Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What part of 'no money' don't you understand?

God bless John and Tashia Morgridge for their generous donation of $4 million towards a new Hoyt Park swimming pool.

The problem is that county officials are looking to shift county dollars away from Hoyt Park to fund another pool in Lincoln Park or elsewhere. There is a small flaw with that idea: it doesn't make any sense.

Parks Director Sue Black said she hopes the $4 million challenge grant will draw in another $4 million, so an endowment can be established to pay for operating expenses and maintenance. Let's say the Hoyt Pool doesn't cost the county any money, ever.

But Hoyt Park pool is closed, so the county isn't spending any money to run it. No savings there.

The economics of the multi-pool proposal really boils down to this: add a pool to the Milwaukee County park system that doesn't cost county taxpayers anything to build or maintain and
add another pool to the Milwaukee County park system that taxpayers must pay to both build and maintain.

These two things, added together, do not equal 0.

If supervisors really want to add two functioning swimming pools to the parks system, they need to cut somewhere else or add to the tax levy. And if they want to do the latter, they need to figure out how to get that idea past County Exec Scott Walker's veto pen.


ΕΡΜΕΣ said...

Wait - where does it say they're gonna build one in Hart park? And what would it cost to fix up and maintain Hoyt's existing pool?

Gretchen Schuldt said...

Oops. I referred twice to Hoyt Park, correctly, and twice to Hart Park, brain cramp.

Thanks for the catch.

Fixing up Hoyt would cost a lot and there is no county funding to do it -- that's why a private group is trying to raise money.

Anonymous said...

So what's the deal here, you're upset that you're getting two pools for the price of one?

Gretchen Schuldt said...

Not at all. If the county says, "we are going to spend money to build and operate a new pool and that money is going to come from cutting X or raising taxes by Y," that's fine. Everyone can join in a healthy debate.

But there is no healthy debate when county officials falsely argue that Pool 2 will be paid for through savings on Hoyt. There are no savings if there is no spending planned and there is no money in the county budget for fixing Hoyt.

As it stands now, if the county builds an additional pool, something else will have to be cut, or taxes will go up, or some other revenue source needs to be found. Any of those may be fine, but the county needs to be clear that those are the choices. A little honesty is all I'm asking for. There is no magic Hoyt money.