Josh McKoon Defends Opposition to MCPEC

Josh McKoon, Columbus Republican leader, candidate for Georgia Senate District 29

Columbus attorney Josh McKoon sent me and Richard Hyatt an email defending the Muscogee County Republican Party’s opposition to spending more money to build the new Muscogee County School District administrative building.  McKoon, who is running for the State Senate District 29 seat, is the former chair of the Muscogee County Republican Party. 

 

It’s a bit long so I am not going to post the whole email, but you can read it by clicking on the “comment” button. 

Here are some excerpts: 

The points that at least I and the members of the Muscogee County Republican Party who approved a resolution opposing the expenditure were trying to make were #1)–the School Board should be held to its word as provided in the plain language of the 2003 SPLOST, #2)–that if monies over and above the $12.3 million had to be spent, that the School Board should have to ask voters to approve such an expenditure and #3)–that in the absence of seeking voter approval that the School Board at least seek public input before committing such a large amount of taxpayer money to a project.   

It seems that at a time when unemployment is at 10%, when schools are suffering from overcrowding and teachers are having to be furloughed due to plummeting revenue at the state and local level, that it might have been the prudent course of action for the MCSD to have held on to that borrowing capacity and perhaps built a more modest building that could have been expanded as times, and sources of revenue, warranted. 

He also defended the Taj Mahal comparison: 

The reason I think so many latched on to the term Taj Mahal was not only to reflect the extraordinary price tag of the building, but also of the attitude expressed by the majority of the Board that public input or approval of the additional money was irrelevant and unnecessary.  Who knows if the MCSD had made the case to the people as to why the additional funds were necessary, the public might have approved it, as they did with the 2009 E-SPLOST.

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2 Responses to “Josh McKoon Defends Opposition to MCPEC”

  1. dicksworld Says:

    Dear Dick & Richard,

    I have enjoyed reading your recent posts regarding the MCSD Administration building. I am actually getting ready to head over for the open house now. But before I leave I wanted to provide some background for those who would say that people who stood in opposition to the new building are simply against progress or lack some manner of civic pride.

    First, some history. Voters approved in 2003 approximately $12.3 million for a new School District Administration Building as part of an E-SPLOST placed on the ballot by the MCSD. Most people agreed that the old administration building was outdated and needed to be replaced. I have been told by a number of people that one of the reasons for the purchase of the Columbus Square property in 1999 was so that the old Sears building could be renovated and used by the School District as a new Administration Building, though my limited research has not revealed any reference to that plan in the Ledger or other public record. But in any event in 2003 the MCSD got voter approval to spend about $12.3 million on this project.

    Second, calling the financing for the new building a “bond issue” is technically correct, but in the mind of the reader may give an incorrect impression of what is going on here. In fact what happened is the MCSD entered into a lease-purchase agreement with an Atlanta private equity firm on the building. I do not know if the MCSD is still leasing the building or when it will actually own the building, but they entered into a lease-purchase at the outset. Why? Because that was the only way to raise bond revenue without seeking voter approval, a practice that was only recently made legal in Georgia.

    It is widely agreed that the MCSD spent over $25 million on this project and some estimates actually put the total closer to $30 million.

    But let’s say you and I agree $25 million was spent. That was twice what the voters authorized in 2003 and comes to something like $250 per square foot. The reason I think so many latched on to the term Taj Mahal was not only to reflect the extraordinary price tag of the building, but also of the attitude expressed by the majority of the Board that public input or approval of the additional money was irrelevant and unnecessary. Who knows if the MCSD had made the case to the people as to why the additional funds were necessary, the public might have approved it, as they did with the 2009 E-SPLOST.

    The points that at least I and the members of the Muscogee County Republican Party who approved a resolution opposing the expenditure were trying to make were #1)–the School Board should be held to its word as provided in the plain language of the 2003 SPLOST, #2)–that if monies over and above the $12.3 million had to be spent, that the School Board should have to ask voters to approve such an expenditure and #3)–that in the absence of seeking voter approval that the School Board at least seek public input before committing such a large amount of taxpayer money to a project.

    It seems that at a time when unemployment is at 10%, when schools are suffering from overcrowding and teachers are having to be furloughed due to plummeting revenue at the state and local level, that it might have been the prudent course of action for the MCSD to have held on to that borrowing capacity and perhaps built a more modest building that could have been expanded as times, and sources of revenue, warranted.

    Regards,

    Josh McKoon

  2. Richard Says:

    He sent it to my blog as well — but after I posted a one-liner from him on Tuesday. I guess it shows where I stand, huh? 😦

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