Issue: A proposed countywide communication center, allowing emergency response personnel to communicate on the same radio system. The center, to be located on about three acres of county owned land off of Melrose Avenue, west of Highway 218 will cost a reported $8.3 million to construct and $3.7 million per year to operate. This is about $1.2 million more than earlier estimates.
While the need for the center is understood, why the price tag was so grossly underestimated is not. This kind of thing happens all too often in all levels of government, where the bidding and proposal process is done in a hurry-up and/or sloppy fashion. In this case, and despite hiring a consulting firm from Minnesota, the city of Iowa City and the Johnson County Supervisors dropped the ball. They were off the mark to the tune of $1.2 million taxpayer dollars, your money.
That there is already talk of raising property taxes to pay for the increased cost of the center is troubling. Instead of taking a hard look at other budget items that can and could be cut back, area government by habit if not default takes the easy way out and just takes from taxpayer pockets. Lazy people don't like to make tough choices.
Such a lack of fiscal discipline is irresponsible and should be challenged by the voting public. When families spend more money than they earn, they can't makes ends meet and many lose their property. When businesses spend more money then they make, they go out of business and the people immediately impacted suffer. When our government spends more money than it collects, they simply get to take more from the people? That's not how the process is supposed to work and that our government has fallen into such a bad habit is the stuff tea parties are made of.
Why hasn't the Johnson County Supervisors seriously considered for example, delaying upgrades for Kent Park for a year to help accomodate the communcations center construction? Did you even know that was a budget option? The people should ask the Johnson County Supervisors if they paid attention to detail regarding budget items first, instead of instantly talking about raising our property taxes.
Earl Grey anyone?