The Brookhaven Landfill is a dumping ground for construction and...

The Brookhaven Landfill is a dumping ground for construction and demolition debris as well as incinerator ash. Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

Seniors paying taxes helps communities

Every year, as school tax vote time approaches, letters arrive from senior citizens s complaining about having to pay school taxes since their children have graduated [“I’m paying school taxes for 5 decades,” Letters, March 23].

These letters ignore two important facts. When their children went to school, the previous generation of senior citizens paid for their children — or taxes would have been much higher — and we all benefit from having an educated population.

I am 76 and my children have long since graduated from public schools, but I believe in supporting education for all.

However, this ignores a deeper point. School taxes — the only taxes we get to vote on directly — are based on property values, which means that someone living on a fixed income, whose house has appreciated in value, may struggle to pay. If town and school taxes were based on income, that issue would be ameliorated. This is a concept with many ramifications, but one that is surely worthy of consideration.

— Ellen Solow Holzman, Mattituck

Do the math. A typical family might have two children in attending public school for 12 years at a cost to the district of X dollars per year per child. Easy to see why you might want to pay for this over a period of five decades. Some of us do not have any children, others might have a flock. School taxes are not computed on the number of children attending or services needed.

The reader does not mention Social Security, another system that we pay into for more years than we usually collect. Would the reader like to see a statute of limitations on that?

Sending one’s children to private school is a choice. Think that tuition iscovereds by the entire cost of a kid’s private schooling? Think again. A short list of some private school services that are paid for or subsidized by public taxes are: busing, textbooks, computers, nursing services and special-education services.

So, it sounds like the reader is not getting such an unfair deal after all.

— Howie Weinick, Woodmere

The reader’s letter is disturbing. A man in his 60s once told mes, “My kids are all grown so all I care about is taxes.”

We all suffer and benefit equally because of high school taxes. And we all grew up with older people paying the taxes that gave us our education.

One of the first things that young couples explore when moving to a new community is the quality of schools. If people choose private schools, that is their choice. To not want to pay to educate later generations is selfish.

— Jim Intravia, Medford

I am tired of the umpteenth yet another letter about taxes. If one lives in a community, one must support that community regardless of whether all services are used. One of my children is of retirement age. I cannot tell you the last time I played softball on town fields. Enough moaning.

— Richard M. Frauenglass, Huntington

Together, we can lessen landfill dependence

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine, along with Town Supervisors Angie Carpenter of Islip, Ed Wehrheim of Smithtown and Richard Schaffer of Babylon, expressed concern regarding the need for recycling programs as a method for dealing with the Brookhaven landfill’s upcoming closure [“Tackling waste management,” Our Towns, March 16].

They would like to see state officials get more involved with local waste management. While state input would be welcome and perhaps could influence manufacturers to purchase more recyclables, let’s not forget about good old-fashioned self-reliance.

Consumers, not just state officials and waste management officials, need to get involved. For example, as Long Island residents, we should start by considering whether the product packaging of products is overdone. If so, we should ask manufacturers to use packaging that sends less waste to landfills.

If we all work together, there’s a chance we can lessen our dependency on landfills and take pride in protecting the ecological systems that provide us with life’s essentials, pure water and clean air.

— Diane Lundegaard, Dix Hills

Heed UN warning to save planet

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest assessment of our planet drew on the findings of hundreds of scientists throughout the world [“UN chief on climate change: World ‘on thin ice,’ ”News, March 21].

The assessment details the devastating impacts of rising greenhouse gas emissions, including destruction of homes, loss of crops and fragmentation of communities.

Animal agriculture is responsible for more than 15% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, including nitrous oxide from animal waste piles, methane from ruminant digestion, and carbon dioxide from burning forests to create animal pastures.

In an environmentally sustainable world, meat and dairy products in our diet must be replaced by vegetables, fruits and grains, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar and other emission-free energy sources.

Our favorite supermarket offers a rich variety of plant-based meat and dairy products substitutes. It enables us to reduce our carbon footprint even as we improve our health and reduce animal cruelty.

— Nathan Daniels, Melville

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, interpreting the latest report on climate change, might as well have said, “We’re not warning you again.” To anyone reading the news, it’s time to get off fossil fuels — or else. Yet we’re still skating on thin ice, grabbing lead weights as we do.

In this context, New York’s ambitious climate mandate seems merely sensible. We must ban new gas hook-ups for new construction.

We need to restructure the utilities business so its profits aren’t on the backs of a shrinking group of ratepayers as people happily step up to clean, electric buildings. That’s what the All-Electric Building and NY Heat acts, with some extra thinking rolled into one will do.

And we must get the wind farms up and bringing in the reliable, renewable power so the climate-killing gas plants can finally be shut down.

— Grace Mok, Jericho

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