Bill O’Connor
It doesn’t take a long memory or much research to document the short-sighted decisions, bureaucratic hurdles, and overall incompetence of our elected and appointed officials. It is amazing how recent history, and much longer history reflects this.
A short overview of a few, recent items: 1) complete incompetence in handling the intermodal, on so many levels. How many governments completely disregard a previous administration’s commitment? And we all know how well that worked out. Intermodal is here and we have nothing to say about its management.
2) Approving then revoking permits and permissions. There seems to be a common theme here. Countless examples here but let’s just mention the car lot, located in an industrial/commercial area on the south side. This entrepreneurial citizen of Gardner, risking his own money and time, was given permission to operate. At a later date he was told sorry, but city hall was mistaken and his permit was revoked. He was told oh yeah, you can file, at an additional expense, but no guarantee. What a way to treat a tax paying business. I have personal experience with planning commission making commitments then failing to follow through or flat reversing itself.
3) Perkins flag pole. Really, it is now the job of city government to oversee FAA regulations? Another tax paying business being forced through unnecessary hurdles. Certainly a national staple, like the huge Perkins flag, should take a back-seat to the brain trust that is our city leaders. They are obviously much smarter than the thousands of other cities where Perkins proudly flies our national banner.
Do we really have such an abundance of commercial entities in this town that we can play this ridiculous game? Gardner is a great community, because of the people that live here. How did the bureaucrats and elected/appointed officials become so disoriented in their mission? Our government shows continual power hungry, egocentric, self-compulsive, narcissistic actions. Truly an embarrassment!
Now there is nothing really new in what has been outlined here. So what has generated this discussion? The city is now playing the same games with one of our area churches! Our churches are the cornerstone of this community. They provide the traditional, community-oriented services, are exceptional leaders for our area, and generally promote the public welfare. Amazingly, they pay some of the same fees to government that any, for-profit business does, particularly the building/platting fees. Years ago this was explained that Gardner didn’t have enough commercially-generated fees to consider waiving this. So churches pay fees to build, which many communities discount or waive, because we can’t figure out a way to truly be business friendly.
Divine Mercy Parrish has built a beautiful church on the west side of town. They want to put a multi-purpose, family-use building next to it. They have far outgrown their facilities at Warren and Center street. They have 4,000-plus members and the Sunday school traffic, which overflows the intersection, is a danger to all. They went through the necessary, and expensive, planning and platting steps. They where set to break ground as they had city approval. Yet they get a phone call telling them there are 35 items that need to be changed! Thirty-five changes, seriously? After getting all approvals the city decides there are 35 other things to do, 35 things to add expense and delay to a community church expansion.
Like many in Gardner, I am at a loss how our wonderful community can continue to send such incompetence to our city hall. Our government makes us a laughing stock.
Love the town, embarrassed by our leaders.