Some decisions leaders make will be criticized no matter which way they go. That is clearly the case with the decisions that had to be made about a storm shelter in Liberty County. Liberty Dispatch has received a few complaints and after investigating the facts believes County Judge Craig McNair has done what is best for Liberty County. Below readers can read why we think the decisions were correct about the shelter and readers can decide for themselves.
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First let’s look at the recent construction of a county storm shelter and decide if building it now was best for Liberty County, then we will look at the problems this administration inherited and why they scrapped the previous administration’s original idea. The reader needs to consider what they wanted our elected leaders to do when the federal government (FEMA) offered to fully fund a storm shelter for Liberty County. Should we have declined the help or should we welcome federal money that buys a storm shelter with excellent parking and land adjacent to the county jail? If we decline the help, we have none of these benefits while other counties build storm shelters to protect their citizens. While conservatives will immediately recognize FEMA money as taxpayer money, they might still recognize Liberty County had a very real and practical decision to make. If we say the economy is too slow to accept this help and a storm hits and kills some of our neighbors, how will the decision to refuse funds be viewed?
County Judge Craig McNair decided to accept the building. Knowing the restrictions on the use of the building would expire in 10 years. He also decided to build the building in an area adjacent to other county buildings in the hopes of consolidating and making the workings of the county more efficient in time.
Liberty Dispatch has tried to monitor the opposition to this plan along with reading the few complaints we have received. The majority of the complaints center around the wrongheaded thought that there was some kind of rationale to go forward with what the previous administration had started. Unfortunately, former County Judge Phil Fitzgerald, former Commissioner Todd Fontenot and others jumped into the deal to buy the old Walmart building without delving into the cost involved in renovating. Rumors of purposefully overpaying and plans to hire their friends to work on it abound at the time. Regardless, it was determined to be cost ineffective to even attempt to remodel the cheaply built Walmart building even if bid properly. The building would then be a nightmare to insure. Craig McNair is trying to clean up this ill conceived non-starter by selling the building and getting it back on the tax rolls. There really is no wisdom in considering other options when you hear all of the facts.
So after evaluating the situation we again have to point out there is no shelter from the storm for a leader and decision make as he chooses a direction for the county to go. Some have a legitimate point that Liberty County should have refused to take the feds up on their offer because of the principle of the thing – not wanting to spend taxpayer money in tough times for things we have done without for years. Some may be ill informed about the route Fitzgerald was headed, but that was a dead end. And some may agree with LD in thinking a well-built shelter could save lives in the future and the decision that was made was a good one.