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Is central Iowa the place to be? According to several online rankings, the greater Des Moines metro area hails as a top-notch area in which to live, work, and retire. However, under the surface, questionable projects have left many central Iowans wondering about the priorities coming out of our city halls.

This past week, the Indianola City Council unanimously approved a lone bid for its town square renovation project that will cost taxpayers almost $3 million more than expected. Rather than invite more competition or shop around for a better deal, it appears the council quickly jumped at the chance to overspend.

Taxpayers in Des Moines share similar frustrations. A government watchdog reported the ongoing courthouse renovation project in downtown Des Moines is running nearly $20 million over budget. Add this to a botched skyscraper project that’s leaving taxpayers on the hook for tens of millions. Wasting funds is unacceptable, particularly when businesses of all sizes have been forced to shut their doors throughout the pandemic and families have had to tighten their own budgets.

The issues of irresponsible spending spill over into Des Moines’ largest suburb, as well. Despite burdening taxpayers with $3,000 in debt per resident, the city council agreed to shell out over $40 million to a private company for an exclusive internet conduit network. A good rule of thumb for our elected leaders to remember is encouraging more, not less, competition is better.

It’s time for our elected officials to reprioritize transparency to avoid such costly missteps. Many local politicians are up for reelection this November – maybe it’s time to reevaluate our leadership at all levels of government.

  • Laney Feight