Recent news that the costs to renovate City Hall have gone up yet again is nothing new. Construction began in 2007 with an original cost estimate below $50 million and completion date of 2009. In 2008, the first of a series of cost overruns raised the price tag to $65 million. Last year it was announced that the final price tag was going to be $123.8 million with a completion date of July 2012. Now due to finding even more unforeseen site conditions, the price will go up another $25 million. This will bring the total project cost to almost $150 million. This is accompanied by yet another new completion date of December 2013. Why are those responsible for having performed design and engineering accompanied by site preparation and inspection prior to the initiation of construction not held accountable for repeated project delays and cost overruns? Why do NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, NYC Comptroller John Lui, NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Manhattan Boro President Scott Stringer continue to be silent about excessive number of both huge cost overruns and multiyear delayed in project completion? As aspiring Mayoral candidates, this should give voters pause for concern. With multibillion dollar municipal deficits on the horizon, there are higher priorities.
Consider that NYC Council members meet in full session or committee on a part time basis. They continue manipulating public campaign financing along with raising $500, $1,000, $2,750 and $4,900 in Pay for Play campaign contributions from special interest groups. They are paid inflated base salaries of $113,500 per year supplemented by lulus from $4,000 to $28,000 all for a part-time job; enjoy personal drivers, private City Hall parking spot; millions in pork barrel member item projects to give out to friends; paid staff to ghost write newsletters, speeches, op-ed and letters to the editor; out of town travel reimbursement; along with free tickets to all sorts of events.
Will it be worth spending $200 million dollars to build a new “Big Top” over the Big Apple’s Greatest Circus on Earth to support their continued daily discussions of irrelevant and useless resolutions? The New York City Council could move in with the real circus and save the taxpayers some money. We could have two shows for the price of one admission. Now that would be a real treat!