Let the new folks pay
I hope to respond to Editorials and articles in the Gazette last week regarding the proposed municipal facility.
How do you pay for a 5.2- million dollar project with a $3,750,000. bond sale?
Simple, you take $1,750,000 from others. In November 2009, the city admitted they had already set aside $1,000,000 in sales tax money for this project. I assume since then, they have (or plan to) set aside another $750,000.
Maybe I was mistaken, I thought the sales tax was to pay for property tax relief and projects that benefitted the citizens of McCook. I don't think the sales tax would have passed if it was to provide $51⁄2 million for a facility that will benefit about 40 public employees! That's over $130,000 per each of the 40 employees! (The other 48 will still be working at the water treatment plant, the waste water treatment plant, the transfer station, etc.) Don't go out to eat with city officials because they will take stuff off your plate and put it on theirs.
If they've been able to stash $1,750,000 in two years, that means only two things: either they are short-changing us on projects the whole town needs, or they are taxing us way too much! Rat holing our sales tax money without telling us or asking us is probably legal, it sure as heck isn't honorable. I can't vote to reward conspirators to less than ethical actions.
The misleading information and half-truths we've been fed on this could fill a book.
A few examples: They show us photos of antique electrical, inferring it was in service at West Ward when in fact it had been abandoned decades ago, re-hab usually includes all new wiring.
"Horror of Horrors,"more asbestos has been found ... so what? To demolish it, you have to remove the asbestos -- same is true if you re-hab it. Current facilities don't meet code, there probably aren't 10 buildings in McCook that meet current codes. Current Council Chambers are not handicapped accessible, move the meetings to the Senior Center.
At the Sept. 27 meeting when asked about operating expenses, new vs now, they side-stepped the truth. True, the new facility will have more energy efficient components, but it is 166 percent the size of the current space. (10,000 square fee larger). Further, we will still need heat, electricity and some preventive maintenence at the vacant cop shop and auditorium, so we'll probably end up spending more than now. (Of course, we could shut off utilities and let 'em freeze up and fall apart like the band shell.)
Remember when we get sales tax reports every month? Wonder why we stopped getting them? Could it be that revenue trend doesn't favor this project? I challenge the Gazette to get us those numbers for August '09 through July '10 directly from the Nebraska Department of Revenue.
Sadly, I think the census will show our population continues to decline.To build and pay for space for "future expansion" is a waste of today's dollars. If by some good fortune McCook begins to grow , let the new folks pay for the expansion.