There will be a public hearing on the city’s proposed Capital Improvements Plan this coming Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at the regular City Council meeting. This is our chance to have a say in where the City of Suffolk is spending our tax dollars.
One project on this list that likely needs to be jettisoned is the Suffolk Seaboard Trail. This is a proposed 11 mile hiking/biking trail following the path of the former railway line. While it sounds like a good idea, this project requires the city to put up $190,000 dollars in order to get a $747,000 grant from Virginia Department of Transportation. Yes, the same DOT that is having trouble filling potholes & repairing roads throughout the state is looking to send $747,000 to pave over an old rail line. Oh, and don’t forget – this project will add $25,000 to the city’s budget each year for upkeep and maintenance to the Trail. Is this really a good use of both state and city funds in today’s economy?
Another potential money drain is the slated Bennett’s Creek Recreation Center. The city will acquire the Armory Building on Bennett’s Creek Park Road in a land swap with the Army. They want to dump 1.5 MILLION dollars into the building to convert it into a rec center, which will add close to HALF A MILLION dollars to the city budget EVERY YEAR in staffing, upkeep, & maintenance. We all know that amount will only increase each year. What’s worse, this proposed rec center is only a hop, skip, & jump away from a current rec center! Creekside Rec Center, located in Creekside Elementary, is right on the corner of Bennett’s Creek Park Road. Here’s a map of the city’s current rec centers, with the proposed location being the red balloon:
So, just to get the straight, we have firefighters & police officers who haven’t seen a decent raise in years. We’ve got teacher who also haven’t had a decent raise, and a school system that is currently rationing paper and other supplies. But, oh, let’s dump 1.5 million this year and add half a million to the budget yearly for a rec center, that will be located right down the road from a current rec center, and up the road from a city park. Because that’s a brilliant use of taxpayer dollars right there, isn’t it?
This is just the start. Read through the plan yourself. Bring your findings to our next meeting, Feb 19, 2013. We’d love to hear what our members spot that we may have missed.