Courier-Gazette Letters to the Editor Jan. 16

Jan 17, 2020

On Betts' article of chemicals

Stephen Betts’ article “These are the toxic chemicals in our neighborhood” in the Jan. 9 Courier-Gazette claims “Four manufacturing plants account for nearly all the toxic chemicals that are released into the atmosphere in Knox County.”

It goes on to describe the 44,530 pounds (22.3 tons) of materials released by the four companies in 2018.

If the 39,790 citizens of Knox County are using petroleum products at the U.S. average rate, and there’s no reason to suspect they are not, they are combusting 85,200 tons of gasoline, heating oil, and diesel fuel releasing thousands of tons of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and sulfur, and various acids, alcohols, and phenols.

More than 72,000 Mainers heat with wood, releasing thousands of tons of fine particulates, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, dioxins, and furans.

All of these are toxic materials and some are carcinogens. The controlled releases by our local manufacturers, which are complying with strict EPA regulations, completely pale in comparison with what we citizens produce.

We are fortunate to have these companies here with the good jobs they create and the taxes they pay. Let’s be accurate and fair when we talk about subjects that pertain to them.

Robert G. Hirsch, PhD

Owls Head

Calculations on rising tax fear

Your article, "Group Aims to Expand Founders Park" in the Jan. 9 edition, correctly states that the cost to taxpayers of expanding Founders Park in South Union by adding an adjacent lot is negligible. Specifically, spreading the cost of lost property taxes on 11 Browns Lane across all taxpayers would raise the average bill by just 49 cents.

However, the article also quotes a town official as saying the 49 cent figure was arrived at “just using the land value, and not the value of a house or other improvements." That is not correct.

I calculated the cost per taxpayer specifically using the 2018-19 tax bill, when there was still a house the property. So 49 cents per taxpayer is an accurate depiction of the cost of dropping the property from the tax rolls.

On this point, it seems opposition to adding a small piece of new land to the park is based more on the fear of rising taxes than the reality.

Bill Stinson



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