2011-01-29 / Editorials & Letters

Why won’t Buckeye Lake officials stand up for taxpayers

Editor:

Buckeye Lake Village Council President Charlene Hayden submitted a written report to council on January 10. The majority of the report deals with issues raised by The Beacon regarding the oversight of the re-paving project managed by ME Engineering.

Hayden states, “I have no problem with anything ME has done for and/or with the Village. I feel we have gotten our money’s worth, and more.” According to Hayden, “You have to trust your engineers.” She said ME Inspector Jack Christy (billed at $70 an hour) “felt Chemcote followed the specifications of the contract and did a good job.” Finally, Hayden says, “The bottom line here is: The only entities ME, Stillion, or Chemcote really need to satisfy are the funding agencies and the Village of Buckeye Lake.”

This is typical Buckeye Lake leadership mentality. How disappointing and sad that the council president cannot grasp the importance of good management and accountability. Obviously, she has NOT READ THE CONTRACTS or else she would be better informed about the shortcomings from Stillion and Chemcote. Her endorsements are somewhat surprising in light of council’s ordinance passed in November 2010 reducing payment to Chemcote due to work not completed. According to the November 8 council minutes, “The clerk explained the pay request and told the members that there is an ordinance for a change order on the agenda tonight that is a deduction from the original contract price; the change order will show an itemized list of what was not done.” The change order was a direct result of issues raised in Beacon editorials calling for a refund from Chemcote. The Beacon has also called for nearly $10,000 more in documented refunds due the village.

We must ask ourselves just who is representing the interests of the taxpayers? I believe that residents REALLY DO CARE about the quality of the product they get in exchange for the taxes they pay. These water pipelines and neighborhood streets belong to village residents. The federal dollars used on this project didn’t come from outer space.....it was from the pockets of children and grandchildren all across this country. If it wasn’t done right the first time, it will come out of our pockets DIRECTLY to do it a second time!

Elected officials should not be offended when we ask questions about public works projects. When Hayden said they only need to satisfy the funding agencies, she dismisses the taxpayers! It’s the same as saying, “We don’t have to answer to anyone except ourselves!”

Yes, we now have a public water system and the streets have been repaved ...except for the unfortunate residents of the Carlin Addition. Time will tell how long these water pipes in the ground will hold up and how stable the streets will remain. The hydrant at the corner of Hunts Landing and East Street is already tilting to the side and Cranberry Lane is cracking along the edges. There are other examples of poor workmanship around the village which will be evident when the snow melts. Public confidence in the quality and longevity of these projects would be stronger if the contract specifications would have been followed.

We should be able to trust the engineers. Like The Beacon pointed out, “Trust but verify!” Unfortunately, it seems our elected officials are leaving that to others! Thanks to The Beacon for verifying that the taxpayers were due a discount for work not completed. And thanks for your continued efforts on these issues.

Peggy Wells
Buckeye Lake

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