Mayor Gunning insists the Feds have the money
Council Member Kim Monson says they don't
(LONE TREE, CO)–The latest showdown between constitutional conservativism and big government Republicanism was visible at last night's Lone Tree City Council meeting. Commenting on the $92M in federal grant money requested earlier for the Southeast Light Rail Extension, Council Member Kim Monson expressed her conviction that it is high time for elected officials at the local level to start refusing federal dollars.
"Someone in Ohio should not be paying for a Lone Tree resident to ride the Light Rail. As local officials it is our responsibility to do our part to stem the tide of federal deficit spending. Our children and grandchildren are the ones who ultimately suffer from this irresponsible taking of "taxpayer funds" that don't exist and ratcheting up the federal debt. Our only hope to address the deficit is to cut spending and free up the economy," asserts Monson.
On the agenda at last night's city council meeting was the vote to approve the three remaining Intergovernmental Agreements (IGA's) to help pay for the $207M (or $233M depending on the source), 2.3 mile Southeast Light Rail Extension. For Council Member, Kim Monson, in dispute was not the local IGA's, but the $92M federal grant that has become the project lynchpin. Because of the lack of accountability related to federal funding and the inextricable connection between funding sources, Monson voted no on the IGA's.
During her comments Monson and Mayor Jim Gunning clashed in an exchange revealing their stark differences of opinion related to taking federal dollars for regional projects. Referring to the City's willingness to take the federal money, Gunning blurted, "The federal government has the money!" While Monson asserted, "They don't have the money. The national debt has gone from $10T to $18T in just the last few years, leaving our country deeply entrenched in deficit spending."
Gunning retorts, "If we don't take [the money] someone else will. I don't want it to go to L.A." Gunning revealed the base of his perspective when he stated that, "We're not responsible for how the federal government spends its money at this level."
Photo: Left to right - Lone Tree Mayor Jim Gunning, Council Member Susan Squyer and Council Member Kim Monson. Harold Anderson, the fourth member in attendance at last night's meeting, is out of the picture on the far left. Mayor Pro Tem Jackie Millet was not in attendance.