To the editor:

To the editor:

The South-Western City Schools' state performance audit has a message for Westerville in long-range planning.

All Westerville contracts -- teachers and support staff -- expire before the start of next school year. We will soon be entering negotiations.

Just as in South-Western, health care premiums are a major expense. Our district now pays 80 percent of the premium for those under family dental and vision coverage. Under the single plan, the district pays 95 percent.

Why not have all pay 50 percent of the premium? No loss or change in coverage, just savings for the district.

Similar savings could accrue with a phase out of the district contribution to the HSA plans. Again, no loss of benefits.

Savings could be realized from adjustments in terms of the administrator agreement. We have 74 individuals who under that contract have their 10-percent employee portion of STRS paid by the district. This is in addition to the required 14-percent employer contribution. Save the district money with a phase-in of administrator STRS contributions.

As we enter into negotiations, start planning now to save money in the future.

The state recommendations for South-Western are just as applicable to us. Westerville faces a clean slate on all contracts. so let's write on that slate in a cost-effective manner.

Peg Duffy

Westerville

To the editor:

Millions of people are out of work and thousands of families have no idea how to put the next meal on the table. The federal government is driving the country into bankruptcy and state and local government face ever-decreasing revenues because of the shrinking tax base and do not know how to pay their bills.

Luckily, this does not apply to the city of Westerville. Their coffers are brimming with cash and they have so much money they do not know what to do with it and are continuously working overtime to search for more ways to waste our precious tax dollars.

Here is an absolutely brilliant example, which should get first prize in the category "Most ridiculous and unnecessary project."

My home is located in a loop with about 20 houses and no traffic. Opposite my home is a cul-de-sac with three houses. This cul-de-sac has two street corners with the obligatory ramps for wheelchairs.

In the 17 years that I have lived here, not one wheelchair has ever passed these ramps. This week, in freezing weather, a work crew of five, with trucks, front loaders, jackhammers and backhoes, arrived and started digging up a wide section of the sidewalk in front of my house in two places, right next to the driveway, to install two ramps for wheelchairs. These two new ramps are opposite the existing ramps at the street corners of the cul-de-sac. For good measure, the crew also dug up the perfectly good existing ramps at the street corners to install new ones again.

The entire project will probably run about $20,000 and does not serve any purpose whatsoever. The two existing ramps at the street corner are exactly opposite my driveway, which is a perfect 20-foot wide ramp for wheelchairs, should a wheelchair ever come along this quiet, traffic-less loop.

It has never happened in the past and will likely not ever happen in the future. Any wheelchair user wanting to cross from one side of the street to the other would use the 20-foot wide driveway and not the narrow ramp next to it.

I was admiring the "bureaucracy-gone-amok" project and took some photos, because otherwise no one would believe that such a joke of a project could actually be carried out. A city inspector came along to check the progress. As we both shook our heads in disbelief over this waste of tax money, I questioned him how they can pour concrete in subfreezing temperatures. He explained that the crew will use giant heaters to thaw the ground prior to pouring and then use heating blankets to warm the freshly poured concrete until it is cured.

Why such a totally unnecessary project has to be done in a snowstorm at subfreezing temperatures will remain another mystery forever.

What a beautiful example of your tax dollars at work. Such ludicrous and unnecessary costly projects probably occur all over Westerville, running hundreds of thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, urgent project like repaving roads are waiting to be completed.

Since our city apparently has too much money and absolutely does not know how to use it wisely, the citizens of Westerville should weigh their votes very carefully when the next call for tax increases is on the ballot at election time.

The city administration will probably tell us that these utterly useless projects are mandated by federal rules. Instead of mindlessly carrying out projects dictated by a robotic, nonthinking bureaucrat, we should expect from our elected officials to fight such senseless mandates with the utmost fervor.

Erik Meyer

Westerville