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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.