Letter: Wabasha jail report is wink, nodTo the Editor: Our civic leaders in Wabasha County have a moral dilemma. They voted unanimously not to exceed $20 million on the construction of our newest county edifice, a mandated jail along with Justice Center, sheriff's offices and palatial new digs for our county attorney.
By: Tom Fischer, Gilford Township, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
Our civic leaders in Wabasha County have a moral dilemma. They voted unanimously not to exceed $20 million on the construction of our newest county edifice, a mandated jail along with Justice Center, sheriff's offices and palatial new digs for our county attorney. They are in a position of now breaking their word in an election year.
Ironically, their concern for the taxpayers has been addressed by a unique way of accounting. On April 1, a budget was shown by contract discipline, which was compared to their construction manager's estimates. There's a budget crisis in electrical and plumbing because of bids going over estimates. The glaring items missing from this methodology are the changes instituted by some county personnel.
As a project manager and superintendent with 40 years in the construction business, I have had to track these types of costs. In jobs I have done with architect KKE, we had to track every change request by architects-engineers, owners representatives, contractors or the construction manager and make them public at open meetings. The benefits-costs were individually assessed.
So why isn't this the case in Wabasha County? Are some of our commissioners are attempting to cover featherbedding in various departments? Will showing income from testing their new generator two hours a month and maybe getting a lower rate on the next bond make it OK to break the budget and raise taxes again?
The commissioners' report lacks clarity. The truth of the budget has been shielded whilst a majority of commissioners gives department heads a surreptitious wink and a nod that their high finishes in two courtrooms, lush offices and special marijuana storage space will proceed per the wish lists.
KKE has compiled a list of new furniture that it will furnish the facility with. I wonder if anyone has looked at the furniture available to local governments from state warehouses at fire sale prices. A little penny pinching by our leaders might preserve one or two votes for them this fall.