Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Shooting the Moon
The boys on the Republican-dominated Washington County Quorum Court like their guns more than they care about controlling government spending. They approved spending $100,000 last year and another $40,000 this year to fund Sheriff Tim Helder's dream of a country club class shooting range. Now they are applying for an Arkansas Rural Development Commission grant of $44,750, state tax money that is supposed to be used "to enhance the quality of life for our rural citizens." Couldn't they better use that money for a rural ambulance system?
Anyway, it looks like they've committed $184,750 in county tax dollars to building a firing range, and the city of Fayetteville threw in another $40,000, which gets the total up to a quarter of a million dollars when you include the federal tax dollars from the U. S. Marshal’s Service. No completion date has been set, and they still want more money!
Sheriff Helder says he is sure that Fayetteville taxpayers will be tapped again as soon "as budget allows." Fayetteville police Chief Greg Tabor, who has recently been demanding that the old Mexican Original plant be turned into a police training center, says the current firing range near the animal services building on Happy Hollow Road that has served just fine since the 1960s is now unacceptable. He says it is susceptible to flooding when it rains and it is in proximity to residences. Sounds like real life situations when the FPD officers might blow away a citizen like they did Benny Spears.
We've already sunk too much of the taxpayers' money in this project. Let's hope the Quorum Court and the City Council will take care of important needs before throwing away more money on a firing range.