Residents say there are literal signs of misspent money everywhere in Pataskala.
Many residents are upset that nearly $30,000 was spent on large and ineffective signs to advertise the city’s annual paving project.
"Oh, it is outrageous! Absolutely outrageous," said resident Deb Coffel.
Coffel and a growing number of Pataskala residents say you could see the signs from a mile away, and that was only part of the problem.
At 4 feet by 8 feet, not only are the signs too big, the message is too small, she said.
Sixteen of the signs were placed in residential neighborhoods throughout the city, including Coffel's front yard, but they didn't say very much at all.
"We were all surprised by it, nobody was really thrilled. And then, of course, when it came out that the signs were $27,000, that's what became a big issue," said Coffel.
Mayor Steve Butcher says $27,000 is a lot of money for his city, and misspending taxpayer dollars is a huge issue for him.
"It was just absolutely unacceptable, and we're going to hold some people responsible for a poor decision that was made by staff," Butcher said.
The signs have been removed, and the mayor and city council have launched an investigation into why the city paid for and posted them in the first place.
For about the same amount of money, the mayor said the city could have purchased a much-needed police cruiser next year, he said. The police cruiser is now in question.
The city has permanently suspended using such signs, and officials have charged city administrator Tim Boland with explaining why and how the city purchased the signs.
"That's why I think it's so important to go back and look at this project and see, gee, how can we correct this in the future?" said Boland.
City officials plan to rework the large signs into smaller signs the street department can reuse in the future.
Until then, the only signs taxpayers like Deb Coffel are seeing are dollar signs down the drain.
Elected officials are still waiting for an official response from the city administrator, likely due in the coming weeks.
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