Ironically, in 2002, Warren County was allotted the exact same amount $800,000 to build an 8-mile chain-link fence around the county-owned Floyd D. Bennett airport in Queensbury.
The fence has since taken hundreds of man hours to patrol and repair and claimed the lives of numerous animals who got caught inside and killed or maimed as they attempted to get out. The local press lambasted that project as a colossal waste of taxpayer money but the traffic there at least somewhat warranted it. Aircraft take off and touch down on its runways more than 35,000 times a year. Compared to what, maybe a few hundred in Ti?
The fence in Queensbury also cost $17-a-foot to install. If my calculations are correct, Ti is allotting $50-a-foot to build its 3-miles of fence. I cant imagine the cost of chain-link has gone up 300 percent in five years.
I understand local officials not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth. But there is such a thing as fiscal prudence. State and federal grants, directly or indirectly, come out of the wallets of local taxpayers, and the trough of federal pork eventually runs out.
Local governments owe it to the taxpayers to treat this kind of money just as they would money raised from local taxes. I doubt the town board would be considering an $800,000 fence under those circumstances.
Given the precarious financial positions of both the federal and local governments, the Ti board should seek other creative ways to use the money, not squander it like Uncle Sam is so prone to do. Otherwise, they should create a long overdue precedent and return it.
John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org