In response to Richard Cornfield's letter to the editor in the Sept. 8 issue of the Press: Once again, Richard Cornfield has demonstrated his lack of knowledge and understanding of what the Bethel Island Municipal Improvement District (BIMID) does and how BIMID does it.
What Dick failed to mention, or does not want you to know, is that the $400,000 he mentioned regarding BIMID's budget gets leveraged into over one million dollars through subventions from the state. BIMID works within that budget. Sometimes the state is a little slow to pay, and this year, BIMID had to front some money for emergency storm repair work. BIMID has a line of credit that can be used until reimbursement is received from the state or FEMA. The money that was borrowed from the line of credit was paid back in less than one week.
Dick stated in his letter that BIMID had to use its line of credit to pay bills last month and he feels this is bad business practice.
This is not a business, Dick. BIMID is a non-profit government agency. The district is charged with spending the money for manpower and materials to keep Bethel Island safe.
His claims of mismanagement by District Manager Paul Harper are equally unfounded. Dick has been trying to get Harper fired for as long as I can remember. When Dick was on the board, he actually stated that BIMID should be a part-time agency and contract out the levee construction and maintenance work as well as ditch cleaning, get rid of the district staff, and the board could meet every so often as need be. Boy, there's a good idea.
With the start of the Delta Coves project and the new bridge this spring, Harper's duties have greatly increased. He must coordinate all levee construction and maintenance work and ditch cleaning for the entire island, as well as coordinate all consultants, engineers, contractors; federal, state and county agencies; and oversee all paperwork, documentation, and billing for subventions and emergency FEMA funding. This is a Herculean task and there is no one I know more knowledgeable or more qualified for this job than Paul Harper. He is worth every penny we pay him, as is the rest of our staff.
You could poll any of the agencies BIMID deals with and they will tell you BIMID does an amazing job with the limited funds, equipment and staff it has to work with.
I am proud to have been associated with these dedicated people for the last five years.
Richard Cornfield has done nothing for the last five years but snipe and gripe about BIMID and its staff. He only received about 70 votes in his bid to be reseated on the board in 2001. Sour grapes? Maybe.
Dick states the board should stop listening to its district manager and its legal staff. Wow! There's another great idea.
I think we would be better off if we stopped listening to Richard Cornfield. Oh wait … We already did that in 2001. Take the hint, Dick.
BIMID Board President