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It comes as a shock: After the Mayor has spent $215 million on the Convention Center he says that’s only enough to build a “grade-B facility.” (News and Observer 12-15-06).

Mayor Meeker wants – and he’s gotten –$6.4 million more. For what?

He got a cool million for stone floors.

Two million for kitchen equipment.

And $350,000 for canopies and skylights.

The Convention Center is only a quarter built – but it’s already a quarter over budget. Mayor Meeker told us, originally, it would ‘only’ cost $180 million (presumably for a grad-A facility). It’s now up to $221 million. The costs skyrocketed $30 million in the last year. Five City Council and County Commissioners finally said no and voted against the Mayor’s latest $6.4 million. They were Republicans Philip Isley, Tommy Craven, Paul Coble and Tony Gurley, and Democrat Russ Stephenson. But a majority of the councilors and commissioners overruled them and voted to spend the money.

The principal at East Millbrook Middle School can be forgiven if he is watching all this and scratching his head, puzzled. A year ago, after one of his students was struck by a car crossing Spring Forest Road, he asked the City to assign a crossing guard to the street in front of the school. He must be wondering about the city’s priorities. The Council just voted to spend a million dollars on stone floors – while he’s still waiting for his crossing guard.

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