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Thursday, December 25, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 8/11/2001

Boring but essential

What do the state's $400 million school improvement budget, Toledo's $400 million sewer renewal program, and $25,000 to fix a roof cave-in at a city of Toledo truck garage have in common?

Each illustrates that some Ohio elected officials have not been good stewards of the public trust. They have not set aside funds on a regular basis to maintain public facilities. As a result they're falling apart. Now there is a price to pay: expensive fixes.

Obviously politicians don't want to raise taxes for maintenance, which rarely, if ever, occasions a commemorative plaque or a press conference. It has absolutely no glamour.

Citizens, for their part, are generally content to go ignorantly along until an emergency strikes and someone is killed, hurt, disadvantaged, or grossly inconvenienced. Then they blame government, not themselves.

Each year, at all levels of government, maintenance expenses must be calculated and budgeted for each structure that is publicly owned.

A decade or two ago people in communities with many unmaintained bridges found that out the hard way, as dangerous spans were shut down for years for reconstruction because they had rusted out. Now most government units have regular maintenance routines in place for bridges. The same must be done for other public structures. Seat-of-the britches repairs must be eliminated.



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