Letter: We can’t afford it

Published 10:23 am Thursday, September 11, 2008

In the Aug. 30 Herald, Mary Keenan says about the jail, “No ordinary business could operate under these excessive expenses of time and energy that is lost in the process of transporting.”

Expenses in 2008 equal 600,000 in rent. Excess expenses when the new prison is operating will equal $4 million every year for 25 years. We are spending $4 million a year to save $600,000 per year. Mary is right about using business logic to make decisions, but her logic is reversed.

If this prison saves money why are we already cutting expenses elsewhere? Why did the county just vote to raise your taxes by 22 percent?  Shouldn’t we instead be looking for new ways to spend the money we will be saving? We have not even broken ground yet, and the cutbacks have started. Welcome Center, The Austin Symphony, DCA.  Why all the cuts?  Why are we questioning accepting a grant to expand the ARC and senior center, because we can’t afford the upkeep?  Maybe you don’t support these agencies, but perhaps the cuts will come to projects that you do support.

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The 22 percent tax hike does not cover operations, just bonding.  More tax increases are inevitable.

We have a few people that have put their wants above the needs of the community.  They want an ideal solution. We can’t afford it. What we are doing today works, and we can afford it.

James Bennett