Show us the cost comparison on county administration building options
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.