Letter: City officials wasting taxpayer dollars

To the editor:

City officials need to represent us!

The city of Greenwood and government overall is out of control.

How can you (mayor, council members, redevelopment commission, etc.) look us (the taxpayers) in the eye and say you are representing us while you spend our money with such disregard?

You need to learn the difference between government and private business.

If a water park was a profitable endeavor, most of us would have no objection to an individual or a private company building and operating one in our city.

Surely you understand that the majority of taxpayers did not and do not support you spending our money on a “business” that, in the future, will cost more and more to operate and maintain regardless of the money it brings in. Why even ask for the community’s opinion or a vote if you are going to do whatever you want no matter what WE say?

It’s irresponsible for a city to play “real estate developer” by buying property and building commercial buildings just to entice a private company to locate here, regardless if that company is profitable or even established.

People (not the city) own the buildings along Main Street. Those people either run their own business or rent to other business owners (hopefully at a profit).

If those individuals wish to upgrade or remodel their buildings, they have that right.

Surely you noticed, as soon the owners’ price tag began rising some of those owners started dropping out. Funny how that works. When someone is getting something for “free” they’re all for it. When we have to pay for things ourselves we are more careful and weigh the need or desire against our budgets to decide whether to proceed with a project.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks it’s a waste of our money to upgrade someone else’s buildings. If they want to make their building more attractive, let them hire a contractor and have the work done.

I’d bet that any of those owners wouldn’t continue with a project after the contractor more than doubles the price. And neither should we.

I am a remodeling contractor. How would you (city officials) react if I came in your house, gave you a price of $7,000 for a job, and as soon as I got your approval and began the job, I announced that the job will actually cost you $17,000? Would you say “oh well, you obviously need scaffolding, windows, and doors to do the job?” Or “well, I just realized my house IS old, and you’re finding issues that you didn’t see earlier?”

In the Daily Journal story “Estimates Off The Mark,” on Feb. 25, there are excuses after excuses why the Main Street project price tag continues to grow. (Which, by the way, seems to happen with every government project!)

We hired a “consulting company” for $150,000 to estimate the cost of the project.

One hundred-fifty thousand dollars! What did we get for that huge sum? They throw a number up in the air and collect their money! In my opinion that fee should be refunded. And in the future, what’s wrong with getting firm prices on projects?

How many city officials would tolerate in their own homes what they not only tolerate, but encourage, when they are spending OUR money?

Chris Feilen