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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Resident says Marion County’s growth is threatening rural way of life

To the Editor:

Unfortunately, Marion County is under siege it seems. Our schools are at capacity or overcrowded, with no funds to build new ones. Our farmland preservation area is under attack with the help of our own county commission. We are threatened with a turnpike destroying our resources and our beautiful farms. We have the lowest health stats in the state. We have a lack of affordable housing, a lack of leadership, and a lack of social justice.

It shouldn’t be this way. We could have and should have planned for this, but we haven’t. Now we are forced to react to an ever-increasing expansion of housing without the proper infrastructure to handle it. We have unfunded needs here, of almost $1 billion, with no plan to correct that as impact fees do not cover true costs.

As a result, taxpayers are subsidizing the destruction of the very thing they keep trying to protect and preserve. We are driving over our horse brand with the mack truck bulldog now, and our rural way of life is being destroyed by big money and leaders whose campaigns are funded by them.

People here are treated like a necessary inconvenience. We are tolerated at public meetings where decisions are made behind closed doors, and no one gets to hear why our commissioners votes the way they do – even when professional staff says that they shouldn’t.

People’s lives are being threatened and destroyed by pay-to-play politics, and our tax dollars go to billionaires with grants while the people without much have to pay. It’s wrong on so many levels. The only way to stop it is at the ballot box, and it’s high time everyone got off their couch, stopped complaining about it, and stood in line to vote for positive change. If not us, then who? If not now, then when?

Brian Donnelly
Ocala resident

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