LETTER: Political not practical judgment
I read where the [Garfield County] commissioners are scheduling a meeting for the public to comment on their planned $3,000,000 worth of capital improvements to the fairgrounds. I’ll admit they are very accomplished in over-spending millions of our dollars; this is about the fifth such exercise in the last two years. Their current practices are to spend without regard to the added value. The return on this latest “investment” might be realized in a century, based on income and utilization.
Garfield County didn’t always have an abundance of money. I was employed in numerous administrative positions from 1990-2012 and experienced firsthand the ups and downs of county finances having had to prepare and manage numerous budgets in that time frame. In fact, I noted that the assessed valuation of the county has dropped again. So when faced with declining current revenues, spend more; this certainly sounds like Washington, D.C., logic to me.
In an administration that predates this board, the focus was on delivery of basic services because times were tough. I recall an initiative where we sent along with property tax notices a rating sheet prioritizing county services. We garnered a respectable 15 percent response. The most highly valued services were: law enforcement, snow removal and public health. The lowest rated service was the television translator system; just above that was the fairgrounds.
I find it ironic that the BOCC is prepared to spend $3,000,000 on the 1930s vintage fairgrounds while the public health department in Glenwood Springs operates out of the original ”County Poor Farm,” now known as the Mountain View Building. That structure was erected in 1927. Just goes to show you that the commissioners aren’t just living in the past; they are all about taking care of their favored constituency without regard to the cost or logic.
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