We find ourselves somewhat bemused by a story told in this morning’s paper. Frankly, we wonder whether it would have made such a splash if it were not now so fashionable to attack any and all things about township trustees.
It seems the local trustee spent $10,000 on attendance at the gala opening of the well publicized concert hall in Carmel. The same hall on which the mayor and redevelopment commission spent $126,000,000. Both were expenditures of tax dollars for "intangible" civic benefits.
We agree with the basic premise of the story. Tax dollars were wrongly spent for the personal advantage of the trustee and his guests. The amount was a "per table" charge. Our experience is that at most such events a "table" is either 8 or 10 people. On the probability it was 10, we would suggest that each of the people involved toss $100 bucks into the kitty, assuming that might have been the actual cost of food and beverages consumed.
The other $9,000 might well then be considered "a donation to the arts" as suggested by the trustee himself. Personally, we object to the use of any tax dollars for these kinds of expenditures - at least without a referendum of the providers of the funds. But with $126,000,000 already in the pot, haggling over another $9,000 does seem a bit picky.
This is particularly true when one considers what Carmel’s neighbor to the south has been doing. Apparently Indianapolis is going to spend $800,000 to blacktop a downtown parking lot so Super Bowl fans won’t have their sensibilities offended by the current gravel lot. (The lot is probably the greater part of a mile from the football field and we quite frankly wonder how many fans will actually see it.)
This city is donating $10,000,000 per year to keep the poverty stricken basketball team from moving. That would be a massive blow to our intangible world class image.
And we’re throwing away..uh, investing.. something like $12,000,000 to turn a few blocks of a downtown street into a tented, landscaped boulevard, so visitors can walk, dry-shod, between our $185,000,000 basketball court and our $800,000,000 football field.
Chances are, Mr. Trustee, if you were with the CIB nobody would have given a second thought - or more than two or three column inches in "Behind Closed Doors" - if you’d spent the money on a bash in Dallas this week.