As I’ve been going around talking to my fellow residents, one thing I keep hearing is the sentiment: “Stop wasting our money.” Of course, this is directed at our current town supervisor, Jack Moore.
So how has Jack been wasting your money? Let’s start with the Rec Center. While the concept of a rec center is great, we sure spent a lot of money for not a whole lot in return. Remember back in October 2015 when we had to approve the $9.7-million to build the center? That was more than $3-million over the original $6.2-million estimate — that’s quite an increase. Jack likes to say it came in under budget, but sure, if you jack the cost up by more than 50% then of course you can come in under budget. But here’s where it gets disturbing. So $9.7-million divided by 41,000 square feet is about $237 per square foot construction cost. Most commercial buildings like this come in under $200 per square foot. Why was this one so expensive? If anything, it should have been under the normal construction costs because we owned the land already and we used our own highway department to do the site prep. So where did all that extra money go to? Air conditioning? Nope — the gym doesn’t have it. A pool? There could have been one had Jack brought the Rush Henrietta School District in on the project — they’d offered and even said that state aid was available to make it happen. But Jack wanted to do this his way. The expensive way. And so we now have a very expensive rec center with no pool, no locker rooms, and no air conditioning and which has eaten up all of the remaining cash reserves Jack’s predecessors left him.
But that’s not the only way he’s wasting your money. Our money. He is also currently embroiled in several lawsuits in federal court stemming from his discriminatory business practices, or “bumps in the road” as he called them in his recent campaign piece in the “Henrietta Happenings.” Of course the legal costs for these actions are being paid from our tax dollars and they have been racking up legal expenses. Even if these are resolved, if he is reelected, his poor leadership style will only create new issues and new costs. It is alarming how many families of Town employees approached me at the July 4th festival and expressed a major desire to have me win because their spouse or their child who has been working at the Town has been miserable these past three-plus years. At Pictometry, we ran the engineering department so well that we did not have an engineer leave for nearly ten straight years, and that was while growing the team to about 50 people. If you know anything about the high tech industry, that’s unheard of today. The job of a manager is to remove the impediments that keep the employees from doing their best job. Not only does Jack not seem to do this, but if his employee’s statements are true, he creates impediments of his own. And of course, all of this wastes money. Our money.
And then there is the money wasted by Jack’s self-serving nature. We have spent countless dollars on this effort to rezone a large number of acreage from farmland to industrial. Why do we need to do this? Allegedly because we need a lot more industrial property. Except we don’t. The real reason we need this is because it is Jack’s retirement plan. Naturally, Jack or his family owns a significant portion of the acreage being rezoned — so he stands to make a lot of money reselling his farmland. Naturally, with that clear conflict of interest, Jack would recuse himself from the process, right? Of course not. Not only has he not recused himself, but he has put other people with conflicts of interest on the boards overseeing some of the processes. And of course, setting aside for the moment that the town residents overwhelmingly indicated that preserving green space and the agricultural nature of our town was the number one priority, let’s just look at the cost factor. In addition to all the man-hours spent, the town has also paid for numerous studies including an Environmental Impact Study. Now normally, these are done by the land owner or developer once they know what is being built. But that would come out of Jack’s pocket. Instead, he has the town paying for the study even though they do not know what would be built on the sites. How can you assess the environmental impact if you don’t know what is going to be there? And of course, because a number of these parcels, including Jack’s, are in the heart of the agricultural southwest quadrant, there is currently no sewer or water service capable of supporting industrial zones. Guess who Jack wants to have pay to change that?
This has to stop. The result has been that in a few short years Jack not only has burned through all of our cash reserves, he is raising taxes again. Now I know he claims to not have raised taxes, because the tax rate hasn’t gone up. But for far too many residents, their assessed values have gone up. If you pay more taxes this year than you did the previous year, and your house is the same, then he raised taxes. I can’t promise you your taxes would never go up if I were town supervisor, but I can promise you that I will not waste your tax dollars like Jack has been doing.