Where was the oversight?
Was anyone on the Front Royal Town Council using oversight to monitor escalating construction costs of the new police station? That is a question that I have been struggling with since September 2013 when council approved going forward with designing the building. How in the world can construction costs double from an estimated $4 million dollars to $8 million dollars in five short years?
Leave the New Markets Tax Credit Program out of the equation because it appears from news articles I’ve read in local papers that nobody from council or the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority ever saw an approved document that Front Royal had been approved for funding in the program. Where was the oversight? How can a municipality go forward with a project based on heresay?
The Town Council will most likely have to fund the new police station over 30 years – that will require annual payments of $580,000, which equates to $17.4 million. In order to meet those payments, the council has redirected $90,000 of funds annually from a connector road that has been in the town’s plans for over 20 years. In my opinion, the completion of that road is critical to future development of the Royal Phoenix site.
Now if council, in my opinion, does the right thing and decides to go with a 20-year loan to fund the police department, then payments would be $730,000 annually or $14.6 million, thereby saving the taxpayers approximately $3 million dollars over the life of the loan. The savings on the loan itself would have paid for the construction of the connector road, which would have been a win-win scenario. All that the taxpayers needed was some oversight on the project to keep construction costs down to an affordable range, which appears to be in the area of $6.5 million.
Sometimes one has to just say no! You can have this, but you can’t have that, and that my friends is called oversight.