So, when is enough, enough? Now!
It’s been nearly a year since we went to the polls to vote for a new county commissioner. It’s been a bit longer than that since the county announced we were in financial trouble. It’s been a few months longer than that since Shawn Milne told us all the same thing, and announced his candidacy to attempt to fix it. He won the election comfortably.
What has he done since then? Exactly what he said he would. He, along with some other courageous leaders, stopped the tide of frivolous spending that had created the difficulties. He’s also been a large reason that there is a “recovery plan” in place.
He and others had to make hard decisions, and rather than kick that can down the road, they did it immediately. It was painful to many people, and painful to watch for all of us. Few in this county weren’t touched by the cuts in some fashion. However, it has allowed the county to get on with the business that the people need them to do without fear of the insolvency that was weeks away not so long ago.
That was our reality a year ago. There is stability in our county that wasn’t here a year ago. It’s also made Commissioner Milne an easy target for those with an ax to grind or some other sacred cow to protect. Let’s deal quickly (and finally!) with the 800 pound gorilla in real simple terms. While Deseret Peak Complex isn’t to “blame” for the financial difficulties we faced, it’s very obvious that no long term solution was possible without the steps taken to “close it down.”
Let’s talk about that for a second. It’s not closed. There are motorcycle races going on. Softball fields being used. Soccer is being played, and horses are being ridden. I’ve even been to some events in the convention center. Events are taking place, run by private organizations that are in that business, which Tooele County is not.
The only thing missing is the pool. For cost reasons, it wasn’t feasible to open it. For those that are continually screaming that it “brings in revenue,” let’s be honest here. Revenue is half the battle; expense is the other. The pool isn’t a separate entity from the county. When the county has revenue of X, and expenses of Y, X better be higher than Y or something has to change.
The biggest expense in the county that isn’t “vital” is Deseret Peak. We’ll be paying down the debt incurred to operate it for years to come, and that’s only if the commissioners stick to the recovery plan. In the meantime, the lion’s share is still operating.
Let me make it even easier to understand. When you have limited money and you have to decide whether to pay for heat this winter or your cable bill, which do you pay? Do you pay the cable, because your daughter likes it and it keeps her entertained? Or do you pay the heat to keep her alive? It’s that simple. A pool, or deputies on the street, or any of the other vital services the county must provide.
People, the time has come to put the personal attacks and vendettas aside and get on board the recovery train. Shawn Milne is a friend of mine. That’s no secret, but that’s not why I voted for him. He does what he says he’ll do and we needed that. That’s why I voted for him. Don’t like how things are going? Quit whining. The filing deadline for your campaign is in March.
Sloan is a broker for Group-1 Real Estate in Tooele and is a former chairman of the Tooele County Republican Party.