The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning slammed the brakes on a $1 million soapbox derby track.
The board was scheduled to vote Tuesday on what company would win the construction of the track. Instead, they issued a resolution ordering CEO Burrell Ellis to stop all work.
Commissioner Elaine Boyer said that Ellis did not get the board's permission.
"In a private company, the CEO would've been fired," Boyer said. "Unfortunately we can't do that."
Ellis signed off on an order to start clearing the land off Rock Chapel Road for the future home of the 900-foot go-kart track, but it could remain just a hole in the ground for the foreseeable future.
"We wanted to make it perfectly clear that only the commission can set capital projects and we need to spell it out for him," Boyer said.
Boyer she said she does not necessarily oppose the project, but she contended that the project would only earn $15,000 a year in profit.
"There's a disconnect. There's not a good return on the money," Boyer said.
Burke Brennan, a spokesman for Ellis, however, said commissioners voted for the CEO to start work on the track last year.
"The board approved it in March 2011," Brennan said.
When asked if the Ellis will order workers to stop clearing the park, Brennan answered, "We're going to take a look at the resolution. It came as a complete surprise."
Taxpayers wondered why the county would spend so much for a go-kart track when the county stares at bleak financial future.
"Not a good idea," said Teresa Mitzel. "The economics aren't there."
Lisa Calk said, "We need to give teachers raises, we need to fix the hospitals and sewers."
When asked if $1 million was an excessive amount to spend on a park during difficult financial times, Brennan said that the money was already earmarked for a recreational project.
"Given the mandate from voters, we can't do anything else with it, we have to spend it for recreational purposes," Brennan said.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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