Some good news. The Bountiful City Council has pulled back and stopped the new city hall project and will shortly cancel the contracts for it. From the Better Bountiful group that opposed the project:
The Better Bountiful Committee and its many supporters welcome the Bountiful City Council’s decision to cancel their plans to build a new city hall. The City Council and Mayor have heard the voices of the people and will now invest funds to properly maintain our current City Hall rather than abandon it. That is a decision we welcome. We particularly appreciate those City leaders who took the time to listen and discuss the matter with us.
All major plans involving taxpayers’ money are always best accomplished when citizens are allowed a voice at the ballot box. We assume the City Council will apply that principle to the proposed Downtown City Plaza, major infrastructure improvements, and all other similar plans going forward.
The city council also sent out a release citing the reason for the cancellation was to “promote community harmony over the new building.” Hopefully that’s the case but I doubt the motives are so pure. As Fox 13 notes: “The lawsuit was the tipping point for the city.” The city council also held a special (previously unscheduled) closed session meeting to discus “pending litigation” on February 21 (6 days before the release).
The city council plans on continuing with the next pet project (the plaza) and certainly doesn’t appear to embrace Better Bountiful’s request that residents be able to vote on it: “The Downtown Plaza will also remain a priority, and will require a new contract to complete.” They continue to justify this by saying it’ll ‘revitalize Main Street’. People aren’t going to go shop there because of a cute plaza or gleaming city hall and Main St. isn’t in disrepair (it’s a pretty, quaint area). Besides locals, Main St. is a hassle to get to and doesn’t have any store(s) to draw significant traffic to the area. It will remain a local shopping area unless something drastic happens (think huge project redeveloping a massive area and road infrastructure). The constant pet projects gambits justified by saying “revitalize Main St.” are tiring.
I’ve said it many times. Politicians don’t give up on pet project easily. They won’t hear either. I’m glad the new city hall was stopped but one to point one last thing out: Milton Friedman continues to be proven right, these unnecessary pet projects rarely fail despite opposition. As Better Bountiful notes:
This outcome is a reflection of many hundreds of hours of hard work, many thousands of dollars, and some of the best community teamwork…
Read the above linked post and you’ll understand why that quote proves Friedman right despite this being one of the rare successes by “diffused interests”. If you don’t see the connection, drop a comment or use the contact page.
In the meantime, enjoy the success. Ultimately, the only way to have a lasting success is to elect local/state/national representatives who respect limiting government to core functions.