Road work finished, but we still pay

Published 12:08 am Sunday, October 16, 2011

The once-hot asphalt has long since cooled and the road workers have gone home, but Adams County’s $2.4 million road resurfacing project is still costing taxpayers.

We bristled at the idea last year when supervisors quickly passed the plan allowing incumbent supervisors to repave roads in their districts just before the election season. It smelled funny then, and it’s grown fouler — and costlier — over time.

The real problem is the seemingly lack of attention or forethought supervisors paid to the move. Earlier this month, as the new fiscal year had just started and a nearly half-a-million dollar bond payment was due, supervisors seemed stunned.

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The sudden lack of cash seemed to astonish some of them. They further were baffled when the Jackson bank that lent the money was unwilling to refinance the debt over a longer time period. It made sense to the supervisors that this would be possible — even before they’d made their first payment on the debt.

The bank wisely declined, and the county cut them a check and soon told county residents a spending freeze was in order.

Last week, supervisors unanimously voted to borrow $1.2 million to make ends meet until next year when property-tax revenue arrives.

Adams County’s payday loan will cost county taxpayers, as the money will come with a price — interest.

We wish supervisors could learn the other meaning of that word “interest,” as in acting with the best interest of taxpayers in mind rather than their own political self-interests to get re-elected.