Caution, Montgomery County taxpayers! There is a package of "county campus" improvements, aka “justice center” that comes with spiraling costs. The commissioners are scheduled to vote on these costs this Thursday, Dec. 12 at 10 am in One Montgomery Plaza, 8th Floor, Norristown.
Neighboring Bucks County faces a $16.3 million dollar deficit. The building of their justice center started with a $84 million cost. Simply search under "justice center" at buckscounty.org. Details including why the project is needed, aerial view (floor plans) and side view (stacking plan) and even public updates have been released; quite a good explanation. But that $84 million cost grew. New employee costs plus old spending will result in 2020 budget cuts or a tax increase.
This Thursday, Montgomery County commissioners may adopt a budget which deals with vastly larger costs.
There is a plan to dip into reserves by $9 million. Citizens as of today (Dec 9th) cannot easily find a rationale nor description of the project when searching on Montgomery County's website, montcopa.org, under "justice center" or "county campus".
Yet the proposed capital county campus plan expenditures are about 5 times the size of the starting Bucks County justice center cost, spiraling over the coming 5 years in round numbers: 32, 78, 112, 112, 78 all in millions of dollars! Infrastructure spending at the same time jumps to $38 million then decreases in future years to as low as $3 million. One or more of those years may include a recession. We have a thriving economy now. Now that we have reserves left let's consider that $84 million cost our neighbor faced and maybe subtract $30 million to allow for a likely deficit. Let's fix the needed roads and save millions of dollars of taxpayer money!
Time is short so if you are concerned and can't come to the meeting, you can call 610 278 3020 or write to the commissioners: firstname.lastname@example.org (Val Arkoosh); email@example.com (Ken Lawrence); and Joe@montcopa.org (Joe Gale).
David Bryant Morgan