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director of poor planning

The local collectivist weekly editorial is dedicated to “the dilemma” facing Kuna city’s Planning & Zoning department. “The city” (oh and how I hate it when decisions of elected officials are referred to as if everybody and everything within a geographical area is perfectly, harmoniously in agreement)… anyway, “The City” has laid off one of two building inspectors, put the other on part-time status, put two planners on half-time status. Still the department’s outgo exceeds its income. Why there’s virtually no room left for further cost reductions….

The poor planning director (annual salary: $72,858.24 plus benefits) has only one full time planner II (annual salary: $49,337.18 plus benefits) and cannot see how to save another nickel. With almost no building going on and no permits to charge for, they just don’t know what to do.

Does anybody else see the elephant in the room? Surely I’m not alone here.

This guy lops off hours for the cheap help. His department has no permits to issue, no building construction to inspect and virtually no point in planning for development that isn’t going to take place. He’s down to managing himself, one senior full-time planner and a couple of part-timers. THIS is still a honest, full-time job worth $72,858 plus benefits???

This planning expert doesn’t seem to have planned for a slowdown in building … that many of us have seen coming for a decade or more. It has been here for a few years and he still doesn’t have a plan. Perhaps somebody can help him out here with a little elementary math. There’s one extraneous person on staff costing as much as three others, having precious little to do and doing even that poorly.

Of course the whole dang department could go away, improving the situation in the process. The free market would take over with businesses like Underwriter Labs, Good Housekeeping and droves of private inspectors providing assurances to bankers, insurance companies, buyers and sellers that the construction is of high quality. We then have exactly as much inspection as we need without any that we don’t need. Costs and bureaucracy come down or go away, which has a positive effect on development and growth.

The collectivist weekly editor has a couple of suggestions himself. One is to raise the permit fees to a a level that supports the poor planning office. The other is to get some more residential and major commercial development in Kuna.

!Shazam! That’ll do it. Pin a 2001 calendar on the wall and declare the next few years to be “do over’s”. And when that starts to peter out, do it again. No painful cuts, no hard decisions and no need for change.

Now there’s a plan.