Show us the cost com­par­i­son on county ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing op­tions

The Calvert Recorder - - Community Forum - Ron Rademacher, Port Repub­lic

In the Sept. 14 edi­tion of The Calvert Recorder, it was an­nounced that the out­go­ing com­mis­sion­ers once again slated Ar­mory Square as their pre­ferred site of the new build­ing for county em­ploy­ees. Ed­ward Ben­der was quoted giv­ing op­po­si­tion to the build­ing as be­ing cost in­ef­fec­tive. Com­mis­sioner Evan Slaugh­en­houpt (R) said the num­bers would keep climb­ing and not to be fooled by the 30-year num­bers.

I took the stated $356,580 yearly cost and al­lot­ted 3 per­cent yearly for in­fla­tion and did the math. At 50 years and an ex­pen­di­ture of a lit­tle over $40 mil­lion, we still have not reached the cost of the build­ing, ex­clud­ing the $20 mil­lion park­ing garage that they want to build. If my math is right, the $20 mil­lion garage rep­re­sents over $200 in costs to each and ev­ery man, woman and child now liv­ing in the county. The cur­rent com­mis­sion head has been de­ter­mined to charge this to us rather than use some of the land across the street for park­ing.

Might it have some­thing to do with the con­trac­tors’ web­site that popped up show­ing the area be­ing de­vel­oped? He de­nied it. You make your own mind up.

Get­ting back to the cost, I be­lieve it is def­i­nitely cheaper to lease at this time at the costs be­ing quoted. Not men­tioned in the costs is the cost of util­i­ties. If those are in­clud- ed in the cur­rent lease costs, then the pay­back pe­riod is even far­ther in the dis­tance.

Here is an­other thing to think about. If it takes 50 years to break even, not count­ing util­i­ties, what hap­pens at the 50-year point? I am bet­ting that a new build­ing ef­fort will start say­ing that this build­ing is 50 years old and needs re­plac­ing.

I also do not buy the ad­di­tional traf­fic is­sue with the old South­ern Mary­land Elec­tric Co­op­er­a­tive site. The schools only use those roads for the start and end of the school day and are not close enough to the road for pass­ing traf­fic to be a con­sid­er­a­tion.

This is a ma­jor ex­pen­di­ture. It should be brought in at the least cost pos­si­ble and show that it is sav­ing money over leas­ing. If not, keep the plan tabled un­til the time war­rants it. In a re­cent is­sue of the Recorder, a reader sent a let­ter in ask­ing the com­mis­sion­ers to do the right thing and al­low the in­com­ing re­place­ments to make this hard choice. This has turned into an ego-driven ef­fort by two com­mis­sion­ers in par­tic­u­lar who seem to be choos­ing their own agenda over a con­cise, well thoughtout de­ci­sion.

Do not waste our tax dol­lars in an un­nec­es­sary way. Show the costs of both the lease over years ver­sus the fi­nanc­ing and main­te­nance of a new struc­ture. If they are close, then it is up to the com­mis­sion­ers. If it is a def­i­nite ad­van­tage to lease for the next 20 to 30 years, then take the cost-ef­fec­tive path. It is easy to get caught up in emo­tions and make a rash judg­ment just be­cause you have power tem­po­rar­ily. In a few months, this de­ci­sion can be over­turned by the new folks com­ing in.

If I have the num­bers wrong, then show me real num­bers. Do not try to min­i­mize some­one by say­ing he is fool­ing you. The facts do not lie. Give us a long-term com­par­i­son and then spend our money as if it were your house­hold bud­get.

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