As has been advertised in press releases, on our website and in social media, we have held ten town hall meetings at our various locations over the past six weeks. Board Trustees, staff and I have had the pleasure of meeting some folks at these events. We have had some great questions. We have found some fantastic supporters. And it’s possible we have changed some minds through transparent dialogue and information sharing. We have a couple comments and questions that have come up more than once and I wanted to take an opportunity to revisit them here in case you have had a similar question or concern.
So you’re just asking for a pile of money and then you’ll figure out what to do with it later?
There’s a bit more to this. We have seven locations and a Mobile Services Department. All location managers, facilities staff, the fiscal office and I regularly communicate about issues at each location. We review the issues, review the required work, review the expenses and move toward resolution. After being on the job for one year and taking a big picture view, it was determined by me and communicated to the board trustees that we had some issues all over that need addressed. We began a facilities review process in August 2016 that culminated in a report produced February 2017 recommending the path forward on which we are embarking. Like you owning your own house, there are always things needing done: roof repairs, fresh paint, carpet, fix that stuck entry door. The repairs never end. We pick the most important things to fix: if I don’t fix the roof, it will cause structural damage and end up costing way more in the long run. So we bite the bullet, fix the roof and get by with the stuck entry door for another year. In our case, we could go broke fixing all the problems. Or we could find the issues that are most pressing and fix those. That’s what we are aiming at—the essential fixes, done right, that will last a long time.
How do I know you’re not going to get this money and then use it for something else? “Such and Such agency” asked for money, I voted for it, then they did something else with the money.
This is a bond issue. Money can only be used for capital improvements: new construction, building improvements, property purchase, basically stuff that if you pick the building up and turn it upside down, stuff that won’t fall out. We are prohibited from spending it on books, computers, salaries or any other operating expense. We cannot spend beyond the $24 million. We will only spend what is needed.
We are very mindful of the tax burden of folks in the community. We live in this community and pay taxes with you. We vote on the very same issues. We are earnestly striving to be good stewards of public money spending it on improving public facilities to serve you better. Every day.