City Hall numbers not transparent

Editor:

Where is the transparency in our Sweet Home City Council?

The City Council and staff need to be cautious and forthcoming when it comes to the construction cost for the new City Hall.

Transparency is critical. When I go grocery shopping, I don’t get a bill that reads “Groceries, $60.35”. It doesn’t even lump things together like, “$20.05 for dry goods, $40.30 for fruits and vegetables.” My bill is itemized for every single purchase. This allows me to bargain hunt if I so desire.

When I get repairs done to my home, I don’t get a lump sum estimate. I demand itemization, so I can make an informed decision.

So why would our City Council accept a construction contract from a contractor who doesn’t properly itemize their bid? Flooring should be broken down with a price per square foot; likewise drywall, painting, etc. The lump sum for electrical appears to be outrageously overpriced. What are the labor costs?

Armed with a fully itemized bid will allow city residents who are knowledgeable in construction or other trades to evaluate the bid and provide their input to the city so that they could possibly save the tax-payers in Sweet Home some money.

How does the City Council know whether any of these prices are out-of-line?

The City Council needs to trust but verify. Perhaps they are used to seeing high-dollar bids for large city projects, so the new City Hall construction bid simply doesn’t appear to be an issue, but residents who pay high property taxes need assurances that these costs are not being inflated for any illegitimate purposes.

It is this city’s residents who ultimately pay for the cost in higher taxes or higher water bills or whatever bills the city decides to inflate in order to cover these costs.

I suggest that other city residents attend City Council meetings and join me in demanding more transparency.

Larry Angland

Sweet Home

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