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YOUR TURN
A SAMPLE OF RESPONSES RECEIVED FOR LAST WEEK'S QUESTION

Q: Would you be willing to pay a user fee to access Erie County beaches and parks this summer?

No, I'm not willing to pay more to use our parks and beaches. I paid my taxes, I don't want to pay even more. Parks that currently do not charge entrance/parking fees are a life-saver for many low-income families. I think we need to stand firm and refuse to pay any more than we already are.

Hedy Bisenius, Cheektowaga

Absolutely, and for libraries, golf and most other things. Put these kinds of things on a self-sustaining basis and get them off taxpayer support. Same for the zoo and the culturals.

Art Titus, Hamburg

I believe we pay far too much in taxes already, but I would pay a small fee for the parks in Erie County, especially the beaches that my family loves. We have such a long winter in Buffalo that I think a lot of people would pay a fee for a day at the beach. I'm sure no one is going to like paying more, but let's face it, Erie County is in dire straits and it's going to be a while before things are straightened out. So why should our parks and beaches be closed for the summer?

Paula Martinez, West Seneca

I have already paid a user fee in the form of property and sales taxes to have access to Erie County beaches and parks. As a taxpaying resident, I should have fee-free access to parks and beaches as well as the county's libraries, roads and police protection. The bloated library system has escaped the budget process almost unscathed. Initiate a user fee for libraries, not parks and beaches.

Kathy Meacham, Clarence

No, we pay enough taxes now. Why should we pay for maintenance and upkeep of the parks and then pay a user's fee? County Executive Joel Giambra squandered the surplus money and the tobacco money. Now he's blaming Albany for his mismanagement. Welcome to the Republican Party of President Bush, who blames his blunders on the CIA.

Stanley Jankowski, Cheektowaga

Yes, the government should not fund items that are not vital public services. By following the model of private enterprise and having people pay for services by choice, the consumers, in this case, the taxpayers, are truly deciding what is important to them by voting with their dollars, instead of the whim of politicians.

Martin F. Brownsey, West Seneca

As a nonresident of Erie County, I would not mind. But back in the '60s or '70s, there was a $1 per car user fee, and people hated it. It was like being taxed twice, sort of like Buffalo's garbage fee. Tack on a new fee now, and watch the exodus from Erie County increase. County residents own the parks, and they should be able to use them freely.

Rick Lange, Farmersville

Under the current circumstances, I do not believe user fees can be justified. The problem isn't a lack of money, it is that the money is wasted on the many layers of redundant government that exist throughout the cities, towns and county. Funding the parks and beaches with user fees will only enable the continued waste of the taxpayers' money. Say no to "Band-Aids" and support regionalism.

Michael Rebmann, Buffalo

Sure, why not. And while they're at it, install coin meters on drinking fountains and restroom facilities. I'm joking, of course. Requiring user fees for county beaches would just be another burden that many taxpayers simply couldn't afford. Give us a break. Our summers aren't that great and the beaches are one of the few things in Western New York that are still accessible and free.

Don Gaydos, Niagara Falls