Alex Hampton: Waiting for explanations
December 19, 2008
Craig — To the editor:
This letter is to the city of Craig, Moffat County commissioners and The Memorial Hospital: Why are our local governments and hospital sending money to Routt County?
I overheard a conversation a few weeks ago and couldn’t believe it, so I did some research and found out the following.
All three entities are going out of Moffat County to a business in Routt County for food at their Christmas parties.
The city of Craig never sent out a bid request for its party. They went directly to Routt County. Their party is at the Center of Craig, but is being catered by a Routt County business.
The Moffat County commissioners sent out for bids for the county’s party, but also chose a Routt County caterer for the party at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion. Their response: It was less expensive to go out of county.
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My response: Did you give the local businesses that did bid on it (there were at least four local caterers) the opportunity to match the bid, or change your menu or other arrangement to keep it in Moffat County? My other question is: If it is so expensive, and you are trying to save the taxpayers money, maybe you find a different way to celebrate your work and not have a Christmas party.
The Memorial Hospital asked the voters for a $30 million mill levy, and they passed it. Taxpayers are now paying it. You are going to get a brand new hospital and new working environment and you give back to the community by also neglecting to accept a local caterer’s bid? How many people from Routt County support TMH, anyway?
A recent Saturday Morning Press editorial talked about shopping locally; that for every dollar spent in Moffat County, on average it is spent in the local market six more times. It seems the residents of this community get this by seeing more than 200 people standing in line at Wal-Mart before it opened Friday morning after Thanksgiving. The local businesses also get this as they are opening earlier and staying open later, as asked to help people shop locally.
Why can’t our City Council, County commissioners and local hospital, which are supported by our voters, taxpayers and residents, get this?
So, since you three entities chose to not support local businesses to cater your events, you sent at least $10,000 times the six times over, which equals $60,000 to Routt County. You took away money from local businesses and their employees, who live and spend money in Moffat County and gave it directly to Routt County.
It wasn’t difficult to find the local businesses that could have done your parties if they had been given the opportunity to work with you:
• Brothers Processing
• The Boardroom restaurant
• OP Bar and Grill
• R&R Catering
• The VFW Steakhouse
• Holiday Inn
The city of Craig, the County commissioners and TMH, all three of you owe the voters, taxpayers, local businesses and Moffat County residents an explanation about why you sent all of that money to a different county when we have very reliable and capable businesses right here that would have bent over backward to help keep your parties affordable and worthwhile.
We will be waiting to hear your explanations. You owe us that.