Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

January 15, 2014

Vote against the increase of sales tax

Editor:

I want to take your readers back to Feb. 20, 2003. It was the evening of that day that the county board acted, without voter approval, to obligate our county for a $15 million debt to build a new jail that now sits two-thirds empty. With interest paid to bondholders for the debt, the total obligation will reach $29 million before the debt is finally paid.

Despite warnings from several citizens, the action was taken by nine of 15 board members. Those members had been sold a bill of goods by the chairman of the board and with help from a consulting engineering firm — Paric Corp. — convinced the nine board members that the jail would pay for itself by housing illegal immigrants for the federal government.

I remember the night vividly when a Paric representative told the board that the jail “would not cost the county a dime.” All the board had to do was approve the building of a 250-bed facility. For that advice and the subsequent management of the project, the county paid the consulting firm $764,000.

It is unbelievable to me that the county board of that day could have acted so foolishly. As a result of their action, a later board under the leadership of Ted Buck was forced to ask the voters to pass a Public Safety Sales Tax to pay for the annual debt service to retire the bonds. The voters approved. They did so to avoid placing the debt on property owners.

It is also incredulous to me that 10 years later, the present county board, under the leadership of Robert White, is now asking the voters to increase the Public Safety Sales Tax again to pay for courthouse renovations. And again the county board hired a new consulting engineering firm — M360 Corp. — to tell the board what is needed. Based on their calculations the cost for the renovation will be $7.62 million. With interest, the total cost could reach $12 million. In both cases the two consulting firms cannot be considered to be objective in this matter. With regard to the jail, Paric stood to gain financially if the board followed through on their recommendations. As we know, the board did follow through by approving Paric’s plan to build the jail. It remains to be seen whether the voters will approve the M360 plan to renovate the courthouse.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Take a lesson from Texas I like to eat at blue-collar diners and cafes, particularly when I’m on vacation.It’s a chance to step beyond the homogenized national chains and experience a bit of local flavor.And being a reporter, I like to chat up local folks to find out a bit a

    July 23, 2014

  • The future reality of terrorist drones A very small airplane rose over the Gaza Strip last week. It entered Israeli airspace and sped toward the coastal city of Ashdod. Then a Patriot missile blew it up.The plane, a rudimentary drone launched by the terrorist group Hamas, posed little thr

    July 23, 2014

  • We are headed to a jobless future In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers revived a debate I’d had with futurist Ray Kurzweil in 2012 about the jobless future.He echoed the words of Peter Diamandis, who says that we are moving from a history

    July 23, 2014

  • Pensions need to be addressed I will have to admit that I am slightly overwhelmed today with the receipt of articles and suggestions for a column. One of my Fitness Mafia colleagues constantly tells me the columns are too long and trying to address different subjects just dilutes

    July 22, 2014

  • VA still failing our vets Jymm’s preferred attire is a skin-tight Minnie Mouse T-shirt with bright pink windbreaker pants. Even when not sporting his choice outfit, he dons short shorts and shirts with holes in them, because that’s what he finds most comfortable. His Santa Mo

    July 22, 2014

  • Feed your home piggy bank with a 15-year mortgage This summer, we finally decided to take the plunge we’d been contemplating for a while: converting our 30-year mortgage to one with a 15-year payoff. It’s a big step. Our payments will go up somewhat (the PITI — principal, interest, tax, and insuranc

    July 19, 2014

  • Under the dumb There is a TV series about an entire town trapped under a giant, mysterious crystal-clear dome that appears out of the blue one day. The dome is impenetrable; no one can get in, no one can get out. Who made the dome? Aliens? God? A super-secret branc

    July 19, 2014

  • Widening the loopholes This week, two more U.S. companies moved to reestablish themselves overseas, allowing them to pursue lower corporate tax rates. They will join dozens of others who have chased lower tax bills abroad while maintaining operations in the United States,

    July 19, 2014

  • Patriotism not questioned Editor:I am responding to Mayor Mary Jane Chesley’s Reader’s View article in the Thursday, June 19, 2014, Register-News “Patriotism is strong.”The mayor has missed the point of my Reader’s View/opinion article in the local newspapers regarding Flag D

    July 19, 2014

  • Who's telling a story now? For this administration, failure is always the result of a “communications” problem. Otherwise, failure might be taken as evidence of misguided ideology and incompetent execution, right? It’s a weird excuse for the president who fancies himself to be

    July 18, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks