Question: What percent of the $66 million do you think will actually benefit the kids?
Answer: 50 percent to 80 percent will benefit the community. Twenty to 50 percent will be lost in non-tangibles.
Question: Twenty percent to 50 percent losses? That means $13 to $33 million will be lost? Are you suggesting fraud?
Answer: Probably fraud will be difficult to prove, but you Port Washington taxpayers will not be getting your money's worth. You'll see lots of delays and "unexpected" cost increases as contractors "find" the jobs more difficult than expected. Skimping on materials will be easy in the chaotic environment of 30 or 40 jobs running simultaneously. No-show jobs will be created and hidden. They are difficult to detect or prosecute. These are just a few possibilities. With $66 million, there's plenty of room for maneuver.
Question: Do you really think this will happen?
Answer: Yes. The temptation and opportunity is too high for it not to happen.
Question: What can we do to get our money's worth?
Answer: Reduce temptation and opportunity by funding a single $5 million project per year. Make the contractor perform (carrot and stick approach). Hire an outside auditor. Watch the administration for excesses, new job categories, new consultants, etc. Don't allow board of ed members to participate in contracts (directly or indirectly). It's called conflict of interest.
Question: What about the kids?
Answer: They're pawns in the game. Phrases like "It's for the kids' are designed to encourage voters to vote emotionally.
Question: How do you know all this?
Answer: The tip-off is that the PW school system is asking more than triple the county average. That's certainly a red flag. Also, there are a lot of vested interests if you look closely. The chaotic environment generated by a quick spend of $66 million will defy control. At prime rate (9 percent), the interest paid by Port residents on $66 million is about $6 million/year. Follow the money.
The questioner and answerer were both me. I don't need a crystal ball to know what's going to happen to the $66 million.