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Letter to the Editor: Vote ‘No’ on Aug. 6

To the Editor:

Citizens of Dallas County, I urge you to vote NO on the Aug. 6 Dallas County Bond Referendum.

Why? 1) Several expenses weren’t taken into account, resulting in the need to increase the budget and/or compromise critical infrastructure; 2) The viability of the East Adel/Ortonville site is questionable; and 3) Dallas County Supervisors dropped the ball when it came to considering an alternative that would keep the administrative offices and public safety facilities in a central downtown Adel location instead of spreading them across a distance of several miles.

Skyrocketing costs.

There are discrepancies in the cost estimate from Design Alliance for the new administration and jail/public safety facility in Ortonville. The original estimate was $16.7 million (which they used for their site selection). Now it’s $21.6 million. Why the $4.9 million increase? To be fair, the Supervisors claim taxpayers won’t be burdened with a bill that’s more than 16.5 to 17.2 million; however, even if they take $5.5 million from the Dallas County capital improvement fund, as the Supervisors plan to do, will there be enough to cover additional expenses not included in the estimate such as important site work, a 325-acre parking lot, general and security lighting for the complex, and security fencing? And what about the cost of Highway 6 turn lanes, traffic signals, 600 feet of sewer pipe, a storm water retention system, and surface water drainage maintenance and upgrades? Will some of these elements be cut from the project if the budget doesn’t allow for them? How would this affect the operational feasibility and safety of the new public complex?

Ortonville isn’t viable.

Besides the obvious problems associated with decentralizing the County’s administrative and public safety facilities by a distance of several miles (the logistical nightmares), consider the implications of moving the public safety dispatch center and computer system mainframe and the unreliability of Ortonville’s utilities (this is a rural area). In December 2012, power was out for more than 24 hours in an ice storm. How long can a jail and county offices run on a generator?

There’s a better option.

On April 29, 2013, the Adel City Council and the Adel DeSoto Minburn School Board asked the Dallas County Supervisors to postpone their decision on the site selection to allow for a proposal to use the old Adel Middle School property. The Supervisors denied the request, and in doing so, turned their backs on an option to build a new, three-story building on the site with ample space for a future addition. There wouldn’t be a need for a new parking lot or parking garage (a cost savings of $6.695 million). Existing street parking and additional angled parking on Court St. between 10th St. and 11th St., as well as street improvements funded by the City of Adel, would resolve any parking concerns.

The City’s proposal would have included the standard accommodations for any new business or business expansion. Proper siting of the building would keep traffic levels in check (after all, there were no issues when the school was operating with building access and egress on three street-facing sides).

The Supervisors have stated their concern about flooding, and they cited this as a reason for moving away from downtown Adel. But the Adel Middle School site isn’t in the flood plain, and floodwaters haven’t been close to the square since the late 1940s. Besides, if downtown flooding is a concern, why are the Supervisors proposing to move the archives to the Sheriff’s Office Building on North Nile Kinnick?

Vote NO.

By voting NO on Aug. 6 you’ll cast a vote for a better solution to the problem Dallas County faces as it outgrows its current facilities.

Bob Ockerman

Taxpayers for Responsible Spending