Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008

Open forum: Too many fees ‘are trying to tax us out’

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This is intended as a response to the Jan. 2 letters, (‘‘Citizens of Rockville need to be heard on issue of trash pickups.”

I have lived in my small Warren’s Addition to Rockcrest house for the past 42 years as owner-occupant. My original house has 820 square feet of living space and was built as post-World War II housing for returning veterans and their families.

Although, I am not from this area originally, I am a child of a World War II U.S. Navy veteran. I have lived here in a modest circumstance, being self-supporting.

Now, it seems all these new arising fees and property tax increases are trying to tax us out. I was born in America and descend from several American Revolutionary War soldiers, as well as later wars. Also, early Maryland settlers prior to 1700.

I did some simple arithmetic and realized my estimations were correct. Every time, the city of Rockville tips my garbage, it will cost $6.70. This is outrageous for a one-time a week pick-up.

From information gleaned from reading, attending tours at the county’s recycling center and other public relations media, the recycles are sold and some money is received from this portion of the trash. At least, I have heard that this sale process of recyclables keeps extra fill from the dumps. I am not herein addressing the large item request pick-ups.

This new stormwater management fee of $50 is awful. I see from riding up and down Twinbrook and other streets in the city how many residents allow the storm drains in front of their residence fill up with trash, such as large paper cups, fast food wraps and bags, their careless grass cuttings blown into the public streets, twigs and small limbs that are kicked into the drains rather than being picked up for collection.

I will give the city credit for clearly marking the storm drains to indicate they flow into the Chesapeake Bay.

Also, the ‘‘perfect lawn fanatics” insist on pouring pounds of popular yard chemicals and seeds onto their lawns. Not to forget, the heavy amount of granular salting that is done by residents themselves to melt ice on their sidewalks, steps, etc.

Some years ago, the city invited interested public to join them on a Saturday inspection of local streams, small water courses in and around Rockville. I was one of the participants. This was most interesting. It was such a low-key event, that the city staff actually transported members of the general public in their private cars. No official city bus or transportation was provided. It was the kindness and actual legal responsibility these brave staff members assumed to drive us around from site to site, so we could get out and walk around. We saw and listened!

If I hadn’t been so busy the past eight years, working in the local community, I would have made some informal inspection visits to revisit these small water source sites. I have been shocked by the ugly debris dumped by disrespectful people who illegally dispose of their own trash.

Also, I will note many of the good citizens of the Twinbrook community who have given their time to clean up the creeks and areas in their vicinity. They should be recognized. Little is ever mentioned about the possible health risks to the volunteers for various germs and infections that could result from their good deeds.

Seems, now the city expects us to pay for the damage done by others to our local small surviving water sources (as in parklands, etc.). Also, an outrageous fee to tip our garbage.

Please don’t price long-term senior citizen, self-supporting residents like me, who lives in what was once a $14,200 house. If, I sold it now, what else could I buy, but a house next door or down the street.

Mary Ann Barnes, Rockville