Cheapest isn't always best


The government’s money is actually our money.

That should go without saying, yet we’re always finding ourselves reminding these government officials that because it’s our tax dollars filling those coffers, we expect our leaders — as stewards of that cash — to spend it appropriately.

 Generally, that means spending as little as possible. Yet, going cheap isn’t always the best way to go. Just ask anyone from the 1980s who might have plunked down a few thousands dollars so they could drive around in a Yugo.

Community Board 8 chair Rosemary Ginty knew quite well that cost might be a major factor when it comes to relocating CB8 offices out of North Riverdale to somewhere more central. Real estate is expensive — even simply securing a couple thousand square feet of real estate space.

Ginty found what she feels is CB8’s dream home — some retail storefront space at 5740 Broadway. And it is a space that really checks every box on what CB8 and the community are looking for.

Ample parking. Larger meeting space to depend less on various sites around the community. Central location to everyone in the CB8 area, just off not only a major bus line, but the 1 train.

All of that, however, comes with a price — one that might be a little higher than we’re used to paying taxpayer money on.

But is this a waste of money? Sure, there might be other alternative sites, but none check as many boxes as 5740 Broadway — and prices there are only a little less than what CB8 would have had on Broadway. 

That means the city is willing to buy that Yugo, except shell out Lincoln Continental-level payments. If we’re going to pay those Lincoln prices, shouldn’t we at least consider buying the Lincoln?

Ginty has spent a long career in government, and probably better than anyone, she understands the importance of getting that best bang for the taxpayer dollar.

And the thing is, 5740 Broadway only feels like a Lincoln. In reality, it’s more like a typical, dependable family car. Sure, you don’t want to spend too much money. But you’re also willing to pay just a little bit more to ensure your family can get from one point to the other.

City bean counters need to spend smart — not just in dollar quantity, but in dollar quality.