I’ve been critical of Gwinnett Daily Post’s coverage of the Braves stadium, because it has been slanted towards the pro-stadium position. I was happy to see the editors criticize the Board of Commissioners’s handling of the recent budget increase.
We expect more due diligence from our County Commission. Richard Tucker, board chairman of the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau, says “this happens every day in the real estate business” but it seems to happen much more in the public sector.
Because of the need to increase the budget, the commissioners are drawing from the reserve fund at a time when the county is tightening its belt. The county has implemented a hiring freeze, has asked police officers to not leave their cars idling and has switched schedules at some offices to make for four-day work weeks.
We don’t believe the commissioners care more about baseball than they do the county government, but with the way they’ve gone about getting this stadium it’s justifiable that some residents feel hoodwinked. The commissioners have turned a baseball stadium into a political football.
Though there have been bumps in the road on the way to getting the stadium built, we still believe the stadium and the Gwinnett Braves are an important addition to the county. Bert Nasuti, the commissioner who was the major impetus behind Gwinnett landing the team, insists the investment is worth it.
But at what cost? That’s what Gwinnett taxpayers are asking. And the answer, for now, is $59 million, or $19 million more than expected.
The commissioners should have a better grasp of those numbers. Like the players who are coming to Gwinnett next year, we expect them to keep their eyes on the ball.
In other words, if you want to model yourself after a Gwinnett County ballplayer, be more like Brian McCann—be patient and wait for a good pitch to drive—than Jeff Francouer—be aggressive and swing at everything.