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Editor, The Beacon: 

The continuance of ECHO and Volusia Forever is of vital importance to our communities, and in talking with mayors and former mayors, the census is unanimous! 

My wife, Gail, and I have been residents of Volusia County since 1980, raised our five children here and, any day now, will be welcoming our ninth grandchild. 

We live in Orange City, on the west side bordering the St. Johns River including Blue Spring State Park. 

I have served on various civic boards and had the honor to serve as a City Council member and then as mayor. I currently serve on the Orange City Planning Commission. 

ECHO and Volusia Forever have proved to be major assets for our community. A prime example is the Orange City Mill Lake project, the 17-acre water-retention area located in the middle of our city that today is a 17-acre central park recognized as one of the most attractive in the state. This project would have never happened if the ECHO and Volusia Forever programs were not available. 

A vote to continue ECHO and Volusia Forever is vital. 

Tom Laputka 

Orange City 

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