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Your Opinion: Commissioners' costly mistake

Your Opinion: Commissioners' costly mistake

March 12th, 2012 by Dennis Morrissey, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

In 2010 County Commissioners Wrigley and Ellinger made a $300,000 to $410,000 mistake when they voted to take possession of Renns Lake from the Renn family. Kudos to Commissioner Hoelscher for voting no.

The commission should have just offered assistance to alleviate the public safety concern with the leaky dam and let the homeowners and Renn family settle the issue. Unfortunately, we taxpayers are left to pay the bill.

Now that the unsightly halfdrained lake belongs to the county, it is deemed to be we taxpayers liability and responsibility to restore esthetics to the area.

The county has spent over $27,000 for an engineering study to come up with options for the lake. An additional expense of $20,000 plus will be paid to a consultant to search for possible grant funds to pay for work on the lake. Then there is the possibility of an additional cost of $248,700 to $345,300 to restore the area to a creek and park or $363,800 to return it to a lake and park. Keep in mind that the county will still own this parcel and will have to maintain it.

The only other option proposed was to give the property to a non-existent Renns lake landowners association and let them, at their cost of $128,400, repair the dam in a substandard manner. The logic of giving the property back to another owner and then allowing substandard repairs escapes me. The next big rain storm could cause a repeat of the same scenario.

My sympathies go out to the residents of Renns Lake subdivision for having to go through this. My congratulations to the Renns for convincing our County Commission to take over the financial and legal responsibility when simple assistance with draining the lake would have alleviated any public safety issues.

It is beyond me as to why the Commissioners Ellinger and Wrigley thought they needed to take ownership of the land. At this point, it appears we county taxpayers will have to pay the bill for their mistake. The county should never have taken possession of the property. Shame on our County Commission for making a costly mistake and dragging us taxpayers into this financial and legal mess.

Maybe it is time to consider replacing Commissioners Ellinger and Wrigley when they come up for re-election.