperation agreement with the Oldham County Sewer District, county officials and community leaders.  It was noted in the article that the Vision Council Committee met with OCSD officials last fall to discuss a merger. Although not asked to participate in a Vision Council discussion, survey or study, LUC offers to provide county officials and the community perspective and insight on potential benefits and obstacles relative to regional sewer services and wastewater management.  Because of a history that La Grange has relative to wastewater service in the county, we have a program underway which will improve wastewater facilities, meet customers’ needs and serve the community more efficiently.  Issues of concern in La Grange are costs of service, impact to those on a fixed income and availability of state and federal grants. Economics must be taken seriously and we certainly intend to minimize financial burden on our sewer customers.  LUC does not rely on state or federal grants to operate its sewer system. A merger, or marriage, if you will, generally means that two entities join together for mutual benefit.  It is not certain who benefits from a utilities merger, why it is important or what perceptions led to the recommendation. A merger may or may not result in an avoidance of grant fund competition, less staff or reduced administrative burdens.  La Grange has a major investment in wastewater facilities which meet or exceed state Division of Water regulations. Since 1958, LUC has been a leader in wastewater management and hopes to participate in a future vision. John M. Bennett Jr. - Director, La Grange Utilities Commission  Contact magistrates in support of airportTo the editor: I would like to express my appreciation to our county government in continuing to study the feasibility of a private business airport in our county. Personally, I believe it would provide an extra incentive for medium to large businesses coming to Oldham County, along with providing an opportunity for us “pleasure” pilots a place close to home to pursue our passion. … It’s interesting the arguments that opponents of an airport make. They use scare-tactics about how crashing planes will kill innocent citizens on the ground or how the extreme noise will destroy the rural nature of Oldham County. …   Like private airports all over the country, Bowman Field in Jefferson County has an excellent accident record and it will have more take-offs and landings in a month than our airport would have in a year. … The safety record for private aircraft is extraordinary. By the way, the airspace over Oldham County has been designated a “training area” for decades. Dozens of flights by student pilots are made over our county every day and we don’t see the horrible accidents the naysayers are warning us about. As for the noise, residents of Oldham County that live close to the railroad track experience more noise by the 25 or 30 trains daily than an airport would make. Just for the record, a landing, single engine plane lands with its engine at idle speed, essentially gliding to the landing. Idle speed means no noise at all on landing.   Those that try to make the argument of “destroying the rural nature of Oldham County” are obviously newcomers. I would guess they’ve lived in Oldham County less than 20 years. The rural atmosphere of Oldham County began being destroyed at least that long ago. Just take Ky. 53 through La Grange and you’ll see a sight not much different from Dixie Highway in Jefferson County. …  There is an on-going massive destruction of trees and pastures to build dozens of sterile, over-priced subdivisions. Growth is coming up the I-71 corridor and destroying the old, rural Oldham County way of life as it goes. It will not stop, airport or not. So if you have even a modest support for an airport, go to www.oldhamcounty.net to get your magistrate’s phone number or e-mail address to let him or her know of your support.Charlie Blanford, Crestwood Airport project clouded with confusion about factsTo the editor: I read with amusement the letter, “Risks are great with airport project,” as it reminded me of when Chicken Little said, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” Can we really think that a plane will fall on our head if an airport is built in Oldham?  Wanting to better understand the issues, I reached out to our magistrates. I learned that over the course of the past two years a number of people in the county who believe an airport would be beneficial requested a study of the idea. In the spring of 2007, by unanimous vote, fiscal court appointed an airport board to conduct the study.  Unfortunately, during the course of the discussion, many people have confused a feasibility study with actual plans to build an airport. … Since three potential sites were announced in November, a great deal of confusion and controversy has arisen and a significant number of people are demanding the study be stopped. There are also a number of airport supporters, but they appear to be fewer than the opponents. The entire discussion has been clouded by inaccurate statements regarding noise, pollution, airplanes falling from the sky, concern over three possible site locations announced by the airport board, and the use of eminent domain.  Contrary to what has been said, the airport board does not have an unfettered right of eminent domain and cannot condemn any property on its own. According to a precedent established by the Kentucky Supreme Court, condemnation powers available to a local airport board, such as ours, can only exercised by permission of fiscal court. Given the strong opposition and county government’s limited resources, I believe a strong case will have to be made for an airport. However, there is still plenty of time for proponents to present as much positive evidence as possible and win public acceptance.  I support the airport based on the facts provided by the initial study released in November. I can assure you all the magistrates are interested in hearing from residents on this issue, and the sentiments conveyed will weigh very heavily when fiscal court makes a final decision. So please contact the magistrates, learn the facts and let your voice be heard.  The airport is a small step to eliminate our reliance on residential property tax. Please help make this an affordable place to live for our children.Brent Boon, Crestwood Airport safety? The rest of the storyTo the editor: After attending the public meeting, a recent flyer posted on local church members’ cars by a group calling itself “No Oldham Airport,” and finally, a letter in the Jan. 24 edition, I feel I must voice my opinion and put things in perspective.   The Jan. 24 letter citing an unfortunate accident at Corona, Calif., as a reason for rejecting the airport proposal left out some important details. I lived in Riverside, Calif., for 10 years until 1998.  During this time I learned to fly. I spent many training flights doing touch-and-gos at the Corona Airport. Learning to fly in the Los Angeles basin is very challenging to say the least because of the sheer amount of air traffic in the area. Corona Airport lies directly in the path of general aviation traffic transiting to and from LA and Orange County. It’s one of the most congested areas in the country!  Accidents will happen on a more frequent basis the same as it does at Spaghetti Junction. If you really want to know what living next to an airport is like, visit Bardstown, Elizabethtown, or Clark County airports, especially at night. These airports are representative of the airport being proposed. You’ll come to realize that the traffic, noise, light pollution and traffic are significantly less than what is being portrayed.   If Oldham County residents are as unhappy as I am with the recent increase in school, sewer and property taxes, they’ll realize we need to look for ways to attract businesses that will help support the county tax base.  An investment in infrastructure such as a local airport would provide the access and exposure that’s vital to attracting badly needed economic support.    Anyone who has been by Bowman, Clark County and SDF airports during the weeks leading up to Derby can see the hundreds of airplanes parked there. These planes bring business people that are always looking for new opportunities, not to mention the positive economic impact on local businesses simply by their presence. Oldham County can’t afford to pass up this opportunity!   Cody S. Coombs, Crestwood Increase in insurance premium tax ‘unfair’To the editor: I am writing in response to the oppressive increase in the insurance premium tax.  First, this tax is patently unfair. Many factors dictate the amount of premiums a household pays, such as the age, driving record and number of drivers, the value of the home, and how good one is at shopping for insurance. These have no correlation to a household’s use of county services.  Second, look at all the cities racing to steal, (yes, I said steal) the difference in the new amount away from the county, thereby increasing the burden on the rest of us. I hope that our county service providers learn where the city limits are of each of these, and slam on the brakes rather than give our stretched services to the cities that are skimming these funds. This is another way the tax is unfair. Yes, I know, the county has done everything to cut spending, which I applaud. This method of taxation, however, (which is unheard of in most other states), is evil, and should be discontinued. My magistrate, Steve Church, was very cordial in explaining that there is no other option. That’s because the county is already raising the property taxes by the annual increase allowed without referendum. Well, you say, it’s only a 4 percent increase. Wrong! It’s a 100 percent increase. One official was quoted as saying it would cost most households an average of $36 more per year. That’s funny, looks more like $170 at my house. It’s been said that the county loses money every time a new house goes up and people move in. Well, it seems to me that we have to make it so that’s not the case. No one in the construction industry, (in which I’m employed), likes impact fees. But we Oldham County residents can’t keep shouldering the loss. And, I should only have to pay my fair share, not that of people who for one reason or another have lower premiums, or live in a municipality that is withholding money from the county.Paul Deaver, Goshen A closer look at airport safety statisticsTo the editor: I am writing in response to the Jan. 24 letter to the editor in which Brooks cited two aviation accidents and stated that the risks to our residents and taxpayers (concerning an Oldham County airport) are not justified. This warrants a closer look at real statistics.In 2006, for example, the NTSB recorded 1414 General Aviation accidents involving 629 fatalities for the entire United States. While there is room for improvement, aviation is one of the safest and most highly regulated forms of transportation.  By contrast, in 2006, the  state of Kentucky recorded 152,614 auto accidents resulting in 42,290 injuries and 854 fatalities. Oldham County alone recorded 1,009 collisions resulting in 313 injuries and five fatalities. Using Brooks’  logic, maybe we should be more concerned with closing down Interstate 71, along with Ky. 146 and 22, as there are proven hazards operating our vehicles on these roads.As an airline pilot and flight instructor, I believe that the thought of airplanes raining down from the sky is nothing more than a scare tactic which is not supported by statistics.   The real issue is whether we want to allow for the benefits an airport would bring our community or remain isolated from such economic growth.Eric Grubb, Pewee Valley ‘Thank you for making it right’To the editor: I want to take this opportunity say “thank you” to The Oldham Era, and in particular, Julie Satterly and Jackie Stoess Hack. When the mistakes pertaining to the article covering the budget of the Oldham County Clerk’s Office were brought to their attention, both of them listened and most importantly, they took action to remedy the situation. I agree with Ms. Satterly, we all do make mistakes, but the true mark of a person is how they handle and fix those mistakes. Ms. Satterly and Ms. Stoess Hack showed me something, they showed me what integrity in reporting is all about, and what kind of people they are.Thank you for making it right.Julie Lentz, Oldham County Clerk