To the editor:
What has become of common sense and responsibility?
The Sept. 16 article in the Herald-Star reviewed the structural and financial mess that the money pit known as Aracoma Park has created for residents of Mingo Junction ("Splash pad built as Mingo Junction finances crumble.")
The park has been called the jewel of the community. I'd submit that the way funds were spent to build a splash pad to replace the baby pool was totally irresponsible, short-sighted and a financial debacle. Still, more money will be poured into that pool, only to be flushed down the drain with the almost $300,000 that has already been expended. It's more wasted taxpayer dollars to support a project that was ill-conceived and badly managed. The jewel is now being tarnished to the point of causing money problems that will never be solved.
Those who approved the project and voted to squander tax dollars on a project that would cost almost $200,000 more than it should have bear some responsibility for the harm it is causing. Using the resources in the recreation fund lavishly and excusing it as an investment to become a bedroom community is laughable.
The village can't afford a proper police presence, to pave streets, to buy salt for roads in the winter, to keep municipal workers on the job, to make its payment on the water plant loan or to keep the senior center open, so it's decided to turn off the street lights and ask homeowners to pay the light bill through their own utility bill. But they, through their infinite wisdom, decided to keep spending money on a project that provides three months of recreation a year to a limited number of pool patrons.
To be clear, this problem was not a recent occurrence, it was contracted for long before the present mayor and council were seated. It makes you wonder if it was just a lousy decision or if it was done on purpose. Regardless, the current administration needs to make a plan to stop the bleeding.
Mingo Junction has spent a load of money on the pool complex during the last few years, always with mixed results. Maybe the baby pool could be shut down until it's financially feasible to revisit the project.
At a cost of $70,000 per year, that $290,000 spent on a splash pad could keep the lights on for four years. Hopefully, the city officials will see the light and reset their priorities before residents have to plow their own streets and spread salt in the winter.
It looks like Mingo Junction residents will have to become their own road crews and security forces until we can find people to run the town on a priority basis, or go broke trying.