The Ben Column is full of good stuff this morning, including a question about the irresponsible expenditure of a million dollars for a chapel when it appears the county is on the verge of laying off people. With a county budget shortfall of $ 4 million (Lou’s number) we have fixed half of it here on Magazzu Watch. We advised to cease all benefits to part-time employees saving almost a million, and Mr. D. Hawk here saved the county another million. Even with the higher number we fixed 25% of the shortfall. These are all items that Lou Magazzu knew about prior to the election and failed to take proper action to keep the county financially stable.
Chapel vs. layoffs:
“It was with great interest that I read the bid invitation for quotes for the construction of the new veterans chapel (Bid # 09-35 resubmission) in today’s News.
“A bond was approved for this building in the amount of $1,000,000 earlier in the fall.
“This was during the election period and before we found out about our $4 to $8 million budget shortfall as announced by our board of freeholders.
“How did that happen?
“At the freeholder meeting on Thursday evening, it was pounded into those present that certainly the unions and other employees were asked to adjust or renegotiate their contracts in light of our lack of money.
“Either adjust, or there will certainly be layoffs to allow us to make up for the shortfall.
“At this time, the priorities must be to pay the bills. The freeholders stated they were searching everywhere to find where they could cut costs.
“Being the child of a veteran that was killed in the Battle of the Bulge, I have empathy for those families that have waited so long for a chapel at the veterans cemetery.
“God bless the veterans and their families.
“We must always remember those that have fallen for us.
“But, to go forward with this project while the county employees are being notified of wage concessions or layoffs is not making the best use of our tax dollars.
“I urge everyone to contact your favorite Freeholder and let them know that the employees of the county must put food on their tables and also be expected to pay the high taxes we all are forced to pay in this county.
“By the way, I was told the amount was not the amount mentioned above; they have redesigned and lowered the expected cost.
“If the bond was for $1 million, and they do not spend all of it, does the taxpayer save?
“Not at all.
“Whatever the difference between the bond approved and the cost of the chapel will be lumped into a future resolution to find something else to do with the money.
“They are not saving you money.
“They are going to spend all of it.
“Be sure to ask your favorite freeholder that question.’’
— D. Hawk