---- — Let’s spend down surplus on projects
As a candidate for the Center Township Advisory Board, I have been talking to people about the “surplus problem” in the Township Fund. If elected, I would be in favor of spending the surplus down for worthwhile infrastructure projects but keeping a necessary tax rate.
There are some who propose dropping the tax rate to zero and living off the surplus. However attractive that sounds, the State Board of Accounts might look unfavorably on reinstating the rate when the funds would be depleted. It might even take special legislation in the state Legislature. Both could be risky for the township’s future finances.
I think it would make more sense to figure the average of necessary, actual spending the last five years and setting that as the rate. Then, the surplus could be spent for worthwhile projects benefiting the community, like the playground fence at Foster Park and other such improvements at Highland Park the township has purchased.
Personally, I think the trolleys are one of the best things that have happened in Kokomo in years. If the city could handle lengthening the trolley day from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. or running a route at 9 p.m. to pick up students at IU Kokomo and Ivy Tech, I would favor buying another trolley from the township surplus. The legality of such a purpose would have to be checked, but the State Board of Accounts Township Manual lists education assistance as a legitimate township expense.
I don’t see the surplus as a problem but a possibility to improve Kokomo!
New meeting room just isn’t necessary
Recent letters to the editor aren’t letters of opinion. They’re letters of fact corresponding to actual meetings where voices and concerns are being brushed off or completely ignored by our county commissioners.
News media accounts after a recent meeting described the commissioners’ plan to spend many thousands of dollars to fix up a meeting room on the basement floor of the courthouse to accommodate more people and have a fancy sound system. What for? The people who take time out of their day to attend with questions and concerns get either no response or arrogant responses. Why should the taxpayers have to foot the bill for fixing up a different meeting room when concerns are not acknowledged in the room we have now?
Records show that in 2009, the commissioner meeting room and the council chambers were completely refurbished at a very reasonable cost to the taxpayers. They look quite attractive and are a tribute to the historic nature of the original courthouse.
Other than meetings where “wind” is being discussed, there are empty seats in both rooms. At the last commissioner and council meetings, not all chairs were filled. Maybe after people go to a few commissioner meetings they get discouraged and decide it isn’t worth their time to attend again.
The commissioners earmarked $70,000 to create a fancy meeting room on the bottom floor. The decision to abandon the beautiful meeting rooms we have now in favor of spending $70,000 to fix up one that might add 25 more seats was made with reckless disregard and zero input from the public. We have other options right here in the community (like the Tipton County Foundation) to have meetings for crowds up to 85 people.
Why do these “leaders” want to spend a lot of our money on another room when they gave a facelift to the ones that were designed to be the commissioner and council meeting rooms and are adequate for most meetings?
The decision is typical of their leadership. Last spring they ripped out healthy landscaping plants that just needed trimmed and were planted only four years before. They cut down healthy trees on the front lawn and then left the stumps for weeks on end and a local businesswoman tripped over one and broke her foot. The county was responsible for her medical bills.
The new meeting room plan is a knee-jerk reaction or maybe it’s just somebody’s “pet project.” There are many things in the courthouse that need attention more than creating an extravagant room for citizens to come to meetings and be treated with disrespect. Unless you want more of the same wasteful spending, lack of respect for the historical nature of the courthouse, a shortage of business knowledge, and rude attitudes toward the people they serve, then it would make good sense to vote for a “changing of the guard.”
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Opinion, Kokomo Tribune
300 N. Union St.
Post Office Box 9014
Kokomo, IN 46904-9014