Point: Council defends actionWe want to clarify the reason for our override of Mayor John Howe’s veto of the 2009 budget item: City Hall remodeling.
By: Red Wing City Council, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
We want to clarify the reason for our override of Mayor John Howe’s veto of the 2009 budget item: City Hall remodeling.
It is highly unlikely that any money will be spent on City hall this year.
The term “remodeling” has been a cause for confusion. Actually, we had hoped to use local businesses to improve the heating and air conditioning, as well as add insulation and repair some walls if the money was available. The first three phases of reconstruction have resulted in a 9 percent reduction in electrical KWH and a 22.4 percent decrease in natural gas therms (the comparison uses 6-06 as a baseline comparison to 6-09.)
Just because something is in the budget does not mean the money must be spent. On the other hand, if a budget item is removed, we would no longer have the ability to fund it. At some point, the City Hall improvements will need to be done to stick to Red Wing’s long-term plan to conserve energy and maintain our civic buildings.
Mayor John Howe wanted $50,000 to remodel the Mississippi National Golf Links clubhouse. We needed to cut city services that people have come to rely on — so funding to remodel a golf course clubhouse seems untimely. We did not put it in the budget. Mayor Howe vetoed the City Hall work and asked the City Council to take $50,000 from that project to remodel the golf course clubhouse.
This issue has been an example of the checks and balances provided in the Red Wing Charter. The mayor has the right to veto budget items, but he does not have the authority to add another project he prefers.
The seven of us often come to differing conclusions after hearing the same set of facts. In this instance we concurred that it made more sense to possibly put local people back to work on our historic City Hall than to renovate the golf course clubhouse.
Again, the City Hall work is unlikely to be funded, since Red Wing’s financial situation has not improved since the budget was written.
The City Council will consider the City Hall renovation on Sept. 14. We encourage everyone to contact us personally or bring your ideas to this meeting.
Lisa Pritchard Bayley
City Council members