Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Mt. Lebanon, the Money Pit

Two articles have me shaking my head.

Mt. Lebanon Ice Center could be replaced next year
“I think we are on borrowed time,” said Commissioner Steve Silverman about the lifespan of the main rink and a studio rink, which have been damaged by buckling floors and a broken defrost system...An alternative favored by all of the commissioners would be total replacement of both rinks, which would take place during the off-season, between March and August of 2017. The cost is estimated between $1.7 million and $2.4 million...The municipality could pay for the project through capital funds, a bond issue or Regional Asset District funds through Allegheny County.
Costly public works project looms for Mt. Lebanon
“We need to do this, period,” said Commissioner David Brumfield. “We've known this for years. We've been working on this for years. Even with other costs, the fact of delaying this isn't a feasible option. It's not like if we didn't do this, we wouldn't be putting money into the public works yard over the next 10 years. We've all been in that building, and let's just say there are going to be a few dollars headed there no matter what happens. We need to figure out how to move forward.” 
A modified site plan for the facility, in which the prevention of flooding is a primary concern, estimates the total cost for the project to reach approximately $6.5 million.
So why the hell did we tear up two perfectly good fields to put in artificial turf at the cost of $1+ million. The turf is a year old. It has a life expectancy of 8 years or so. Are we putting away the required funds every year to pay for the replacement?

Why are we spending over $100,000 a year to kill deer which is intended to lower car/deer collisions, but has only tripled them? 

Mt. Lebanon spent $26,364 for parking sensors on Washington Road. Seriously, was that really needed?

Why was the greening of Rockwood Park rejected? Here is how Mt. Lebanon corrected the problem in Rockwood Park. 
Parking lot

Upper entrance to Rockwood Park

Entrance to Rockwood Park

More rails are falling off and deteriorating.

The patrolling has stopped again.

Ward 1 is going to keep their bricked streets. Ward 1 will continue to demand killing deer in Twin Hills Park. The lacrosse people in Ward 1 got their artificial turf. These are all pet projects of Ward 1 commissioner John Bendel. 

Ward 2 commissioner Steve Silverman wants more deer killing, was working to get an artificial turf field before he was sworn into office. He says that we are on borrowed time when it comes to the ice rink.

Ward 3's Steve McLean wants more deer killing. 

Dave Brumfield, Ward 4's commissioner wants more archery, just had to have the artificial turf, pushing for the public works project, was a big supporter of the swimming pool, had to have McNeilly Park, and wants to turf Mellon School's field.

I haven't spoken to Kelly Fraasch, Ward 5 commissioner in over a year, but I do remember how she was pushing for more property for Robb Hollow. We bought more parcels, for what? She voted for parking sensors. 

Mt. Lebanon has replaced former Assistant Manager Marcia Taylor when she retired with THREE full time people. 

At least three of these commissioners are numbers guys - running businesses, accounting, or banking. Don't they understand that there is just so much money available? When spending in one area, spending has to be cut in other areas. Basic accounting, Folks.


E. T. Gillen said...

Yes, I understand that the commissioners don't have to cut spending in one area to offset spending in another area. They can continue to tax and spend. Silly me. I was thinking about my own personal finances. I don't have the luxury to raise taxes to pay for my wants and needs. Only five commissioners and nine school board directors have that privilege here in Mt. Lebanon. To be clear, it only takes three commissioners and five school board directors to abuse their powers and hit us in our wallets.

Jason Margolis said...

The tipping point is near. You can see it on the MTL streets. That which you can no longer sell, you must rent. That which you cannot rent, you must abandon.

Right now, MTL is in transition from bring sellable to rentable. That is Stage 3 in the 10 Stages of Municipal Decline.

RG said...

Don't they understand that there is just so much money available?

Oh, they understand it, all right; they just think that there is more money available than what they are currently spending. Or to put it another way, while they've eaten a hell of a lot of pie, there is still pie left in the pan. This attitude is the hallmark of socialist economic thought; that businesses generate "surplus value," and the "surplus value" is always available for "the people" (i.e., the government).

The qualifications of our "numbers guys" are ostensible, at best. They don't have the credentials of the economists at the Reason Foundation, or someone like Duquesne University Economist Dr. Antony Davies; a person I once recommended to our commission as someone they might want to bring in for consultation. Any money sense they may have had in their own private lives was sacrificed at the altar of politics, once they became elected officials.

Unfortunately, few politicians are willing to go outside of "their own kind" in order to explore new ideas. Worse, few voters are willing to education themselves enough to demand alternative choices at the ballot box. So it is that the majority of the minority of Mt. Lebanon residents who bother to vote elect the same kinds of people over and over, get slapped in the face by their leaders, and respond by saying "thank you."

Anonymous said...

Dave Donnellan, the recreation director, was paid over $115,000 in 2015. He knew we were on borrowed time regarding the ice rink. I wonder if he had a conversation with anyone prior to the artificial turf decision that the ice rink would need a complete overhaul in the very near future. I also wonder for how long the ice rink has been in the condition it's in today.

Nick M.