2011-05-21 / Editorials & Letters

‘It’s time for a divorce’

Editor:

Buckeye Lake Village officials need to wake up and start serving the taxpayers instead of creating more revenue for ME Companies. Just because we hired ME to design the water distribution system and oversee the street repaving project doesn’t mean we’re married to them for life. In fact, it’s time for a divorce!

According to last week’s Beacon, ME’s Vice President Kevin Wood “has helped secure substantial grant funding and a no interest loan for the first phase of a storm water drainage project.” (Who asked him to do that?) He hopes the first phase, at a cost of $503,000 will take place later this year. (I bet he does... Cha-ching!!!) Wood also said he would find funding for future phases of the project! (Cha-ching....Chaching ching!!!)

Council President Hayden said it’s “a great opportunity for us.” Wake up Charlene ... it’s a great opportunity for ME Companies. They’re laughing at you all the way to the bank! Grants are great but they won’t pay for the ENTIRE project and this is just the start!

The Beacon also reported, “Wood said construction crews would have to cut into Buckeye Lake’s paved streets in some spots, but the streets would be restored quickly.” Quickly? Hmnnn. Really?

I wonder if that means as “quickly” as they have fixed our newly repaved streets that started crumbling within months after being resurfaced? We’re still waiting for that quick restoration! Cranberry Lane gets worse every day and it isn’t the only street breaking up.

It seems that ME Companies is so busy milking new money from our naive village officials, that they’re not worried about cleaning up their last project. Why?

Because they don’t have to.....no one is holding them accountable!

Council members can’t seem to tell you who authorized ME to apply for more funding. It should have been “council.” When was this issue discussed or voted before the May 9 council meeting? Why would we even consider using ME Companies to design and oversee even the construction of a dog house after their failure to oversee and follow contract specifications on the two last major projects? It seems we were also overcharged and they failed to pursue legitimate refunds due us from the contractor.

Council should put out a RFQ (request for qualifications) to develop a new list of engineers to interview. In this economy, there are many quality engineering firms willing to compete for the work. By the way, Charlene, it’s called “the free enterprise system” since it seems you’ve forgotten how it works.

Apparently, Hayden wants to rush the job to meet grant deadlines. Is that what we do when it concerns our own households? No, we take our time and GET IT RIGHT! Haste makes waste! That was certainly the case last time around with ME Companies. If council and the last mayor would have planned better, they would have done the storm system project in conjunction with the water project, but they too were in such a big hurry to get on with it. Now we’re tearing up the very streets we just put down. Not to worry though, we’ll get “grant money!” (Grant money=your tax dollars!) And zero interest loans are great but we still have to repay the principal. Where is that money going to come from?

Ask yourself…”Who is being served here?” Not the taxpayers. And, why is the council president so devoted to Kevin Wood? We shouldn’t be. The village has more than enough grounds for a divorce, so let’s cut him loose and let him take his high fees and poor work somewhere else.

Put the free enterprise system to work. Let competition and past reputation bring to the surface the best engineer for the job. When the right engineer is in place and we have studied whether we can afford to go further into debt, only then should we pursue a new project.

Keep in mind that it wasn’t too long ago that the village got overextended and couldn’t repay a debt. The result was that the property owners had an assessment placed on their tax bill. Charlene, can you guarantee us that won’t happen again? If not, slow down and let the ENTIRE COUNCIL make decisions as a group instead of trying to dictate the decisions on your own.

Peggy Wells
Buckeye Lake

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