I read with interest the two referendum letters last week in the Town-Crier. Both men presented their views; however, both presented in an entirely different manner. While Mr. [Todd] McLendon presented his views and facts with no personal attacks, Mr. [John] Ryan appears to have personally attacked everyone he doesn’t agree with. How much better it would be if all learned to respect everyone always, to disagree without demonizing, to be courteous to everyone and to be a student, not a critic. The same points can be made without all the accusations and nastiness.
I fully support the dependency of the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District to the town. I have lived in the Groves since 1992 and believe this to be an important move. I personally consulted with another town prior to being elected, and the mayor told me it was one of the best things their town had ever done (not that every town is the same, just a point of view as to how it worked). Anyone who might be in a position of losing their job is never going to want the change; however, as with all businesses, it sometimes is in the best interest of the many instead of the few. Continued attempts at division between the town and the LGWCD benefit no one.
The town supplemented the district with about $2,000,000 to maintain the roads since incorporation. That was to include the placement of fill and the purchase and maintenance of equipment. The equipment was not maintained to the point it became unusable. In one instance, the district paid $32,368 for a repair on a grader that stopped working three days later and appears to have never been taken back to the company to correct. There was also a $17,878.66 repair on a water truck that ended up being sent for scrap. Is that being a good steward of your money? Salaries and benefits in the district totaled around $700,000 annually during that time. If the fill had been purchased and spread during the time the roads were being done by the district, no resident would be sitting on these deplorable roads at this time. You can’t grade or roll deep holes where there is no fill.
Please review your tax bills. Palm Beach County gets the largest portion, followed by the water control district. The town gets very little from your tax bills, and the money it does collect is to pay everything else. The gas tax money that pays for the road maintenance is simply not sufficient to buy fill and maintain our roads both now and going forward. We all have to pay for what we need and want. We cannot spend what we do not have, and we cannot have unless we are willing to pay. No one else is going to pay for these roads for us. We must learn to unite and work together if we want better for all. We can’t change what has happened in the past, we can only figure out how to better perform going forward.
I know that as residents, you are also tired of throwing the football back and forth as to whom to blame. I only suggest that if what we had didn’t work, we need to figure out newer and better ways. There are multiple steps being taken by the town and the council to begin to bring these roads and drainage where they need to be, and we are so close to making many of these steps begin, even though we face a difficult couple of months ahead. If you believe we are the only ones facing difficult times, I would invite you to read the article about the Indian Trail Improvement District in the same publication.
We need one government and one entity to be held accountable instead of always being shifted back and forth between the two. I personally believe in this dependency and would please ask you to vote on June 25 for the LGWCD to come under the town.
Joyce Batcheler, Loxahatchee Groves
Editor’s note: Ms. Batcheler is a member of the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council.