“Do as we say…not as we do” has apparently become the motto of the Wellington Board of Trustees. Based on their recent decision to award an irrigation bid to a Fort Collins company, and the not-so-recent decision to send thousands of Wellington tax dollars to a Fort Collins multi-billion dollar business for the town employees’ and spouses’ Christmas party, I would say that title appropriately fits.
As some have read, Wellington is still licking its wounds from the recent decision by Main Street Market grocery to shut its doors due to lack of revenue and local patronage. This unfortunate decision will cost the town in excess of $140K in annual tax revenue. Following this announcement a concerted effort was made to get the word out to try and save this business (kudos to those involved), but more importantly to emphasize to Wellington citizens if we wanted amenities such as a rec center, walking trails, etc. we needed to keep Wellington dollars in Wellington and patronize our businesses as much as possible.
A quote from Trustee Brinkhoff in the March, 2012 North Forty News speaking in regard to MSM closing and the town’s desire for a public pool (which I think is a bad idea):
“We as a community really need to support our local businesses if we ever want to see opportunities like this come to fruition… Until we have buy-in from our whole community, we may never be able to support many new ventures to our town.”
Nice words Mr. Brinkhoff but unfortunately, the first chance the WBoT had to show their support for local businesses and their commitment to stand behind that support they throw the local business under the bus for a measly $600.
Wellington took bids on an irrigation project for a ball field. The lowest bid came from a Fort Collins company and came in at $600 below the local company bid which ended up being 15 percent higher when compared to the total bid. For those of us who do a great deal of shopping at local businesses, that is about the same difference you would find on a lot of the products vs. Fort Collins competitors, even Main Street Market. That is just a reality in a small town. If you want conveniences similar to a larger town it will cost you a little more. It doesn’t take an economics major to understand that, or at least I didn’t think it did.
Instead of looking at the bigger picture of dollars supporting infrastructure, jobs, additional tax revenue when those dollars are re-spent inside the town at restaurants, gas stations and most importantly the credibility of this board, the WBoT decided to take the low road and go with the lowball bid and once again, send Wellington tax dollars to Fort Collins to help support their infrastructure. Lord knows Fort Collins needs more amenities and the support of Wellington taxpayers (sarcasm). And what becomes more concerning for me is, and I haven’t decided if this is ironic or prophetic, the town mayor was the Main Street Market assistant manager and also voted to award the bid to the Fort Collins company. Wow.
So, if part of the duties of the WBoT is to set an example to the rest of the community through your actions, which I think it is, I give you an “F” this semester because if every citizen chose to follow your examples and take the low road and go with the lowball bid, cheapest cost, or convenience, Wellington will soon become a ghost town.