We've touched on this topic before, but we once again need to express our opposition to the county moving forward with County Manager Greg Lewis' plan to build a $40 million public works shrine. The heart of our concern is plain and simple: the cost.
When Lewis first brought forward the idea of a new public works facility, he estimated the cost at about $15 million. As we now know, the cost will be nearly triple that. Amazingly, no one from the county legislature has questioned, at least publicly, this massive inaccuracy on Lewis' part. If I were to go to my boss with an estimate for work, and that estimate came in $25 million off, I can assure you that I would have some serious questions to answer. Not Lewis, he just goes about his business with no ramifications whatsoever.
Now, the Leg is considering a $6.7 million bonding package that includes $1 million of the $2 million design costs of the public works facility. We don't have issue with the county borrowing money since their debt load is so low. (Watch Wheatfield, with $22 mil in debt, that financial bubble will be exploding in the not too distant future). But moving forward with this project when it hasn't even been said how it will be paid for is ridiculous.
In light of the massive fiscal crisis we are facing on a state and national level, this project needs to be put on hold. Yes, the current facility is insufficient for current and future public works needs. But why not look at refurbishing the current location? Legislator Danny Sklarski stated, in light of the current fiscal climate, "I think we need to sit back and wait for the dust to settle”. We couldn't agree more.