During the debate the other night, I was asked a question about the term “feel good projects” that I use on my campaign literature. For example, my latest walk piece contains the following statement:
Responsible Spending – I know that every dollar the city spends comes from us. I will always vote to spend our money responsibly. No more “feel good” projects.
I will note that I did not coin the term. That distinction goes to council member Mark Hoffman, who used it to describe the project to install solar panels on the roof of the community center.
I was present at a number of city council work sessions where the solar panel project was discussed. After the city’s finance director produced a financial analysis that indicated that the solar panel project would be a net cost to the city over the course of 40 years (meaning the city will never recoup their investment) Hoffman made the statement that if the council was to go ahead with the project it wouldn’t be because it made fiscal sense, but because it was a “feel good” project.
The city later chose to set aside the financial analysis provided by their award winning finance director, and instead chose to use a different financial analysis that was provided by the company that was selling them the solar panels.
At the council meeting where this project was to be voted on, I spoke against the project, and mentioned as one of my concerns that the council was going forward with the project knowing that it would be a financial loser, because it made some of the members feel good. After I finished speaking, Hoffman acknowledged that he was the one who made the statement, and reiterated that he was ok going forward with the project anyway.
I wish we could get all of our energy from the sun, instead of fossil fuels. That would be great. I don’t have anything against solar panels.
What I do have a problem with, however, is elected officials trying to make themselves feel good on someone else’s dime. I’m tired of typical politicians who want to spend our money like it’s Monopoly money. The money we used to make four members of the council feel good came from the your pocket and my pocket, and should be spent responsibly, not thrown away on “feel good” or vanity projects.
If elected, I will always vote to spend our money responsibly, because I understand that it belongs to you, not me.