What do Scott County, Iowa, and Chicago have in common?
Not much, except that a company from Chicago is about to get a $160,000 contract paid for by Iowa taxpayer dollars.
For what, you ask? An energy audit on the county's eight facilities - including the brand new, state-of-the-art Scott County courthouse and jail.
Why does a two-year-old multi-million-dollar facility need an energy audit?
I doubt it does. However, the county had secured some grant money (a.k.a. Iowa taxpayer dollars), and when they found out the audit was going to cost less than expected on the two buildings that were originally slated for, they decided to spend the rest because they thought it was better to find a place to "spend, spend, spend" instead of patting themselves on the back for what could have been tens of thousands of dollars of savings to the state.
This is called unchecked spending.
This is why I am running for supervisor this November.
But this also is about labor and jobs in the Quad Cities.
Couldn't a local business perform this energy audit so that Iowa tax dollars would go to Iowans (or even somewhere local on the Quad Cities Illinois side)? Retiring County Board Chair Chris Gallin did ask this question (which I commend). However, she was told by a staff member that no one in the area performed energy audits as a "primary function." The board of supervisors accepted this answer without any further investigation. I've talked to both union and nonunion local workers who say their companies are more than capable of performing energy audits and doing just as well as any outfit from Chicago.
Maybe the county didn't look hard enough, or maybe they don't know much about the issue. I know this is just one example. But is a $160,000, potentially unneeded expense not worth more diligence than this? Is grant money burning a hole in the county pocketbook? Is this how you manage your personal finances ("spend it if ya got it")? Finally, if an energy audit is needed on a two-year-old facility, then the oversight of that building project was probably mismanaged in the first place.
Iowans For Accountability Candidate for Scott County Supervisor