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Political football in City Hall

When it comes to spending taxpayer money, elected officials are correct to scrutinize every dollar.

Collectively, they are responsible. Decisions on high-ticket spending are not designed to fall completely on the shoulders of one person.

We have a system of checks and balances in place in our government, which means multiple people are involved and must come together and make decisions for the greater good.

City Council’s finance committee had a lively debate this week over nearly $930,000 of upgrades to City Hall.

Those upgrades include accessibility as well as infrastructure. Add to the situation pressure that is being placed on officials by representatives from the Center for Independent Living Roads to Freedom here about accessibility.

We agree that accessibility is an important goal to achieve. We also find it interesting that the state Department of Labor and Industry provided a five-year window in 1995 to meet accessibility compliance.

That would have been 24 years ago, well before Mayor Gabriel J. Campana took office as the city’s chief executive.

It seems unfair, then, to place all of the blame on the shoulders of one man. Campana claims to have had a plan for four years, but that plan, he said, has been blocked by council at every step.

True, we wish he would have developed this plan closer to the start of his tenure as mayor, just as we wish mayors before him would have developed and left plans in place for their successors to continue important work such as this. Who knows, maybe they did and those plans got lost in the political shuffle.

The finance committee warned against politicizing the issue, though they too represent the other side of the political coin.

Now they want codes enforcement officers to do a study of what facilities are not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Do they mean to say that such a study has not already been done?

We wonder why that study wasn’t started before the turn of the century, just as we are not sure that the next administration and council won’t scrap any plans or studies done at this late date in favor of their own ideas once they take office in another four months.

While we do not like to see major projects held up by political changes, more study may be beneficial in the long run. Or it may just be a way to stall until the next administration is seated.

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