From Washington D.C. to Frankfort, there are no shortage of examples of politicians and various types of governing boards spending taxpayer money as if it would burn a hole in their pocket. Despite the fact that most citizens understand all too well that no matter how bad you want something, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the funds; the aforementioned group often appear to have missed that lesson. Once they have burned through their “allowance” money, they will just start borrowing or begging elsewhere.
Meade County is no different, and Brandenburg Mayor Ronnie Joyner is just the latest example of a politician losing sight of the distinct difference between needs versus wants, which inevitably leads to fiscal irresponsibility with taxpayer dollars.
Last Monday at the Brandenburg City Council meeting, he informed the council that he would be going to the Meade County Fiscal Court meeting the following evening to request the county’s financial assistance in purchasing a boat dock and bollards.
In Joyner’s summation, Brandenburg needs a new floating boat dock that is aluminum because the wood ones they have been using rot too quickly. The problem is he doesn’t have $40,000 to spend on a floating boat dock in his budget. His answer — call on the Fiscal Court and by extension, all of Meade County to help pay for Brandenburg to get a fancy aluminum floating dock. Not only does he want the taxpayers of Meade County to help foot this extravagant expenditure, but he wants the county to pay for 60 percent of the cost with the city picking up the other 40 percent. Furthermore, the city has just announced in last week’s paper that they are accepting bids for a floating dock. How could Joyner even know how much money to ask the Fiscal Court for last week, unless he already has his mind set on where he plans on getting his dock and the bidding announcement is just a formality?
The request for assistance with his bollards is even more egregious. Joyner wants to spend over $10,000 on this project with the county once again picking up 60 percent of the tab. What are bollards, and why are they needed? Well, they are big, decorative concrete balls that Joyner wants to put around the Civil War monument in downtown Brandenburg to protect it.
You may be wondering why it needs protecting. Well according to Joyner and at least one magistrate, there is a good chance that someone is going to turn kamikaze and run their car through that monument. They point to the news cycle last year as proof of this imminent threat.
The only problem is that their fear mongering is totally unsubstantiated. Sure, we all saw monuments under attack last year. They were usually life sized or slightly larger in scale statues of historical figures that were knocked off their pedestals. They weren’t 70 foot tall monuments that weigh in at 140,000 plus pounds such as the one in Brandenburg. Furthermore, I pay pretty close attention to the news (it is my job, after all), and I cannot recall any breaking news of a raving mad group of monument destroyers traveling the country ramming monuments with their vehicles.
The force and speed needed to damage that monument would be lethal to the driver long before it would be sufficient to displace the largest Civil War monument in the state of Kentucky from its concrete pad. To pull it down you would need a Sherman tank at the opposite end of the parking lot adjacent to the monument and several hundred yards of chain to even get the angles and counterweight adequate enough to attempt to topple it. In any case, the 70 foot obelisk does not need big, decorative balls to protect it, and it surely doesn’t need county tax funds to fund another one of Brandenburg’s ridiculous ideas.
Brandenburg is our county seat and largest city, but there are far greater needs in this county, and in the city for that matter, than an extravagant dock and fancy balls. Many in this county neither use, nor support, either project. As far as city funds, adding more monuments, further diversifying the riverfront would be a far better use of funds than protecting that which requires no protection. Even at the protest last year, the small group of people marching against the monument had no tools of destruction in their hands. The closest thing to it, would be the skateboard one of the young men carried as he walked. Why not build a skateboard park by the new bike park at Meade Olin Park? The History Museum could sure use some financial support. And how many more boats are launched from places such as Concordia Park, as opposed to Brandenburg? Maybe it is time for the citizens of Meade County to let their magistrates know how it is long overdue for county tax revenues to be spent on projects in the other towns around Meade County before they even consider assisting Joyner in his frivolous spending spree. Towns such as Muldraugh, Flaherty, Ekron, Payneville, Battletown and others would love to see some investment in their communities with their tax dollars that are much more warranted than the $50,000 plus Joyner wants to waste on docks and fancy balls.