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Debt Restricts Fixing Other Needs

Editor,

So, here we are back to 1995 with our village entrance project. Thirteen years ago we were looking at a project of $10 to $20 million. Today it is pegged by Elizabeth Pearson at $35.3 million and this appears to be a “guestimate” until the project is put out to bid.

Has anyone seen a public project completed without going significantly over its original projected cost?  Does anyone really believe that this project will be any different?

California cities are already facing the probability that billions in unfunded pension liabilities of the state’s Public Employees Retirement Fund will be passed off to them to absorb. Certainly there are other financial bombs yet to be dropped on California cities, because this is the kind “change you can believe in” coming out of Sacramento today.

Sure, I want a beautified city entrance, but maybe our attention is being diverted away from other more urgent city needs. Our infrastructure is old and fragile. Our sewers and water lines need replacement. We are struggling with ever increasing traffic problems daily and not just on weekends. Should we be encumbering ourselves with a $35 million plus project over first addressing our pressing infrastructure needs?

Rather than incurring such a financial burden, has anyone ever explored a long-term lease of such a project to a private enterprise for the purpose of constructing and operating a parking garage, a joint venture project with the city?

I favor a village entrance project that will not jeopardize our city’s current reportedly solid financial position in any way. We have only so many tax dollars and we have to prioritize our real needs against what we might like by way of an entrance way.

 

Don Knapp, Laguna Beach

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