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I’ve noticed a disturbing trend recently: Local government officials around Des Moines refuse to be held accountable for their financial missteps.

Earlier this month, West Des Moines reached a big milestone. The city council approved yet another cost overrun in its Google Fiber project, bringing the grand total to nearly $5 million in new expenses. What originally cost $42.8 million will now soak up even more tax revenue. When concerned citizens asked about this ballooning budget, they were turned away, with councilmembers citing “ongoing litigation” as an excuse for their silence.

In the same week, the State Appeal Board ruled against hundreds of Indianola residents that took issue with the city improperly spending local option sales tax revenue for street beautification rather than infrastructure improvements. City leaders have been similarly quick to dismiss taxpayers’ complaints, many of which relate to the city accepting the lone project bid for $3 million over the expected cost.

Government accountability shouldn’t be optional in the metro’s city halls and I’m worried about this trend of our local leaders passing the buck. Open, honest communication is the hallmark of successful communities.

  • Cooper Boeff
    West Des Moines