Editor: As the city turns. In our last episode, the suspense was high as the city council reprimanded two outstanding employees unjustly. The council also decided to spend $1 million to build a monument to their ineptitude — a new City Hall.
On today’s episode, the suspense continues. Will the council apologize to their employees? Will they actually go through with wasting the taxpayers’ money?
Our scene opens with the city council wanting to float a bond to pay for the proposed City Hall, because there inevitably will be a shortfall from SPLOST funds to cover the construction. This gap could be $150,000 or more. Of course, the city does not have the funds in the budget to cover the deficit. I give you three guesses on how they intend to pay for this. All three guesses are the same — taxes, taxes and more taxes.
By the way, the million dollars is just for the building. The city already owns the land.
Of course, no government is able to come in on budget with any project. Just look at the justice center cost overruns. That million-dollar City Hall will be $1.5 million after the contractor needs more money to complete the project. Of course, these will be unforeseen expenses not covered by the contract.
Referring to the new City Hall location, architect, L. Scott Barnard, said, "City Hall will be like the anchor store in a mall," referring to the new City Hall being expanded to include retail stores. Heck, if they want to be in a mall, why move? They’re already in a mall. I call it City Mall. The city could just renovate the empty store that used to be the "Plunderful" and they would have lots of room for a new office for the police and court, and the cost would only be a fraction of the proposed new City Hall. The city could modernize the front of the building to give it a professional look.
If I remember correctly, about three years ago, Mrs. Gwendolyn Lowe, the city’s finance director, did some ground work on a new City Hall that would have cost only $300,000 and the building would have been large enough for all departments. What happened to that?
If the City Hall stays where it is, it would take 83 years of rent to equal the cost of a new building.
There is no logical reason that the city of Midway with a population of 2,121 needs a million-dollar City Hall. Look for our new upcoming show, "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."