Calling Cinderella! - Lebanon Daily Record : Columnist One

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Calling Cinderella!

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Posted: Saturday, August 25, 2012 10:21 pm

A committee discussing improvements to the Kenneth E. Cowan Civic Center may propose a ballroom, large kitchen and dressing rooms as additions to the building.

No kidding, a ballroom.

The idea is in preliminary stages as Chairman Matt Rogers offered a sketch last week. Committee members said there are no dressing rooms convenient to the Exhibition Hall, and caterers sometimes prepare plates in a hallway.

The ballroom proposal is a “dream,” emphasized City Administrator Chris Heard. He apparently told the committee to imagine how they would spend $5 million at the CCC, paying no attention to financial details.

Nonetheless, questions arise:

* Why would the CCC need a ballroom, dressing rooms or a new kitchen?

* Where are marketing studies to show such improvements could be cost-effective in any way?

* How much extra annual operating expense in utilities, maintenance and labor would this undetermined amount of floor space cost?

* What $5 million?

The Capital Improvement Tax fund contains excess funds from the original tax and unspent revenue collected since 2010 when the tax was renewed. This fund started the year with $2.3 million and an optimistic estimate that it would receive $1.6 million from sales tax. But of that $3.9 million total, the city plans to spend $1.7 million. This year alone, debt service is $801,465, or HALF the estimated tax income. The loan against the Capital Improvement Tax won’t be retired until 2018.

The city doesn’t have the $5 million that Heard told the committee it could spend. Let’s see Heard’s written financial plan to get the $5 million before we start spending it.

For the complete column, see today's print edition of The Daily Record, or view the e-Edition online.

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  • paul84 posted at 11:12 pm on Sun, Aug 26, 2012.

    paul84 Posts: 85

    Apparently you cannot use the three letter word that indicates intercourse, but that is yet another reason we need something for kids to do.

  • paul84 posted at 11:11 pm on Sun, Aug 26, 2012.

    paul84 Posts: 85

    Usually, I disagree with much of what Katie writes; however, on this topic, we are on the same page. Of all the things I hear people of this area talking about, I don't think a lack of ballroom space has ever come up. Who needs the ballroom? I can understand making some expansions that might benefit caterers, staff, etc. but a ballroom? What is this, the roaring 20's?

    If there is $5 million to spend, how about using it to give the kids of this town something to do? We have hundreds of teenagers that have nothing to do in this town. They end up cruising, or finding a buyer for alcohol, or do drugs. Just imagine how much we could prevent if we gave kids a safe place to go and do something fun!