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):
Boone County courthouse and office space expansion -- $14 million
Boone County downtown building purchases -- $2.05 million
City of Columbia Short Street garage -- $8.25 million
City of Columbia 5th and Walnut "Garagezilla" -- $15 million (nearly $20 million with bond interest)
City of Columbia new City Hall -- $25 million
City of Columbia Gentry Building renovation -- $1.1 million
City of Columbia Howard Building renovation -- $2 million
Columbia Public Schools office space expansion -- $7.8 million
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):