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City Hall project shouldn't be big deal

Register • Jun 4, 2013 at 11:00 AM

My topic this week is the City Hall project.

It is difficult to understand what is going on with the City Hall remodeling or relocation. I thought at one point the commissioners voted not to pursue the City Hall move but to remodel instead. There seems to be other elected officials who still hold out hope for relocating City Hall for the purpose of development. The problem is that they are not the majority and moving City Hall was not the directive which has been given to the city manager. Government is set up so the commissioners can bring things to the table as a unit and give direction to the city manager through a majority vote. Commissioners acting on their own have no power to reverse course of the majority who have ruled.

In some minds, as long as the city hasn’t started remodeling City Hall, there will always be a chance to relocate it. Once the remodeling starts, all hope of moving City Hall will be gone forever. The longer the group can delay, the better their chances are for the move. Who knows, maybe another group of newly elected officers will overturn the directive the first group of commissioners made, and we will start all over again with the same agonizing discussions about moving City Hall. There seems to be no conclusion and the decision continues to be in perpetual motion forever.

There is documented activity going on behind the scenes about exploring the idea of moving City Hall. As taxpayers, we don’t appreciate hearing what is being proposed from another entity instead of the commissioners discussing the proposal out in the public. Communicating by e-mail has gotten way too convenient for a lot of elected officials that they tend to forget to communicate in front of the public.

Economic development is always good for the community. It is a whole different situation when the taxpayers have to pay for the development and possibly give up precious land and parks to accomplish the goal. Where do the elected officials think the city is going to get the money to move when we are $67 million in debt? Our debt obligation is way too much for a little town such as ours. Our debt is impeding us from doing other projects that have been on the waiting list for years. Increasing the income tax or taking out more bonding for the sake of development is financially irresponsible.

Remodeling City Hall shouldn’t be a big deal and it shouldn’t throw us into debt if done the right way. Maybe we can’t do all of it at one time, but we can certainly start to remodel sections or do projects one at a time as the money becomes available instead of going into debt for it. It just takes the city to make up their minds that they are going to do it and start setting aside the money to do it.

Until next time, if the city can afford to build a marina and allow it to lose a considerable amount of money every year, we should have money to remodel City Hall.

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