To the Editor:
The purpose of this letter is to ask simple questions about the Madison County Board’s hasty decision to let $18.8 million in jail bonds.
Although some question the need for renovation, if the jail needs repair why not use Madison County’s $23 million tax surplus and conduct prioritized repairs in increments and prevent higher property taxes?
Few citizens realize current Madison County bonds will be paid off in approximately two years. Are you aware if Mr. Dunstan lets no new bonds our property taxes could go down? Given an excess from prior taxes why not give beleaguered tax payers a break?
If it is true the company letting the bonds is already selected and has provided donations to Democrats does this appear like a conflict of interest or pay to play?
Are you aware some estimates for the cost of the company handling the bonds are almost $180,000 at the tax payers’ expense? This potential conflict of interest wouldn’t be an issue if surplus funds were used.
A recent Belleville News-Democrat editorial further amplified the issue of an "appearance of evil" by pointing out the County Board Member Jack Minner’s ties to those participating in the jail renovation process.
Perhaps you received Mr. Dunstan’s colorful campaign literature last year touting Madison County government as a “government that works.” One wonders if Mr. Dunstan’s campaign literature meant - "Madison County: the government that works for Dunstan’s party and its cronies."
Are you aware the board’s vote would be illegal in Missouri where voters must approve all bond issues? Could this be why Missouri has a balanced budget and lives within it?
Citizens are currently circulating petitions to place this issue on the ballot. Would you like to sign? Contact me at 618-402-6998.
Philip W. Chapman