Andy Bullen: Honesty from officials
March 19, 2011
To the editor:
Over the past few months, I have, like most residents of Craig and Moffat County, become increasingly upset and unhappy about the state of negotiations between the city and the county over the Moffat County Public Safety Center.
There has been a fair amount of noise, but not much light shed on the issue until March 15.
On Tuesday night, the city council hosted an open forum and provided information about the history and finances of the public safety center. This was quite an eye-opener.
While I had a basic and limited understanding of how the public safety center came about, I was fuzzy on the details. The city council, with the assistance of the city manager and finance director, provided documentation including the memorandum of understanding agreeing to "cooperate to fund the center"; the ballot to re-allocate the existing county-wide sales tax; the intergovernmental agreement to exchange space in the public safety center for real property; and the sublease agreement for space in the center between the county and city.
Additionally, they provided a brief history of the county-wide sales tax and a breakdown of revenue changes brought about by the sales tax re-allocation.
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For those who missed the forum, all of this documentation is available on the city's website.
For the first time since hearing of the difficulties in the negotiations, I feel like I have the information available to form a valid opinion on what is going on.
Based on the initial purchase price, interest, and refinancing costs, it appears to me that the city, through the re-allocation, has already contributed nearly $11 million of a total cost of about $21 million.
This seems more than a fair share. It would seem that now is a good time to bring the negotiations back to their starting point: a fair share of operating expenses for the public safety center.
At this point, the city council has shared information showing that they are performing their duty as elected officials to act in the best interest of their constituents.
Now it's time for the county commissioners to be as forthcoming and informative.
We, the residents of Craig and Moffat County, have the right to expect this of our elected representatives, and it's our duty as citizens, taxpayers, and voters to demand it.