It’s easy to see the view of many Belleville officials: Spend $150,000, get $600,000 in improvements at Bicentennial Park. What a sweet deal, right?
But some aldermen and many taxpayers see an alternative view: That $600,000 isn’t free money, It didn’t fall from the sky; it came from the taxpayers’ pockets.
The Metro-east Park District is putting in about $150,000 of the total. Tax dollars. About $300,000 of the total will be funded by the state Department of Natural Resources. Again, tax dollars.
The City Council on Monday voted 9-5 to proceed with this project, but is this the best use of the city’s money? Spending $150,000 on the park means that the city will have $150,000 less to spend on high priority needs like streets and public safety. The city in 2012 spent $845,000 in public and private money on the park - considered at the time enough to make it usable. We didn’t expect more spending so soon.
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When you’re shopping, you don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. Just because the city could have this deal doesn’t the aldermen should have grabbed it.