Letter to the Editor: Inyo Supervisor says no to county complex

Shakespeare had it right when he said “Neither a borrower nor a lender be;” That is if you want to live free. Apparently the Board of Supervisors  of Inyo County is not familiar with this famous quote. Another piece of sage advice Goes: .” Gold is the coin of kings, Silver is the coin of gentlemen, Barter is the coin of peasants, Debt is the coin of slaves.”

In the face of the worst economic downturn since the great depression, the Board of Supervisors voted four to one to enter into an agreement to move forward with plans to build a new county complex located in Bishop. The County doesn’t have the money to build the facility; so pull out the taxpayers’ credit card and charge it. The cost to build the 42,000 sq. ft. building ranges from 15 million to 24 million depending on who you want to believe. My 35 years of experience building public works projects tells me that cost over runs are the norm rather than the exception.

Inyo County has approximately 18,000 residents, that equates to about 6,000 Families, if you do the math, the projected building cost divided by families, you come up with a debt burden per family of somewhere between $2,500.00 and $ 4,000.00 dollars. This comes at a time when many people in my district are struggling to put food on the table. Add to this the $49,500.00 the Federal government says we owe and you see why our children, grand children, and great grand children will be working for China, the largest holder of US debt.

Hopefully the people in their collective wisdom will see the folly of this project and demand that it be shelved until such time that the County has sufficient funds to build it.

Richard Cervantes Supervisor 5th District

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20 Responses to Letter to the Editor: Inyo Supervisor says no to county complex

  1. bpgolfer January 16, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Well Steve, out of the 18,000 who live in Inyo County at least 15,000 live in Big Pine and Bishop. That is where the population center is. May be you should move to the northern end of InyoCounty.

    • Steve Reese January 17, 2012 at 8:57 am #

      bpgolfer, I have been working on the Owens Lake dust project for 12 years. So I live close to work and will not be moving to Bishop.
      The problem is the money that is available is all being spent in Bishop. I have no problem with Bishop being the population center and getting the lions share of the money. But just by population alone the other towns South of Bishop should be receiving more than they do now.

  2. JJ January 13, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    Steve- I’m with you on your point of view, but easy on us reg. bishop folks. I think the money should go to all our schools. Maybe the fire dept. should get a little bit also. One new building and new court house just means more vacant buildings. We are wasting good money on somethings we already have.

    • Steve Reese January 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

      JJ, sorry for the bad jab at Bishop being selfish.

      I am a Southern Inyo resident and getting tired of so many projects slated for Northern Inyo,(ie, hospital, courthouse, county buildings and airport). This moving of Inyo Co. jobs more and more to Bishop will make it almost impossible for Southern Inyo residents to work for or be represented as productive citizens in Inyo Co. The Lone Pine Inyo county offices, Southern Inyo hospital and airport have not had big upgrades in many years.
      So I would like to see some before it all falls apart.

  3. Jon January 12, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    The county currently spends about $500,000 a year to rent office space in Bishop. Apply that rent money to pay off a new building and there is no need for a bond or debt (even with the historically low interest rates currently available).

    So, the county can continue to spend tax money for rent, with nothing to show in return for spending millions over the years, or it can use the same money to buy a building that will cost less to maintain, cost less to heat and cool, and be a concrete asset once it’s paid off.

    • Dee January 12, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

      And the sad thing is this isn’t really a new issue, it has been batted around for years but the board of supervisors has decided to waste that money on rent instead of investing in a building the county would eventually own. Not very smart, some might call it lazy.
      Meanwhile dump fees go up because “there is no money”? Just one example of many.

      A country facility makes good sense, it is a smart investment for the residents of the county. And not to leave out Southern Inyo, something similar in Lone Pine might be a good idea as well.

  4. JeniferCastaneda January 12, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    Daris, I completely agree. Myself and others filed a voter’s initiative stating that any expenditure of $5 million or more go to a vote of the people. County Counsel sued us and the initiative was ruled unconstitutional. The supervisors say that they are going to have meetings for public input but I have the feeling that they will push their agenda regardless of what is said, that’s why we tried with an initiative. It is frustrating. It is our money and we need to speak up.

  5. Daris January 12, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    Jane E you have it absolutely right let this matter be decided by the voters of Inyo County it is our money. We have been told that we will have a chance to address the matter only after numerous closed negotiations. Why waste the money if the voters of Inyo do not want a new Inyo County complex? Supervisors get real money does not grow on trees it comes from the taxpayers whether it is a grant from the state, or matching funds it comes from the taxpayers pockets then to add this Inyo County debt is a great burden on working people.

  6. Steve Reese January 12, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    This is like feeding a black hole thinking you will get something out of it.
    All of Inyo Co. needs investment not just Bishop.
    If you only have a little to go around it is not right to give it to only one town.
    Please take care of the whole county. Not just selfish Bishop.

  7. JJ January 12, 2012 at 6:36 am #

    Wow, I agree. Our tax money should go to the schools. Not to two Judges and over paid city planners.

  8. JaneE January 11, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    If the county issues taxpayer approved bonds to pay for the construction, they can add the debt service to the existing property tax rate. If you save up the money, it has to come out of the current property tax rate. If there were only 6,000 property tax payers in the county, a 30 year bond issue would probably be less than $150/year, including interest. Even saving the $24 million over the same 30 years would require the county to find an extra $800,000 per year to set aside.

    Why not find out what the people want, by going to them with a bond issue?

    • upthecreek January 12, 2012 at 11:07 am #

      Have you looked at a current property tax bill..
      Is there really any more room for another Bond measure.
      Don’t you think the property owners HAVE to pay enough already?

      Get real Sheeple.
      Say no to ANY more taxes.

      • JaneE January 14, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

        The point is, there is a mechanism for the people to decide how they want to finance major projects. Most capital improvements are funded by bonded indebtedness, whether or not they are put to a vote. My tax bill already contains school and hospital debt service.

        You could even have a ballot measure to favor construction and separate that from the bond funding. That way you would know which method of financing the people prefer.

        I would be surprised if, given the current economic conditions, the people voted to raise their taxes. But they did vote for NIH, not too long ago.

        There is no guarantee that the supervisors will do what the majority wants, but at least they will know what the citizens of the county prefer.

    • skier January 12, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      Personally, I think my property tax is plenty high and I don’t want to pay any “extra”.

  9. upthecreek January 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm #


    A sane voice in the county

    Now lets go spend 100 billion for a bullet train


  10. Wayne Deja January 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    Well said Mr.Richard Cervantes….coming from your 2001 fence painter…….

  11. skier too January 11, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    All good points Mr. Cervantes, however the other 4 Supervisors know how to complete the equation. You left out the important part of how much it costs to lease the buildings for the various services at the current rate, over time, the leases would end up costing the taxpayers more in the long run because leases go up and the County would never own these facilities. Not to mention the problem with taxpayers having to drive all over Bishop to get the various County services as well as those employees lost time traveling (and wasting funds) too. Glad to see the 4 visionaries. Our children and grand children will be glad to know that the County offices are owned and paid off someday.

    • skier January 12, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

      The children and grandchildren couldn’t give a bleep about the county offices being paid off. IF that ever happened, I’m sure it would be around the same time they would become “inadequate” and need expensive refurbishing. Plus, I for one hope for REDUCED govt. in the near future.

      • Big AL January 25, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

        Buy or rent .. give the money we spend on current rent (leases) to land lords who take the money and run. Or buy the building (complex) Build it, and provide some jobs and stimulus to the county in doing so. Isn’t it better to own something rather to rent or lease? just saying?

  12. skier January 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    But Mr. Cervantes, you didn’t vote against giving Carunchio a fat raise, now he makes 4 times the median income of Inyo County, what’s the difference?


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