Can someone explain to me why it cost $30,000,000 to upgrade the county’s current wastewater treatment plant — which can process 0.5 million gallons of wastewater per day — to a facility that can process 1.5 million gallons per day (MGD) (Potential Economic Stimulus Package Projects, p. 1), but only cost $11,000,000 to upgrade the facility to a 3 mgd design (Id., p. 12)? Is that $11,000,000 in addition to the $30,000,000 needed for the 1.5 mgd upgrade?
Hell, they even included a request for $39,000,000 to upgrade the facility to a 6 mgd design (Id., p. 39). Again, is that in addition to the money necessary to upgrade to the 1.5 mgd and 3 mgd designs? Does the county really think that they are going to need the ability to process 12 times the amount of the waste they can process now?
Then you have the county’s request for $12,600,000 to construct a Public Safety Building (Id., p. 5). They note that “[d]ue to limited space the County’s Public Safety Departments, Caroline County Sheriff and Fire & Rescue are located in multiple facilities that greatly impact their operational efficiency. The low crime rate and emergency response capabilities in Caroline County are of paramount importance to the ability of the County to recruit economic development opportunities for the County.”
Note that they seem to think that “economic development opportunities” are more important than us lowly citizens in this country.
Supposedly this is of “paramount importance” to the County, eh? Then why did the country decide that in 2007 that it was a good idea to spend $4,000,000 to buy the old Union Bankshares building and convert it into an county administration building, instead of using it as a public safety building as was request by several officials? And why is that when County Administrator Percy Ashcraft proposed a $16,000,000 public bond referendum for a public safety building in early 2008, the Board of Supervisors completely ignored the proposal? So, how much of a “paramount importance” is the public safety building?
Care to guess what the single most expensive item on the list? $120,000,000 for “Carmel Church Multimodal Transportation Center” (that’s what politicians call a “train station”) (Id., p. 16). Not only is it the single most expensive item on the list, but it beats the second most expensive item by 100% (The $59,754,000 request for the Rappahannock River Water Treatment Plant). Not only do they want $120,000,000 for a bloody train station but it’s ranked as a higher priority than new and upgraded construction for schools!
And speaking of that Rappahannock River Water Treatment Plant, uh…why does anyone think we need a 12 mgd water treatment facility in northern Caroline County? Is it for that booming development known as Haymount? Oh wait, they were drilling their own wells and they haven’t built a single house despite having the development approved a decade and a half ago.
Then there’s the tens of millions dollars requested to expand the coverage area of their existing water and sewer coverage. The county can’t provide adequate services to the areas that are in their coverage area, and they want to extend it?
And can someone tell me what a “speculative distribution building” is and why it cost $23,000,000 (Id., p. 16)? You would think that with all the speculation that has occurred in the real estate market in the last couple years, the last thing a government would be involved with would be “speculative” building.
Only in Caroline, folks…