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Letter: Jones proposes alternative to 2015 bond

Posted: January 29, 2018 4:07 p.m.
Updated: January 30, 2018 1:00 a.m.

I would like to make some comments about the discussion regarding the $17.2 million economic development bond that was issued in 2015. Since not everyone sitting here was present then, let me briefly remind everyone how that came about.

This bond, and the projects it is supposed to fund, was presented to us as a possible solution to the problems and issues that had been identified as weaknesses by staff, consultants and the Department of Commerce back in 2014. This study was done because we -- county council --  had asked for it.

After public presentations and much discussion by county council, it was voted to approve a solution that would cost the taxpayers $17.2 million Dollars.

I did not vote for it.

Though I supported the goal of helping us resolve these issues, I did not support this solution as I felt that it was a reckless and dangerous approach. If carried to its full term of almost 30 years, this $17.2 million bond would cost us more than $30 million. But, because I do support Economic Development, I provided an alternative solution that would build the most critical parts of it, and do so by using cash on hand. This solution would have cost us only between $3.5 to $3.75 million and focused only on those projects most critically needed.

County council, in its infinite wisdom, chose to disregard my common sense solution, and instead went for it all. Of course, I voted against their foolish proposal.

So let me, once again, provide county council with an alternate path to follow; one that takes the needs and interests of the taxpayer to heart.

I propose that we complete all projects currently underway -- and then we stop. Instead of starting new projects, we instead use the remaining unspent funds to pay off as much as we can. This should save the taxpayers well over $20 million as compared to paying on them for 30 years. This allows us to test the waters and see if the $3.5 million already committed or spent has accomplished anything. If it has, then at that time, county council can decide whether or not to continue building new projects, or pay off the bonds early.

That is a wise and smart move to make. One that places the needs of our taxpayers first -- where it should always be.

I would like to make a motion that upon completing the projects currently being managed by the County, which is roughly $3.5 Million out of the $17.2 Million, that no new projects be started, and remaining funds be secured until such time as the current or future Council determines what to do.”


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