Thursday, November 12, 2009

Compare & Contrast: Rich Riebeling vs. David Manning on Planning Capital Projects

Why is Dean Finance Director Rich Riebeling prone to spend Metro money before planning for new Metro facilities, given the previous Finance Director's common sense explanation in 2007 that thoughtful planning should always precede spending capital revenues on big ticket items?

Now consider this dispatch from a neighborhood leader who attended Tuesday night's community meeting with Rich Riebeling regarding the Finance Director's intention to shell out $14 million to purchase a former car dealership to house the West Nashville police precinct with no planning:
Mr. Reibeling, the Metro finance director, answered [neighbors' questions]:
  1. There were no detailed drawings or site plans for the Frensley property and that he didn't want to spend any more money on planning. That they had already spent money on planning the Horizon Building and that those plans would basically serve to PLAN the Frensley property.
  2. He didn't know how much money was available for planning.
  3. He didn't know how much we had spent on planning for the Horizon location already (we've heard around $50,000 has been spent on planning for the Horizon Building and that council has approved a total planning budget for the project of $500,000).
  4. Basically he had no intention of spending any more money on planning the Frensley site before it went to council for a vote, that he "knew" it would come in under the $14 million that was appropriated.
One of the reasons the last council loathed David Manning was because he demanded careful planning before authorizing spending as Charlie Tygard put it for a "3, 4, 5, or 6 millon dollar crime lab" while resisting attempts to dicker with council over $500,000 to plan for the multi-million dollar projects. It seems to me spending $500,000 to help avoid paying an extra $3 million would be a good thing, although old school politicians like Tygard seemed to disagree. The current courthouse finance crowd seems ready to spend big development and construction dollars without a lick of planning on the new West Nashville police precinct. That should satisfy development-happy patrons like Mr. Tygard, but it is not good for the community around Richland Creek.

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