By JEFF JOBE
In Monday night’s Glasgow City Council Meeting I was impressed with the degree of input from several individuals, touched by the fight or “gumption” of some and not surprised by others.
There is however an important issue brought up that remains unanswered. Can we afford this $6M water park and city park expansion or not?
Let’s start with Patrick Gaunce. I believe Patrick to be someone who is consumed by his compassion for less fortunate children and I can think of few things more admirable. His desire to push this project through is testament to this passion.
However long serving Councilman Wendell Honeycutt said, “We just simply cannot make those payments right now…” We need to understand that Wendell is an accountant by trade and we are fortunate to have an elected official with this training.
Along these lines Patrick said, “I’m firmly convinced, unless the finance, uh, Stephanie or Joe, will tell me that we don’t have the money… ” Patrick is a second generation successful family business owner who hires out these accounting services.
Stephanie Garrett and Joe LaScala are city employees hired to manage the accounting process of city government. Not sure if they were present but certainly weren’t called upon to give a financial standing for the city. One with natural trends from growth and projected liabilities should be part of the overall discussion if and when they do.
I believe it is important for us to take a good look at the big picture involving our community. Some issues Patrick may not have full knowledge or perhaps is allowing his compassion for kids to overshadow. I say this because any businessman such should take into consideration before passing such an obligation to the next generation.
Before I begin let me state this very clearly; thank you Patrick for what you have done for the children at the Boys and Girls Club, it is a wonderful facility and helps so many families in need. I also want to thank you for supporting Governor Matt Bevin and his foster care reform. You are indeed a good community partner.
My concern is nothing more than can we really afford this project? I have watched as Patrick, and others speak of how good our industrial community has done over the past decade or so… they even compare us to Warren County.
Yet the absolute truth is that Barren County is the only county to lose jobs during this time frame. Of course their work on the IDEA (Industrial Development Economic Authority in Glasgow) has brought jobs but overall we have lost jobs while Warren and every single other county in the Barren River Area Development District (BRADD) has grown. I have watched as Glasgow has spent millions of dollars buying land, and paying hundreds of thousands in salary while other communities we serve readers spend very little or none whatsoever and show growth.
Something here is costing us jobs, and it doesn’t seem anyone is looking for the reason. God knows I wish I had the answer. But jobs are not our only issues. We are losing services that are definite recruitment and retention tools and it seems nobody is trying to address. This year we saw the Glasgow Country Club close its doors. This facility has been taken over by the bank and is now sitting vacant. I can’t imagine any industrial recruiter not admit having a country club is better than having another vacant building.
There is not a day that I am not bombarded with money needs from dozens of wonderful charities. One that is close to my heart is the Glasgow-Barren County YMCA. Go see the kids out there each day after school and it will touch your heart. Here we are discussing a water park and the YMCA is growing a significant interest bearing deficit. It too will close if something doesn’t happen soon.
This “Cadillac” $6M package as Patrick describes it is for a water park and city park that has a $451,000.00 a year payment for 20-years. For those who may not completely understand the magnitude of this cost let me help break it down like this… In order to provide this $451,000.00 a year payment the following assumptions would be needed.
At .015% payroll tax it would take 600 full-time salaries at $50,000.00 a year for 20-years to pay this amount. Considering we are losing jobs I can’t imagine us gaining these jobs this year or the next so it is sure to come out of the existing budget.
It is essential that our newly elected Mayor Harold MD Armstrong step up and tell the community if there is a free $451,000.00 laying around his annual budget and if so; tell us this is the best use to save jobs, create new ones and raise the quality of life for us all.
Glasgow must remove the doors from all meetings, too much is going on behind closed doors and this deal just doesn’t make sense at all.