Monday, October 13, 2014

It's Only (Taxpayer) Money

Last Friday, Josh Hicks reported in the Washington Post that the Department of Defense destroyed a fleet of defective Italian-made aircraft purchased for the Afghan Air Force and sold the scrap for $32,000. The cost of the planes to the U.S. taxpayers was $486 million.

Similar things, albeit on a smaller scale, happen right here in Columbia County. It was recently revealed, by private citizens, that the County had paid $109,950 in 1997 for 33 acres of land that CEDC (Columbia Economic Development Corporation) is now prepared to sell for $1. 

Later this week, the auction closes on the old Ockawamick School in Claverack. The County bought that building in 2008 as a first step in a wrongheaded scheme to move County offices out of Hudson--the county seat--to a "campus" at the geographic center of the county. The County paid $1.5 million for the building. Today, according to Board of Supervisors chair Pat Grattan, "We can't give it away." The online auction started on September 29, with a minimum opening bid of $5. So far, there have been no bids.