I would like to respond to the letter from Ed Clark, Jr. which appeared in the October 22 edition of the Courier-Express. My opinion regarding the consolidation of the City of DuBois and Sandy Township, and that of members of the One Community Committee whom I represent, differs substantially from that of Mr. Clark. It is an opinion formed from a different perspective -- a broader perspective which envisions a community working together in unity with common purpose, not in discord with divisiveness and provincialism. It is a community which consolidates and effectively utilizes its assets, talents, and strengths rather than continue on a path of wasteful duplication and competitiveness.
Of course, Mr. Clark is correct in asserting that there will be expenditures associated with the one-year transition necessary to establish a framework of a new, more efficient government. And he is correct in identifying such costs as legal fees, cost allocations, asset/space utilization, software analysis, administration, consolidation of retirement and other benefit plans not addressed in the Pennsylvania Economy League study.
He fails to acknowledge, however, the PEL was charged solely with the task of examining the costs and economies of operating a consolidated government, not with addressing the informational needs and costs assumed collectively by City Council and Sandy Supervisors in developing an Agreement of Consolidation. And, most importantly, he fails to acknowledge that these expenditures will be limited to the transition year, and that they would be more accurately characterized as investments in efficient government. The enormous savings from elimination of duplication calculated in the comprehensive PEL study will benefit tax payers year after year after year.
I submit, as an example of such savings, Sandy Supervisors' proposed expenditure for a new municipal building. With consolidation, the savings from this wasteful duplication will be far greater than the costs of transition identified by Mr. Clark.
What the PEL study does rightly conclude is that the current operations of both municipal governments are under financial stress. Without the savings inherent to consolidation, increasing costs paired with static revenue will lead to deficit operation for both in the immediate future. It doesn't take any in-depth analysis, only common sense, to conclude that the one certain result of voting "no" for consolidation is escalating taxes for both municipalities.
It is time to plan and grow together, expanding our economy and creating jobs for our kids and grandkids!
Editor's note: As previously published, The Courier Express is willing to extend the word limit of letters to the editor specifically discussing the proposed consolidation.