I write as a supporter of a new Town Hall for Mount Pleasant. I am confident in Town Council’s judgment to move forward with this project, not only because I recognize the need for a new facility, but also because I am comfortable with the financing for it.
Some citizens have been skeptical. Some opined that it is in the best interest of the town to not spend money on an “extravagant” new Town Hall. Let me be clear: Neither Mount Pleasant Town Council nor town staff support the construction of “high-end” public work space.
The proposed Town Hall is not a luxury office building. Instead it is a necessary and practical replacement of our current facilities.
Moreover, I believe that a new Town Hall facility is critically important to the well-being of our community and will not compromise our firm commitment to fiscal accountability. Mount Pleasant has a solid history of maintaining a strong fiscal position, and we uphold that tradition today.
Year after year, Mount Pleasant has demonstrated rigorous financial planning, which has resulted in an upgraded bond rating, lower tax rate (at least one half less than the cities around us) and durable reserves.
Some have asked why we would replace the current facility rather than simply fix the disrepair of our offices. To me, the answer is simple.
As a fiscal conservative, I look at the return on investment. Is it practical to spend money every couple of months installing expensive temporary fixes? Or does it make more sense to invest funds upfront, replace the failing asset and in the long term save money by reducing the frequent need for costly and temporary fixes?
Our judgment to build a new Town Hall is much like the decision that many of you make every day in your own lives. I’m sure many of you have asked yourselves, “How long do I keep fixing the old ‘clunker’ that I have had for many years before it costs more to repair than to replace?” Or, “How many times do I continue to patch up the leaky roof before I decide a new roof is a better option?” The fact is that you reach a point when it is no longer practical to continue spending money on repairing an asset and you opt to replace the asset instead.
The same is true for the current Town Hall facility. At some point we must stop using taxpayer money for temporary and unsuitable fixes and instead replace the asset.
The current Town Hall is no longer functional or safe. We can’t continue to patch up the roof only to have it fail and literally fall in on our employees during a heavy rain. And we won’t continue to risk being unable to serve our citizens because we don’t have safe and sufficient work space for our staff, including our police department.
Our history demonstrates a long-standing commitment to fiscal responsibility with taxpayer money, and we continue to uphold that commitment with this project.
Indeed, instead of spending millions of dollars more on relocating Town Hall as was once suggested, we opted to save the money needed for property acquisition and instead build the new facility on our current campus. We have also identified a funding source for this project, which will spare the town’s general fund and future citizens from the burden of financing a much needed asset.
The need is clear. The property is in place. The money is available. The time is now.
Ann Edwards Lane