Op-Ed: Michigan County Set to Spend $80M in COVID Funds for Sports Complex | Michigan

Since the federal government designed the COVID-19 relief funds to come out quickly, the trade-off was lax auditing and oversight. This led to misallocation and misuse of funds.

While that might seem like a fair trade-off at the time, it funded hundreds of unnecessary pet projects. One example is Lenawee County in Michigan, which is using COVID-19 funds to build a sports complex that could cost up to $80 million.

The central square reported this project is designed to help attract traveling sports teams from out of town, which would generate revenue for the town. But even their own consultants admit they face a litany of challenges.

The sports complex likely doesn’t have any tenants yet, since no one has asked for the project, and the company will operate at a loss if it doesn’t find enough, according to the report. There are also many sports complexes like this in the area, so it will face stiff competition.

After the announcement of the project, some residents were rightly worried. Could that $80 million have been better spent elsewhere? Kevon Martis, zoning administrator and county resident, noted that this project is twice the county’s annual budget.

Elected officials should explain why they thought it was a good investment.

The #WasteOfTheDay column is brought to you by OpenTheBooks.com forensic auditors.

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