Failing to prioritize can be costly

Jacksonville taxpayers should brace themselves for rough times ahead, as local politicians continue to spend like there is no tomorrow.

The latest news is that a new jail might cost $1 billion.

This would be on top of the $1 billion the public might get socked with to build a new stadium to replace the almost new existing stadium.

It would be in addition to the $1 billion, or probably more, taxpayers will pay to remove septic tanks that don’t need to be replaced.

In the background is a call for a new police headquarters. The sheriff is putting that off by leasing space for his administrative staff.

All this follows the billions already spent in the past couple of decades on infrastructure such as the courthouse and roads, and rising pensions.

And there is the looming threat that Lenny Curry’s plan to forestall the pension fund crunch might be upended and who knows what that will cost?

It is true that infrastructure is a recurring cost. Things wear out or a need arises for additional public works as the population rises.

But that is why you set priorities.

The worst case of setting priorities was when Curry decided to increase taxes to replace the non-existent threat of septic tank pollution.

For years, politicians and bureaucrats allowed thousands of new septic tanks to be installed, and took little or no action to force property owners to maintain or replace them. This as hundreds of miles of sewer lines were added throughout the city.

Then they declared septic tanks a hazard.

At the same time, the state government was saying septic tanks are not a threat. The local politicians never even bothered to make a case that the environment was being harmed.

The upshot is that hundreds of people who bought homes cheap because they had septic tanks will see the value of their homes increase at the expense of their neighbors who already have paid for their own sewer lines.

Many of them probably don’t realize, however, that their property tax and utility bills are going to increase after this “free” gift.

In any event, it is a waste of money that could have gone to other needs if some people had set priorities instead of spending willy-nilly with Other People’s Money.

Lloyd Brown

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.


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