Another day, another over-budget project. What makes this one special is that the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) took steps to contain costs rather than simply gripe and then rubber stamp the spending. Although Carruthers, no paragon of financial restraint herself, did make some crack about marble counter tops.
If the BOCC truly wanted to do right by the taxpayers, they could demand accurate budget estimates from staff at the outset. They could demand that staff compare those estimates to similar projects done elsewhere to demonstrate that they did their homework. They could hold staff accountable if their estimates consistently come in way over actual costs.
Here’s the thing though. Very often, it is the BOCC, not staff, that is the source of the problem. The Cudjoe Regional wastewater project is, of course, the prime example. Kolhage and Carruthers, who both like to pretend they are budget hawks, were enthusiastic supporters of financial recklessness when it came to that project. That $147 million project now costs $196 million.
Berstein Park is another example. That park started off at a budgeted cost of $3 million. The price tag now stands at $8 million – more than double the initial amount. Once again, Kolhage and Carruthers were in the mix. They knew from the beginning that the project included a community center. They knew the approximate cost of that community center. Yet they feigned surprise at the bid price of the project. A little honesty from these two would be a refreshing change.
Let’s face it. None of the county commissioners are clean. But when it comes to reckless, irresponsible spending, Kolhage and Carruthers lead the pack. Not only do they rubber stamp over-budget projects nearly 100% of the time. They gripe about it and approve it anyway – claiming they are fiscally responsible all the while. It’s ridiculous performance art, but more than that it’s just plain dishonest.