To the editor:
Please vote yes!
Over the past several weeks, regular readers of this space have learned many reasons Clay County voters should vote in favor of the Public Safety Center bond issue (the last item on your ballot).
I add my own today. I urge you to vote YES. My reasoning is founded in my two decades as a small business owner. During that time, I both rented and owned equipment and real estate. I found that for short-term intermittent use, I was much better off to rent. In every long-term investment, it was better to buy. Let me share my own experience.
Don't get me wrong, sometimes owning hurts. In my well drilling business, new equipment can cost more than a million dollars per item. In my business, new equipment gets muddy and ugly in the first week. However, it still does its job and keeps drilling for many years. The first new rig I designed and helped buy was built in 1976.1 called her Irene. It is still working today (with many, many replacement parts) for my successor company a few miles outside of Vermillion
Though the payments really stung each month for my employer in the first few years, and then for me when I bought it in 1998, those payments eventually stopped. If I had leased that machine in 1998, at the then-going rate of just over $1,500/month, the payments would have been fixed for five years. After five years inflation at 3%, the next lease would be $1,730/month. The lease in the following five years would be about $2,000/month. On and on until in the last year a similar machine rented for over $3,000/month.
I see our jail situation from a similar, calculated viewpoint. We can own today and know what our costs are for housing prisoners over the next several decades. Or we can continue to lease jail space from other counties over that same period.
Is anyone willing to bet that today's lease costs will remain at current rates for three years? For five years? For 30 years? For the projected life of our planned facility of 50+ years?
Please join me with the smart money. Vote yes for the Public Safety Center bond on Nov. 8.
Clay County Commissioner