The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
The City Council had its work session with the Parks Board last week; it was enlightening, to say the least. The biggest problem isn't the money, it's a struggle over turf between the Parks Board and city staff. It appears that the Parks Board members don't trust key members of city staff. If I understood correctly what was said, usage and overall revenue estimates for the "Taj Mahal" (Community Center) were OK, it's the operating costs that are the problem. When the Parks Board attempted to cut costs by cutting hours, they found themselves at odds with the Council. My thoughts are that the City Council should let the Parks Board determine the most effective hours, user fees, etc., for the Taj, then make up the money for any changes demanded by the Council. Maybe the Council & Parks Board should meet without staff present?
The PCA Road fiasco is drawing lots of attention in NE Warrensburg. One advantage to our 4- month drought is that we've had an almost-perfect construction season. It's unfortunate that the design engineers picked the area where soil was deficient to not have adequate soil tests and that the dangers of the most obvious detour weren't adequately foreseen. You can't expect residents to take the safer detour via NE-175 and the traffic signals at Wal-Mart - it must be all of 1/2 mile longer to get downtown (plus 5 extra pounds of dust).
I won't take the City Council to task for not asking the GWACC&VC (Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center) tough questions on the tourism tax money, since the agenda was so lengthy anyway. I understand that Rolla's tourism tax administration was hammered by an audit report from the state; something about inadequate controls. Perhaps the Council was taking pity on the GWACC&VC for its public humiliation in the County Commission letter about their carnival.
The firefighters gave a very professional and positive presentation as to why they want more money. The City has a real dilemma: they don't pay enough at certain steps to retain younger and more mobile firefighters, but if they adjust firefighter pay, then they may find themselves saddled with unions in other departments. My suggestion? Compare the cost of continually replacing trained & certified people to the cost of keeping them. Toss in the cost to the city of potential lost lives and property if we don't have the people to respond; toss in the additional costs if wages are changed in other departments. Then, make the analysis public and decide publicly.
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