County must account for costs

To the editor:

In The Exchange, there was an article on 2017 in review. One of the subjects was the “Fire Substations.” I found a few items interesting in the review. The commissioners ignored the fire commission on where the new fire station in the south was to be built. The fire commission wanted the station built on Leisure Road, the county commissioners decided to have the station built on Purcell Road. Was there an explanation on why the fire commission’s location was not accepted? Was this a decision based on lower costs?

Speaking of costs, how did a project that was expected for both substations to cost “under $300,000” to have a low bid of “$697,618”? The county manager promised the commissioners he had “run the numbers” and there was no concern! Why is there a difference from a project cost to a bid with a variance of $397,618? Who made the error? Why is the proposed project cost and the bid so inaccurate? I am concerned because this is our tax dollars. To hear a difference of almost $400,000 is acceptable is unacceptable. How can we afford to have this kind of inaccurate accounting? Maybe we should have a review of tax rate reduction if we have the extra money.

There should be complete transparency in why taxpayers are having to spend $697,618 for a projected $300,000 project. If this had happened in business, we all know what would have happened. This project has dragged on too long and there seem to be many unanswered questions.

Jim Johnston