Shouldn't be a burden

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 To the editor:

 Well, another year  of   taxpayers’ money being wasted!.  This  year   has  topped  last year’s  total  for the  Crabfest. 

Many of the  taxpayers were  unaware  of how much  of  their taxes  went to this event  that was  advertised   the week prior as    a   family-centered annual cultural celebration  that  boasts fun fellowship and  great food. 

Well   that is not what  I experienced  as    we  attempted to see  what the event was all about.    As  we  drove through the streets   trying to find a place to park so  we  could  experience this event,     we  decided  against   it.   

Parked along the streets of Williston  along the back  roads  was   cars  parked along the sides  with  bottles   of  liquor on the  trunks of   many  parked  cars,   many people were smoking  pot and  many  people  had their  drinks  in hand.   

But I think the shooting  has  brought more awareness  this year  to this event and people are not   happy  about   the cost to the county  and   if   a  riot  broke out   our 70  law  enforcement  officials that were on hand  would have been endangered.

This  event    proved to be   an unorganized  event  and   there were many  dressed   inappropriately  for  a  family  oriented event.   The Levy  County  fair  has  to  obtain  permits and is an organized event  held   in a  controlled   atmosphere  with proper  parking  and  no  liquor.    I  assumed that family  events   should not include   drinking,  drugs and  guns.

 This  event  is a  burden on our law enforcement  budget  and   after the   events of this year   should be  a wake up call that  innocent people and our law enforcement is  put at unnecessary  danger and   high risk  and  the  budget for these  agencies    should not have to burdened  with   additional  manpower that it takes for this event.

Here are the figures obtained as per  Florida  statues  for   right  to public  records.

Last Year:  Levy  Sheriffs  office alone was   $10,400    for this event.  This year  has   so far  topped  last year’s  record   at   $$13,120  for  Levy  Sheriff,   $417   for  overtime for Williston Police (not counting  Williston police on regular  duty)   and   still waiting on  Marion  County   Sheriff for their    figures  for the   helicopters and police  costs   to the  taxpayers in Marion  County.

I’ m   guessing this event  will be   well over   $16,000  plus     in  taxpayers’ money that  could again  been used  for  more important  budget  items like   more  child and senior  advocates   or  help  our  homeless  veterans , community programs  or improve  our  pet shelters  or hire more  Agricultural Officers for  our  already  short staffed Ag Division for the entire county.

 I’m  sure there are many  other causes  that we  could  have  funded  that would have  served  all of the community  and not  just   a  select  group    which most of  were not even  Levy  county citizens .

    I’m  sure  most people will agree  if   anyone wants to hold an event that   big    they  need to pull permits  and   rent a  facility  and pay for   law  enforcement out of their  ticket sales  and hold it  at  a place  similar to  the way  many  fairs  are  held; organized and paid tickets sales and permitted food sales and in a specific area that doesn’t affect the public roads and  tie up traffic  on a major  Roadway like  U.S.   27   and not be  a  financial  burden to the  county and  taxpayers.

   We  have   city and county  rules  and  in my opinion   this event   goes  against  rules of     ordinances   involving  public  behavior and   intoxication  on the city and   county  streets.   I  so  doubt  that   county residents  walk the street s  with  open liquor in hand and  smoke pot  and not be arrested.    I  also   wonder  how many   DUI tickets were issued   that  weekend.   

Diane Gregoli