When you are approaching a storm, you batten down the hatches

| May 15, 2020 1:00 AM

I was utterly stunned to see that the City Council approved a $2.9 million contract to replace the turf at Memorial Field. When all is said and done, the cost for the stadium and field will end up costing taxpayers roughly $6 million.

And for what? Bleachers and artificial turf used so sparingly during the year, even by its biggest cheerleaders? With so much invested, is the plan to bring in more events into that location to justify a monument to hubris? I do not get it.

But the real stunner is committing huge funds while we are on the precipice of an economic disaster. If forecasts are even moderately true, the coronavirus will end up having a material impact on summer businesses and through them city revenues. We will likely face double digit unemployment, a renters’ and mortgage crisis, and a serious drop in the viability of local businesses.

Instead of spending $3 million on artificial turf, the City Council should be looking very carefully on salary cuts and freezes, moving away from public sector pensions, and lobbying Boise to float municipal debt. We may need each to see this community through what may be a very tough year ahead.

When you approach a storm, you batten down the hatches, secure loose items and steel yourself for the challenges ahead. You don’t commit valuable resources to folly.

We are not Vail, Aspen, or Tahoe. We do not have a bevy of corporate residents forking out the bucks to support arts and recreation. Quit acting as if we are and we do.

If the local option revenue stream is the golden goose then let’s use its golden eggs for projects that can pay for themselves with large returns or for projects are consensus winners. Don’t spend $3 million on artificial freaking turf! Fiscally irresponsible actions will force the community to grow ever larger until scale can cover expenses. Don’t do it. Rescind the contract while the ink is still wet.

PETER KRIZ

Sandpoint