Letter to the editor: County should discontinue practice of real estate loans | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: County should discontinue practice of real estate loans

Jack Taylor

In May, I expressed my concern during the public comment portion of a Summit Board of County Commissioners meeting regarding the exorbitant amount of spending the county has engaged in since 2007 for real estate loans to senior staff. According to reliable sources, more than $1.2 million was set aside for loans to only four senior staff members that I know of, and two of those staff members received multiple loans. These loans were all approved by previous county commissioners. I asked the current county commissioners whether they would be continuing this practice, and I’ve yet to receive an answer.

When did it become the role of county government to be a mortgage lender? More importantly, why are senior staff, who are making more than twice the average salary of Summit County workers, asking their employer for a real estate loan? I don’t know a single taxpayer who thinks this is right. Department directors and managers are routinely told by senior staff to cut program spending, yet the county can find $1.2 million to loan to senior staff? In 2008 and 2009, it is my understanding that some staff were laid off due to the recession. That usually means that the dollars were not available to pay those salaries, but in that same time period, $615,000 was doled out for these real estate loans. How is that justified?

We are entitled — yes, entitled — to some answers here. More than $400,000 of these prior loans remain outstanding. That’s $400,000 that can’t be used toward more pressing current issues.

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