Garner council members are finding all the rough sports when it comes to spending bond money. At first, they learned the cost of a new police station would be a good bit more than budgeted. Council members were told they could either scale the project back, or take some money from another project on the bond menu.
Last week, council members ran into their next challenge. This one, fortunately, isn’t a money problem, but a size problem. Council had been presented with plans for a nearly 34,000-square-foot building that would provide a number of amenities, including three basketball courts, an indoor track, showers, lockerrooms and more. But as it turns out, a 34,000-square-foot building won’t hold all that stuff. In fact, the building most likely needs to be closer to 45,000 square feet. That’s a sight more than what council members – and voters – had been led to believe was necessary.
At last week’s meeting, council members heard several options, including building a bigger building, which we presume would represent a significant cost increase, eliminating some of the features in the building, such as one of the three basketball courts or building a building that could be expanded later.
It’s this last option that excites us. While we, like council member Gra Singleton, wonder where the first consultants got their figures, we now see a way the town can have its cake and eat it too, albeit with some delayed gratification.
Staying within the confines of what the town can afford and what will most quickly provide residents with increased services and opportunities, council members would prove themselves as prudent finance managers and sincere in their efforts to provide improved services to residents.
It’s too bad, at this point, that preliminary estimates now see badly out of line. It’s sort of like making plans to go see the Yankees play ball then having to settle for the Durham Bulls.
Nevertheless, by swallowing what it can tolerate now, Garner leaders will still have a chance to make it to the big league game in the future, all while they enjoy the minor league experience.