Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The $54,000 Question

That new sustainability coordinator, John Coleman, sure is smart. He just figured out that the city was wasting $54,000 a year for gas and electricity at that magnificent Tyson Mexican Original property the city got such a bargain on a few years ago. Apparently, no one else in the city administration had a clue.

"We didn't know what the utilities were running until they did some homework and found out what it was, and it surprised all of us," Mayor Dan Coody said. Doh! The city could save additional money if it learned anything at the wind energy meeting last week and can harness all that hot air.

Mayor Coody once claimed that the surplus building was a bargain and would house the city's police and courts, but that didn't quite work out. We learn now that it has been used to store 12-foot puppets used one day a year by First Night. It also stored boxes of new clothes donated but never delivered to refugees from Hurricane Katrina, which we are now told are in such bad condition that the Salvation Army doesn't think they are worth picking up. "It was awfully expensive for storage," said Gary Dumas, Coody's director of operations for the city. Double doh!

It is a sad reflection that the mayor and his staff had to hire a sustainability coordinator to point out the obvious waste of energy and taxpayer dollars. Not even their efforts to hire an additional public information employee and improve communication can spin this one as anything except ignorance and inattention to business, the people's business, by an administration that claimed there was no fat in the city budget for operations.

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