Lipstick on a Pig

At the July 21 Board meeting, the Board discussed several matters before getting to CIP and facilities. They discussed soil erosion with the new soil erosion officer. Veterans Affairs presented an annual report and told the Board how they serve 2,000+ military veterans living in the County. They are clearly doing a great job with outreach and the pirate ship salutes the County VA. Thank you for your service!

Let’s keep track of all the ways that the Board is failing the county through this one meeting.

Clocktower

Politician Jarris Rubingh bitched about spending money to fix the Courthouse clock tower. It wasn’t a lot of money, but he didn’t like it. At one point he blurted out “everybody’s got cell phones”, and then voted against approving the expenditure. He was apparently pushing the Board to just abandon the working clock tower.

What an asshole.

The vote to approve a few hundred bucks to fix the clock passed with only Politician Jarris Rubingh being an asshole about it.

County Building

They finally got around to the most important item – buildings. They discussed the county building, which is falling apart. The heavy facade panels around the stairwells could fall off and kill somebody at any time.

The Board is waiting on numbers from the engineering firm before hiring a contractor to do the work. There is already hand wringing about the cost, and it will be EXPENSIVE. Millions of dollars will be needed to fix this problem.

The Board put itself in this position. The Board should have done its job and enacted a facilities master plan years ago. How does the County Building fit into the overall plan? Instead of spending millions to temporarily fix an aging monstrosity, why not spend those millions on a new and better building at a different location? It is stupid not to.

Maltby Building

The Maltby Building used to house Nifty Thrifty. It has a lot of problems and will require investment to be usable. So, the county is looking to off load the building. The Board argued about whether to auction the building or go through a realtor. Should we do a local realtor or a state wide commercial realtor. They got VERY bogged down in this. Lavanway opposed auction. She was worried that the high bidder would be outside their control. The new owner could try to sell cannabis out of the building. What a stupid comment.

Josh Watrous came out of nowhere and said something rational. Shocking! He suggested that the Board ought to figure out what they are doing as an overall plan with all the buildings. This is a better idea than just merely reacting to individual issues. Instead, develop an overall plan, and then see how each building fits within that plan.

Oh my god! That is the most sense we have ever heard him speak. Nice job, Josh! He is totally right. But, why is that so difficult for the Board to comprehend? Are they stupid? Are they incompetent? Or perhaps this is a failure in leadership. Perhaps we should look at the Board Chairman and wonder why he is avoiding this necessary planning.

Capital Improvement Plan

The Board was finally presented with the Capital Improvement Plan. We read the whole thing. You can find it here. But, don’t bother. It is exactly what we thought it would be – maintenance on old buildings, money wasted on short term solutions, and no long term plan for where the hell the County is going.

We are shocked that the plan did not include literal lipstick on an actual pig.

The so called “Plan” is just a list of things that are busted and how much it will cost to slap a band aid on it. It is 50 pages of avoiding the underlying issues. There is NO long range plan. There is NO clear direction. They know that there are clear long-term problems, yet they are avoiding solutions.

Several Commissioners pointed out that they are operating without a 10 year plan. Bargy pointed out that replacing an entire mechanical system in a crumbling building makes no sense. Van Alstine angrily accused Bargy of getting in the way of building repairs. She tried to explain that she was just pointing out that there was NO LONG TERM plan. She’s right! They are just making things up on the fly!

In a heated exchange, Boettcher bemoaned the fact that the CIP did not in any way address a new law enforcement center. Politician Jarris Rubingh did his usual song and dance about how much it will cost. The Politician claims the County would have to double its tax rate to afford a new jail. Boettcher interruped and called bullshit on Rubingh. “You don’t know that! You haven’t even read the report! It will not double the tax rate.”

“There is no reason not to have the discussion [about the new jail],” said Boettcher. Watrous accused Boettcher of being the Sheriff since he was so insistent on building a new jail. Boettcher claimed that there was nothing stopping the Board from working on the long term direction for the County. The other Board members then all claimed that they were actively working on a long term solution. They were all committed to doing something about the jail problem.

They are lying. There is no active planning happening at all. They are blatantly avoiding the issue. They have a facilities master plan. Why not work on it and use it? This CIP is completely divorced from the master plan and that is a failure by the Board.

This CIP sucks. It is a critical part of the Board’s responsibility and they blew it. What a failfest!

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