Editorial

Have $12 million to spend? Take your time

Posted 11/22/22

The Park County government is tasked with solving a very enviable problem: How to spend $12 million?

However they answer that question, they should take their time. This money doesn’t have a …

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Editorial

Have $12 million to spend? Take your time

Posted

The Park County government is tasked with solving a very enviable problem: How to spend $12 million?

However they answer that question, they should take their time. This money doesn’t have a spend-by date and thus it should be allocated only after real debate in front of the public to decide the projects truly most in need.

As this money doesn’t have to be allocated quickly, would there be a benefit to holding on to a portion as insurance against a future downturn in the county’s finances or a future expensive emergency?

When announcing the federal fund windfall last week, commission chair Dossie Overfield rattled off a number of county projects, from road repair to HVAC system work, that has been put off for years. Some of that stuff may not be the most exciting projects, but they may be the most necessary as well, so commissioners should weigh those projects closely.

But $12 million is a lot of money and could be dispersed around more broadly than to just a few projects. If the Powell Library receives less than they had hoped for during their grant process, would the county be able and willing to add some to make up the difference?

It’s become a challenge for county departments with vehicle fleets, such as the sheriff’s office, to replace vehicles in time due to supply shortages. Would a chunk of change to buy a couple of extra vehicles help that situation?

Maybe there are members of the public who have good ideas no one else has thought of. Those voices should have a good chance to be heard.

After a recent aye vote on a constitutional amendment, the county could even invest some of that money the same way the state has done very successfully over the years. Would that be beneficial, is it too risky or are there more needed projects to fund than money coming in?

There are a lot of questions to ask. Hopefully commissioners and members of the public will ask them before this financial windfall for the county is all gobbled up.

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