Your Opinion: Untimely decision to conduct conference center study

Dear Editor:

You hired someone to do a market study? You mean like, to look at the Jefferson City market and determine whether or not a conference center was a good idea? Just when I thought this couldn’t get any better. It’s best/funniest to look back on our city government’s actions step by step throughout this process.

Jefferson City government’s conference center order of operations:

• Proposed a $20 million convention center.

• Passed a tax and pulled over a million dollars out of the local economy that would “completely fund it.”

• Proposed upgrades to the “existing facility” and to double funding, taking another $10 million through Transformation.

• Acknowledged you were $10 million short and that there was no proposal.

• Solicited bids for a hotelier to build facility.

• Paid a consultant 30k to decide what you should be looking for in a proposal, then a month later

• Paid the same consultant 17k to conduct a market study to see if a conference center was viable.

Let me guess, you guys put all the steps to building a conference center on a dart board and then did them in the order you hit them?

You see my dear council representatives, the standard move is to go ahead and do that market/viability study before you propose and support a tax increase, before you pull a million dollars out of our economy, before you propose taking an additional $10 million out of our residents pockets through sales tax, before you solicit bids, and also before you hire someone to evaluate them.

No worries; it’s a classic mistake that people who have no idea what they are doing make all the time.

In a closed session? Why now? Did the 30k consultant tell you something, did they advise this or were you just curious and looking for a place to blow 17k? What happens if the market study comes back and says that a conference center isn’t viable in Jefferson City? Will you call the whole thing off if it requires perpetual operating subsidies?

Closed doors and “no comments” breed lots of questions. How about some insight for those of us who weren’t behind the closed doors and who coincidentally paid for the doors we weren’t behind.

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