$3.5M storage building reflects poor judgment

An editorial from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel

In all other areas, what we get for our money is pitiful – worst in the country in the health category, by the way.

Coincidentally, a perfect example of state government’s poor management of taxpayer dollars was revealed this week, when lawmakers learned the Division of Corrections had been forced to abandon a $3.5 million renovation project. Back in 2009, officials began to consider turning the Davis Center in Tucker County into a female juvenile correctional facility. After spending $3.5 million to do no more than finishing the outside of the building and gutting the inside, those same officials suddenly realized the cost of continuing renovations, in addition to staffing concerns, meant it was unlikely the building would ever be used for its intended purpose. So they abandoned it.

House of Delegates Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, was right to be upset when he asked “You just lost the $3.5 million?” of Juvenile Services Director Stephanie Bond.

Plans for the building now include using it for storage, for projects being completed at Canaan Valley and Blackwater Falls state parks – a $3.5 million storage building, in Tucker County.

Imagine if taxpayers threw their money around that way. Or, perhaps it is better phrased to suggest imagining if taxpayers had a choice about their money being thrown around that way. Lawmakers who have another year to right this ship would do well to remember taxpayers do have a choice, and will not take lightly such poor stewardship of their hard earned money.

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