Million-dollar boat docks at The Harbor a bad idea during tough economic times
Editorial Opinion by J.J. Smith.Â Iâ€™ve heard a lot of talk around town between people questioning the Rockwall City Councilâ€™s 6-0 decision Oct.Â 19 to invest nearly $1 million dollars into increasing the number of boat docks at The Harbor from the current nine to 35-40.
Construction is expected to be completed during the summer of 2010.
While Iâ€™ll admit that I havenâ€™t taken the time to closely review the budget â€“ which Iâ€™m about to do â€“ I have to add my voice to those who think a million dollars for more boat docks is aÂ bad idea right now, particularly during this time of economic hardshipÂ for so many families and organizations.
Iâ€™m personally disappointed with the Rockwall City Council for approvingÂ such aÂ measure.
For example, the Rockwall Boys &Â Girls Club desperately needs $50,000 immediately to just keep its doors open. If the City Council really wants toÂ invest where itâ€™s needed, how about paying that amount and more to put the non-profit organization on better economic footing? Since opening here a couple of years ago, nearly 200 children daily now attend the Club after school. If the Club closes, where will these children go?
National crime statisticsÂ show theÂ majority ofÂ juvenile crime is committed after school, when many parents are working.Â The Boys & Girls Club helps prevent crime by offering children a safe place after school to hang out with friends, do their homework, learn about a variety of things, plus develop their talents and interests â€“ with the help of volunteerÂ mentors.
The Club even holds pizza parties and stays open late Fridays until 10 pm, so parents can go out on a date once in a while. Thatâ€™s good for marriages and might just help prevent some divorces.
Another organization which needs funding is the Women In NeedÂ womenâ€™s shelter office in Rockwall. An average of five women a day â€“ local domestic violence victims â€“ seek counseling and assistance from WINâ€™s office in the Helping Hands medical facility. But WIN, based in Greenville, is paying about $50,000 per year to staffÂ and operate it â€“ including paying $500 per month for rent there.
No Rockwall funds are currently used toÂ operate the office, from what I understand from WINâ€™sÂ Executive DirectorÂ Roger Robertson.Â AndÂ WIN generates most ofÂ its income by operating three resale shops in Greenville.
So Rockwall only has an office for domestic violence victims, thanks to the people who purchase items from Hunt Co. resale shops. Thatâ€™s crazy! Rockwall can definitely afford toÂ payÂ forÂ an office to helpÂ abuse victims.
And then thereâ€™s always Helping Hands, the cityâ€™s and countyâ€™s designated agency for helping those in need. The food pantry is bare right now. How about taking at least a few thousand dollars to pay for some more food for city residents who are out of work or ill?
Yes,Â The Harbor probablyÂ does need more boat docks, soÂ more boatersÂ can party there during Summer concerts, and so more boaters canÂ eat at restaurants there.
And I probably need to better understand what the City can and canâ€™t do with tax dollars.
But I just think there are many better places to invest Rockwallâ€™s tax dollars right now.