“We’re just going out and buying. These projects sound good and look good, but how are we going to pay for them?” -Bill Jones Luzerne County GOP commissioner candidate
Crestwood School Board member Bill Jones formally announced Friday that he is running for Luzerne County Commissioner as a Republican.
If elected, Jones said he would do more research and public disclosure before the county gets involved in leases or real estate purchases. He cited two examples of questionable decisions: the county’s planned purchase of a downtown Hazleton building for a southern annex and an Ashley breaker for a mining museum.
Jones, 48, said he supports preserving history but would want a definitive plan on who would pay to develop and maintain the Huber Breaker site before he’d approve it. Commissioners recently agreed to buy the breaker property through eminent domain to prevent the owner from selling it for scrap.
“Is the state going to help fund this? How many people will come to see it? Without concrete answers to these kinds of questions, I don’t know how we can justify taxpayers spending money on it,” Jones said.
After the Bond Brothers blew $7 million borrowed to build the new juvenile detention center that went by the wayside they decided to take the Huber Breaker by eminant domain. A project that is estimated to cost $9 million adding to a $193M capitol improvement plan. Now the Luzerne County Community College (LCCC) needs $10 million to match a state grant, another project not budgeted for. So how does LCCC apply for a state grant that requires a local match and the commissioners didn't know anything about it until Monday? Spending money on the college is a better investment than spending $1 million on an "upscale restaurant" in an old bank building on Public Square but how did they not know this was in the pipeline?
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