Budgets are important-unless you are a county commissioner

Published 7:44 pm Monday, August 9, 2010

To the Editor:

I read the August 5 TDB article on the Board Of Commissioners vote regarding the DSS Buildings costs and quickly realized that our Democrat controlled Polk County Board of Commissioners, who seem to consistently vote in a 3-to-2 block for what they want, are following the same path of fiscal irresponsibility that we see coming out of Washington DC. Heaven help us!

To their credit, Commissioners Melton and Watson tried to hit the re-set button. But they were steam rolled by the voting block of Commissioners Gasperson, McDermott and Walker.

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First, in response to an estimate for grading that is 32 percent ($54,000) over budget, chairwoman Cindy Walker said the original budget was a guesstimate, which should be thrown out.&bsp; What?&bsp; Are you saying that if we cant live within the budget we agreed to we should ignore it because the budget was only a guess? Sounds like Washington, D.C. thinking to me.

Think of the message that sends to all our county government departments: if you are 32 percent over budget, dont worry, we know that the budget was only a guess. Or maybe the county employees have to live under different rules than the commissioners. That sounds like Washington, D.C. too.

Second, the $54,000 over-budgeted costs were reduced from an original estimate that was $97,000 over budget. They reduced the over-budget costs by grading the land in such a way that would limit future building plans for the property by more than 50 percent. Another parallel with Washington: future consequences of our decisions are someone elses problem, we just want to focus on today.

Third, Commissioners Gasperson, McDermott and Walker voted 3-to-2 against rebidding the project because they were following the original schedule and bidding process the board previously agreed to. Again … what? Now it is more important to stay on schedule than it is to be fiscally responsible?

Commissioner McDermott said that we didnt have time to rebid because we have needed this building for over 20 years. I guess it is worth spending $54,000 more of your tax money to prevent needing the new building for 20 years and 2 more months.

Friends, this is our money they are spending, not theirs. When we exhaust the surplus that past Boards of Commissioners have created and find ourselves in need of raising taxes, remember this moment. Better yet, remember how they voted today when you vote this November. We have to demand that government be reigned in and start showing some fiscal responsibility.

Don Hofmann