I was very disappointed in the response, or lack thereof, to my last letter regarding the Benito Juarez Aquatic Center. The only one that hit the E-T was a veiled suggestion that by writing a letter to the editor mine was a less than responsible civic contribution. I personally felt it was a tepid and indifferent attempt to defend an indefensible position. The fact remains that four and a half million bucks is far too much for a city of 16,000 souls to spend on a swimming pool.
I dare say the money spent so far would greatly exceed the cost of putting the old pool in working order although I do agree that we do, in fact, need a better facility. But we donít need to make a group of carpet bagging consultants wealthy in the process. Remember, if my information is correct, the same people who said the old pool was unsalvageable were the same ones who came up with the plan to spend no less than four and a half million of our dollars. And anyone who thinks - if the full project is approved - the final bill will be under five million needs to call me. I have some beachfront property out in Selden you might have some interest in purchasing. Really, call me.
To top it off, the plans put before the council are certainly nothing spectacular and are probably available in the common domain. I would almost bet you could offer nearly any marginal Tarleton Industrial Arts student with access to an internet connection $500 to come up with a similar and suitable set of plans and he would be knocking on your door to collect his money before dark.
I donít know why someone other than myself hasnít asked about the funding for this project. According to the E-T coverage of the council meeting where these plans were unsheathed, one of the councilors said he would rather ďpay cash.Ē Where is this cash? And, where did it come from? I have always been under the impression that any taxing entity was authorized to collect only the monies necessary to fulfill its mission with certain contingency provisions. If this is true and if the city has enough cash on hand to fund this enormous expense the public has overpaid at the tax office and is due a refund. I may very well be completely wrong - that certainly wouldnít be a novel experience - but I feel questions of this nature are long overdue.
I realize this is probably a Quixotic mission because the money spenders already have the bit in their teeth and it will be all but impossible to rein them in. But there are other civic developments on the horizon. There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the need for a new library plus a new senior citizens center and modern recreation hall and these endeavors will dwarf the swimming pool project. Iím curious if they will they be dealt with in a frugal, responsible manner, or will the powers that be get sandbagged by another sounder of consultants.