Letter To The Editor: CIP And Bonding Process Flawed

By JIM REDMAN
Los Alamos
 
The way Councils spend the taxpayer’s Capital Improvement Fund is flawed and the current bond process lays bare just about everything that is wrong with the CIP process.

Suggesting to softball players, golfers and others that unless they support the bond issue they won’t get improvements is misleading. Associated with the bond is $13 million of CIP money, so money available for recreation.

 
Nominally we’re supposed to consider that some sort of matching funds for the bond although it’s all taxpayer money. That money could be used to provide upgrades to the various facilities. Additional funding is required for a recreation center, ice rink and a pool, not necessarily the upgrade items. 
 
So why, when all Councils have been so vocally opposed to “logrolling” in citizen petitions do they suddenly feel that mixing issues in the bond is acceptable? The presentation of the bond, if not the bond itself, is disturbing.

We need direct, binding voter control over the CIP process – approximately $30 million taxpayers dollars per year. We have clear historical evidence of Council preempting the process on projects that citizens disagree with. When I bring up the Municipal building I’m told that’s history and we should trust the current council to be mindful of taxpayers monies. 

 
However, with the memory of a vote to spend up to the $250,000 of taxpayers money on a consultant and the entire “re-branding” debacle still fresh in my mind, I’m not convinced.

So be honest with the citizens and let them set priorities. The taxpayers should vote on the spending from future years of CIP and whether they’d prefer to use that for recreation rather than a bond. The taxpayers should choose the priorities for the $13M already accepted as being a reasonable source for immediate recreational improvements. The taxpayers should be presented with an honest bond issue – with each facility identified separately instead of dressing it in the “something for everyone” guise.

If you haven’t yet mailed in your ballot, don’t abstain, a “no” vote may send a message to the Council that they need to fix the process. Once we determine how our monies are spent, then we can decide whether more is needed.

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