Collins: Common sense spending can do wonders

Published 11:14 am Thursday, May 11, 2017

In my last column, I discussed taxes and how we — as a city, state and nation — could improve on spending

This is always a hot topic and because of several things crossing my path this week, I would like to continue on the subject, as several of these items are hitting close to home.

I was thinking how awesome, not to mention comical, it would be if those in favor of certain spending were the ones being taxed for such things. For example, if you are in favor of tax dollars supporting Planned Parenthood or of grants that support illegal immigrants, then you, and only you should be paying taxes for such programs. Yes, I realize there are things on both sides of the fence that could fall into this category, but the comical piece to this idea would be to see how fast many people would begin to drop their support of certain funding when they had the sole responsibility of footing the bill. Regardless of your political stance on taxes, I would hope we can all agree too much money is wasted; tax dollars that could go to better use. Recently, I went to neighboring Powell County to watch my nephew play in a Little League baseball game. I noticed a few interesting things on this short trip.

Email newsletter signup

If you have traveled on the Mountain Parkway recently, you have seen the miles of road construction barrels that bring the parkway to one lane. You know, those orange, white and gray barrels that we drive past on highways and interstates with nearly every trip we take. On the Mountain Parkway, there are several bridges being repaired and I hope some road repairs as well. But, on both sides for nearly seven miles, those barrels are lined up; way too many to count while trying to drive in the now much smaller lane.

I don’t know how much the state pays for those barrels, but a quick web search says I can purchase one for between $30 to $50, depending on style. Regardless, I can’t even imagine how many millions of dollars are spent on these things. Now, here’s the point I wish to make: I can’t see why these barrels need to be stretched out for seven miles of the parkway for the bridgework that is being completed in specific areas. I could accomplish the same goal at a fraction of the cost by using fewer barrels.

I’m sure many will point out my pettiness with such a simple example, but I’m talking about common sense spending. How many other examples can we find? I’m sure we can find many ways to either save money or spend the tax dollars on things that, well, make more sense.

Speaking of taxpayers having a say so, there is a local issue that is raising some concerns: the desire of the health department to purchase the old YMCA property. In my opinion, there was a reason the YMCA had trouble in this property, most notably location, location, location. I realize the health department and a gym are two different arenas, but the first priority of the health department should be to provide a low-cost service that is easily accessible to the general public.

I would encourage Magistrate Daniel Konstantopoulos and Judge-Executive Henry Branham to vote against this proposal. The health board has no accountability to the taxpayers, yet wants to use tax dollars to purchase said property. One of the true foundations of America is not having taxation without representation, meaning such moves should be held in check by our elected officials, i.e., our fiscal court.

In past votes, I have seen Konstantopoulos show his concern for our tax dollars, trying to prevent wasteful spending. I feel he and Branham will continue this trend and take the necessary steps to prevent the government from getting out of control.

The health department provides important services to our community but still has to be monitored in regards to spending. Proper representation speaks for the will of the people. The will of the people I’m hearing says, “No.”

As for those road construction barrels, I’d rather see our tax dollars paying for better things, even if it is for our kids to have better youth experiences.

The Little League game I watched today had one umpire calling the entire game, as did the other games in the sports complex. When I played Little League, we had two umpires. But, I don’t think we had thousands of orange barrels so I guess it comes out even.

During the revolutionary period, politician James Otis said it best. “Taxation without representation is tyranny.”

Political enthusiast Will Collins is a Kentucky native who has called Winchester home for nearly the past 20 years. He can be emailed at