EDITORIAL: Malheur County should let voters decide on millions for industrial development

Greg Smith, Malheur County’s economic development director, speaking to county commissioners at the Malheur County Courthouse on Wednesday, Dec. 11. Behind him is his assistant, John Braese. (The Enterprise/Joe Siess)

The taxpayers of Malheur County had better be on guard. County officials are getting more ambitious by the week in their plans to spend public money, and they are doing some of their scheming in private meetings and behind closed doors. Millions of dollars are at issue, and heightened vigilance is the best insurance the public has.

When plans for the Treasure Valley Reload Center were unveiled two years ago, the county led the public to believe: This won’t hardly cost you a dime. That’s because, with the work of then-state Rep. Cliff Bentz, the state put $26 million aside for Malheur County. That sum, the . . .