Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2013, 2:51 pm
Letter: Steps RICO board must take to address buildings
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Nowhere is the crisis of confidence in the Rock Island County Board more evident than in the problems related to the county buildings. Over the past six months, it has been communicated that the county building and the courthouse are in such a dilapidated condition that they must be replaced.
For decades, maintenance and updates have been ignored and funding sent elsewhere. The lack of credibility on the part of the board is evident.
Attempts to relocate have been met with suspicion. Now, out of the blue, they want to buy acreage downtown. People see potential for under-the-table deals in their every move. The board has failed to communicate anything that resembles a clear honest process for evaluating and identifying the best solution.
The best way forward would be to organize a committee to look at the alternatives and make a recommendation. To insure a recommendation based on integrity, I would propose they start with board representation from Don Johnson (D), and Drue Milke (R). Both have shown themselves to be willing to ask the hard questions.
I would also urge chairman Phil Banazsek and member Steve Meersman to stay out.
Mark Schwiebert and Bobby Schilling would be other men of integrity who might be considered for leadership roles. Options of multi-year upgrade/repair, renovating along the lines of the Scott Christiansen proposal, or building new near the current location should be in the project scope. Findings of the committee should be publicized.
One thing is certain: Due to neglect and mismanagement by current board leadership, any solution will likely cost taxpayers in the form of yet another increase in property taxes.
William S. Bloom,