Recent news that renovations to City Hall which will accomidate a new meeting hall for the New York City Council being close to completion is nothing to cheer about. 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. A final price tag of $123.8 million and completion date of July 2012 is nothing to be proud of. Why was NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn silent about these huge cost overruns and multiyear delay in project completion? As an aspiring Mayoral candidate, this should give voters pause for concern. With a multibillion dollar municipal deficit there are higher priorities.
Consider that NYC Councilmembers 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.
Was it worth spending $123.8 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 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!