Thursday, December 16, 2010

Peoria County Board - Political Payback

Please read my "Letter to the Editors" of the Journal Star that will appear in the Spotlight Section on the Editorial Page this weekend.

My comments come from the inside as a 10 veteran of a tax and fee supported political body. If some are offended by the truth, I too have been offended too often by this board when I was asking questions trying to receive truthful answers.

As an example, I was the only one showing concern as to why we accepted the 43 acre rundown former Hanna City Correctional Center from the State of Illinois without a plan to use it and the money to support the plan.

I was the only one to really questioned why Peoria County was going to build a new nursing home whose price tag started at $29 million and now appears to be close to $50 million. A two story building with only 175 beds compared to the 300 beds now. Those strongly promoting a new home are calling it a "safety net" for the poor while at the same time approving a highly upscale home that they said had to "compete" with the private sector???

Few counties in the State of Illinois have County owned nursing homes yet I was unsuccessful in getting support until lately after it appears to be too late as the land appears to have been purchased. I expect the full board will approve all recommended plans.

Yet the question of selling the facility and writing a detailed contract to include letting all current residents leave only by attrition if they so desired, was ever discussed and the pros and cons of selling were never presented to the board by administration.

I am strongly opposed to the expansion of government bureaucracy. Some of the Republicans on the board approved government expansion as did all the Democrats.

Some will not be happy with my comments. They are still on the board and can ensure that Peoria County Government never goes back to the condition it was in 2000, without asking the taxpayers for more money, the year I was first elected. We were in serious financial condition, so serious we had to borrow to meet payrolls and expenses. The county approved a balanced 2011 budget early this year yet faces a questionable 2012 and 2013 if the economy in the county and the state do not make substantial financial improvement.

The county has also accepted the problems of ownership of a museum building whose contents are controlled a separate museum board.

The county is also planning to get in the training of minorities who want to start their own businesses. To do so will require the ownership of a building, hiring talented people and creating more pension and health care expenses. The city also appears to want to get in this minority training business with the county.

This plan I oppose for reasons to numerous to post here yet it appears the past board (and administration) was highly in favor of this new expensive, taxpayer supported endeavor.

As to government bodies making loans to entities like FireFly, we neither have the knowledge nor the financial position, a position almost always 3rd if the loans are not repaid but we keep on lending because that is what all competing governmental bodies are doing to lure new business. These taxpayer supported new businesses often competing against established businesses who made it without governmental largess.

Anyway, read my LTE. You may find it interesting.

Eleven years ago, a local columnist wrote that people like me are a "dying" breed. Some people hope so. Time will tell.

1 comment:

Steve C. said...

Load both barrels Merle and let em have it. Are others scared to say what they know, only to have you call them out? I don't see any rebuttals from that side. Is there obvious corruption, as revealing information might lead one to that conclusion. It's evident the general public is clueless concerning the direction and goals of City Govt., the media offers little.