Thursday, July 7, 2011

OUTRAGEOUS OUTLAYS: Local government office space, parking garage tabs hit $75 million!

In just 5 years, city, county, and school board spending soars on bureaucrat-driven space
COLUMBIA, 6/30/11  (Beat Byte) -- Police officers aggressively ticketing anything that moves (or parks).  Parking fees skyrocketing on the street -- and in those dreadful garages.   In April, a stormwater fee hike.  And just this past week: 
1)  The Columbia School Board pitches a property tax hike that will cost the owner of an average Columbia house between $20-$50/month -- a massive new outlay relative to a declining economy and thousands of citizens who've seen declining wages for years. 
2)  A new $10 bicycle registration fee to pay for streets, sidewalks, and other infrastructure City Hall has let go to hell over decades and decades.
3)  A new $10 automobile registration fee to pay for streets, sidewalks, and other infrastructure City Hall has let go to hell over decades and decades.
4)  A Columbia panel (certainly coached by senior level Staff) urging that City Hall DOUBLE its transportation sales tax to pay for streets, sidewalks, and other infrastructure City Hall has let go to hell over decades and decades.
If you're a resident of Columbia and Boone County, you should be feeling the financial squeeze at any moment, and wondering -- since you already pay some of the highest fees and taxes in mid-Missouri -- where all your money has gone
In just the past 5 years, at least $75.2 million of it has gone (or will soon go) to pay for office space and parking at the Boone County Courthouse, City Hall, the Boone County Roger B. Wilson Government Building, the 5th and Walnut city parking garage, the Short Street city parking garage, and a 40,000 square foot office space expansion at the Columbia Public Schools Worley Street headquarters (also known as the Superintendent Housing Facility). 
Meanwhile, 20% of Boone County is officially trapped at or below the poverty line; social service programs are being cut left and right; and many basic necessities of the 21st (even the 20th century) haven't yet arrived.   As one West Junior High School student recently said, "How come they can spend $15 million on that parking garage and spend nothing to give us air conditioning at our school??"
(That young lady just doesn't understand government -- different pots o' money, honey.) 
Hey superintendents, assistant superintendents, directors, managers and other local bureaucratic fat cats -- YOU need to spend a day trying to learn in a classroom engulfed in 100% humidity and 90 degree temps!  
Want to improve the achievement gap?  How about reducing the spending gap -- between your "space needs" and your constituents' basic needs??
Here's what local government has spent since 2005-2006 on new digs for cars and fat-crats (with links to relevant stories): 
City of Columbia 5th and Walnut "Garagezilla" -- $15 million (nearly $20 million with bond interest)
Total outlays on local government office and parking space -- $75.2 million in just 5 years! 
And don't forget MAINTENANCE and UPKEEP on all that new space (example here):   


  1. Just wanted to thank Columbia's finest for a $10 expired meter parking ticket issued at 5:55pm.
    While legally it's in their right to do so, this now makes "The District" as about as automobile unfriendly as New York City. (It was my understanding that in the past there was some kind of unwritten grace period from 5:45-6pm.)
    I paid the fine, but will no longer shop or attend meetings downtown, (unless they put my name on a brick when they build that Short Street city garage.)
    The Plaza area in Kansas City and even KC's Westport area is far more car-friendly. Their city government, local businesses and developers seem to manage and balance their pedestrian/bicycle & automobile traffic far better in its high-volume/denser environment than our fair town.
    I guess with residential housing development down, our City Hall feels obligated to keep "Bob the Builder" in the black at our expense.
    How many permanent salaried jobs have been created with this 75 million dollars? My guess is most of it went to concrete and payments to building contractors. Can I buy some of their stock?

  2. No problem! Plenty of money! We are going to spend almost $2 million on a one mile bike trail on the Grindstone Creek that will require another million just to connect to anything else! Maintenance? No problem, we have PLENTY of money from the parks sales tax - we will probably need to increase that in a year or so since we can't keep up with what we already have, but that's OK - When it comes to our 1.5% of the Columbia population that regularly uses these trails - EVERYONE should pay!