Dollars and sense cures Drunken Sailor Syndrome

Dollars and sense cures Drunken Sailor Syndrome By Editorial Let�s face it.

We tend to focus on our governments� penchant for spending our money.

In just the past two weeks, we�ve opined on this page about South Dakota�s plans, at one point, to inject some Future Fund dollars into a proposal to lure the Minnesota Vikings training camp to Sioux Falls.

We�ve made a dig at the feds, too, for spending over $30,000 on a publicity campaign to educate Americans about, of all things, the new $20 bill.

Call it the Drunken Sailor Syndrome � the use, or misuse, depending on your own sense of fiscal responsibility, of taxpayer dollars by various entities of government.

On Tuesday, Vermillion citizens will get a chance to add their own two cent�s worth to the city council�s recent proposal calling for the purchase of the Community First National Bank building for $1.1 million.

That resolution also calls for the setting aside of up to $1.1 million (the figure has since been downgraded to $863,000) for remodeling the bank to serve as Vermillion�s new city hall.

It�s an issue that�s certainly stirred plenty of passion in the community.

City leaders point to many shortcomings in the present city hall that, in their opinion, shouldn�t be ignored any longer.

Vermillion City Hall isn�t ADA accessible, they note, and it would be very costly to widen every doorway and install an elevator to reach the structure�s various levels.

Opponents state that some ground floor office space could be gained in city hall by utilizing an area that once housed the city�s fire station before the recent construction of the William J. Radigan Fire/EMS station on Dakota Street.

Raise a moistened finger into the breeze of public opinion wafting throughout the community right now, and one could easily get the sense that things seem to be drifting in favor of those who oppose the bank purchase/remodel idea.

You may find what you�re about to read to be, well, a tad strange and confusing.

We think the best, most progressive move that Vermillion citizens can make Tuesday is to vote in favor of the resolution for the bank purchase.

And we�re not afraid to pedal right into the wind to state this opinion.

We come to this conclusion not because we think city employees should be adorned with luxurious quarters in which to work (that�s how we�ve heard the �proposed� city hall described more times than we can count).

We�re concerned, though, about the potential of the present city hall to serve our community much longer.

You don�t have to tell us � we know we�re not like Sioux Falls. In fact, we�re quite the opposite. Year after year, our population remains about the same.

That factor alone, we know, has many people finding justification for the bank purchase hard to come by.

We believe, however, that our present city hall began failing to adequately serve the community years ago.

You don�t have to be an architect or an engineer to get a sense that the structure wasn�t designed and built to the same standards as the Clay County Courthouse, or Slagle Hall, or Old Main, or the Neuharth Media Center.

Vermillion City Hall has, frankly, a seedy motel quality to it. One can imagine the less-than-glowing impression visitors to the community receive when they climb its creaky wooden stairs, or negotiate their way around to office additions that seem like lean-tos to the original structure.

Such elements may not matter much to many people. So let�s talk dollars and sense.

The estimated cost of remodeling our present city hall, when you factor in relocating offices, demolition, construction, and building a new fire satellite station, is $2.575 million.

The Community First Bank proposal, with its $1.1 million purchase price and up to $1.1 in remodeling (revised to $863,000) totals $1.963 million.

We feel confident that the city won�t need to spend nearly $900,000 to remodel the bank building.

So, ya� want to cure what some perceive to be a drunken sailor?

Vote for the bank purchase Tuesday.

The Vermillion Plain Talk editorials reflect the opinion of Plain Talk editor David Lias. You may contact him at david.lias@plaintalk.com

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