Are there enough shelter pros?Published 12:07am Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Adams County needs to answer a question that plagues communities all over the country — is a free handout from the federal government really free?
Adams County supervisors are mulling whether or not to move forward with the construction of an enormous storm shelter that would be primarily funded by a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The 361 storm shelter, as it’s called, would be capable of sheltering hundreds of people in the event of a hurricane or tornado.
Bids for construction came in over the original estimates. That means the county’s share of the local match has increased.
Our community has been down this road before — with some good outcomes and some not-so-good ones. The lure of state or federal grant money seems like a great thing.
“It’s like free money,” proponents suggest. But the free money usually comes with a few small, but important footnotes.
Usually a local match is involved, meaning the “free” money does come with a price, albeit small by comparison to the overall investment.
In this case, however, supervisors are correct to take pause and consider carefully if investing in the project is a wise use of county funds or not. Having a shelter would be great, but the real questions to consider are:
Do we really need one?
What are the ongoing maintenance costs, and should they be factors in the county consideration of just how “free” the federal money really is?
We trust supervisors will dig into all the details and make a wise decision that is in the best interests of the taxpayers.