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Letter to the Editor: Local Man Says Clarion County Commissioners ‘Duping Citizens Again’
Well, our money spending commissioners are again looking to put our great county into further debt.
I understand they are planning on spending in the neighborhood of 2 million dollars for a new OES (Office of Emergency Services, or 911) Center. By their own accord, as printed in the local newspaper, our current OES Center does not take in enough money to support itself, so they want to go into debt to build a new center. They are planning on building the new center in Paint Township, and supposedly they were offered another parcel for a lesser amount, but it wasn’t good enough for them.
If they were so interested the betterment of Clarion County, they would be looking at any and all options to provide this center in the most cost effective manner possible. We currently own enough space that the OES Center could be installed in either the existing old jail, or even the old hospital. When asked about one of the existing buildings, we were told it had to be located in its own standalone building. They are duping the citizens again, as they had planned to put the OES center in the annex they had proposed to build, and it would not have been in its own standalone building there.
Technology is changing so fast today, if they build this new OES Center, in the very near future it will be outdated. The commissioners have said that a central OES Center for combined counties can’t work for reporting emergencies. Well my smart phone at any one time can pin point my exact location. It is hard to believe that any and all emergency vehicles don’t already have GPS units in them, or could be made available. With 911 addresses, you can go directly to any location. People are doing it every day, which is how the news media responds so quickly to emergency and accident sites. OES does not broadcast the locations to the media, they use their GPS units.
Another option for the OES Center would be to rent a suitable space. The state and federal governments are doing it every day. If renting is good enough for them, then why not Clarion County. The state police rent their space on a 10 year lease with a 5 year option. That way in, at the most, in 15 years they have a new building with new and up-to- date equipment. And this would create some much needed revenue for a local business owner with an empty building.
It is time for the citizens of Clarion County to stand up and let these guys know that if they, the current commissioners, do not care about the debt load they want to put Clarion County in, we the tax payers certainly do. We currently are in debt to the tune of around 6 million dollars, and they want to spend an additional 2 million dollars on a new OES Center, not to mention they are also planning on spending around another 4 million dollars or so to upgrade the existing court house. That would put Clarion County in debt, without any overages on these projects, at over 12 million dollars.
We cannot afford another 4 years of the reckless spending habits of our current commissioners. If money is going to be spent, let’s spend it on much needed infrastructure that will entice business’s to build here. I wonder how many businesses’ look at Clarion County to move to and ask how’s your 911 Center or how your court house is. I encourage every citizen of Clarion County to speak up………join your voice with mine and lets be heard!
Submitted by: Howie Schmader, Concerned Citizens of Clarion County
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