Tanner Andrews: Passing gas taxes and the County Council

Tanner Andrews

Tanner Andrews

We all do things we’re not proud of. Sometimes it is by accident; no one means to spill grape juice all over the studio on live radio. True, it will be impossible to clean, but it was an accident.

Other times, people do things because they do not expect to be found out. County Manager Jim Dinneen is on top of that one.

Recently, Dinneen had the County Council set to pay $1.9 million to buy land for a new public-works mansion out in the swamps of Samsula. He never expected that anyone would find out that the land was appraised for less than half the price. When that came out, he had to flee from the odor.

Of course, it was not Dinneen’s fault. It was approved by five different bureaucrats, but it came out on the agenda by accident. They did not mean to throw away an extra million over the value of the land; it was an accident.

For now, the purchase has gone down the memory hole. The document link for that one item has mysteriously gone away from the online agenda. And everyone but the manager is to blame.

Blame the five bureaucrats. Blame the clerk. But never, never blame the guy at the top. No matter how bad an odor surrounds him, never ever blame the County Manager.

Dinneen wants to build a monument to public works, deep in the swamps of Samsula. It is probably best that way. If the public saw where their money went, they might object.

The objections would be particularly strong if people knew that they plan to divert gas-tax money to the project.

This is all while they are crying for more money to build roads. At least they offer an excuse: The amount of money wasted here would not build a lot of roads.

Blowing a few millions for a public-works monument in the swamp is gas-tax money not going to the roads.

The County Council will still approve the next big traffic-generating development. However, as a matter of safety, the land-buy information has disappeared for now.

See? All gone. No need to be ashamed. It was vapor, a gas, a mere nothing. And you can tell what the county manager is thinking — he will bring that land deal back soon, buried deeper in hopes that no one smells it this time.

— Andrews is a DeLand-area attorney and a longtime government critic. For purposes of the column, he finds it convenient that there is so much government to criticize.

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