“What will be the total cost of removal and storage?” asked the councilman.
“$150,000,” answered City Manager Sheryl Sculley.
150,000 taxpayer dollars to remove a monument from Travis Park?
A few gasps could be heard.
Manager Sculley went on to explain that it is a highly-specialized process, and the city had already contracted with the man and his company who would perform the removal.
They are experts who do this all across the country, she explained.
Wait. Slow your roll, Cowgirl.
Already contracted? But the vote hadn’t happened yet. How did they already hire someone for a project which hadn’t been approved?
Where were the bids? Where was the research? Where was the plan?
Where was the testimony from the people footing the bill – the citizens of SA?
That’s when District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry spoke up about “process.”
The good Councilman attempted to explain to his colleagues why he would be a “no” vote on removal.
It wasn’t so much that he believed the statue should stay, he explained.
It’s just that we “have a process that we need to follow in order to protect the interests of the citizens.”
Process schmacess! We don’t need no stinkin’ process!
All Council members and the Mayor voted for removal – except Mr. Perry.
In a few hours the “process” of removal was well underway.
The fix was in. The decision was made, contracts signed, the deal was done before the vote was even taken.
And now, thanks to great reporting from KABB, we find out the total cost for removal shot up from $150,000 to $258,680, and counting.
$108,000 MORE than council was told.
Councilman Greg Brockhouse was stunned saying, “Being told directly to my face by a city director that this was $150,000, then to see this – I think that deserves further research.”
Welcome to City Hall, Councilman.
Today, the monument sits in a storage facility, and my prediction is it will never see the light of day again.
And taxpayers are out another $258,680.