Counterpoint: Mayor explains vetoIt’s important for residents to understand my reasons for the veto.
By: John Howe, Red Wing, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
It’s important for residents to understand my reasons for the veto.
The city has a contractual obligation to the golf course for improvements. Initially higher, it was negotiated down to $50,000. However, $40,000 would be repaid in higher rent payments.
I felt this agreement should be honored to avoid potential litigation.
Furthermore, the council has budgeted $50,000 for the clubhouse plus an additional $47,000 for irrigation in 2010. If it was untimely in 2009, how is timely in 2010?
We must honor our agreements, otherwise the city’s reputation is at risk with possible future developers.
Many residents are unaware the legal bill concerning the rental code lawsuit is over $500,000, of which the city is responsible for over $160,000 with additional legal expense forthcoming. My goal is to limit exposure to potential future litigation expense.
When it comes to renovating City Hall, I have attended every council meeting since being elected and this is first time I have heard that the city was initiating its own stimulus package. Putting local contractors to work is great, but this never was a subject of discussion on the renovation project. Spending approximately $300,000 —with a return savings of about $1,200 a year — is not a good investment.
The city has funded many projects that are not budgeted for via the contingency fund. That is where I requested this money to be placed.
The council was aware at the time of the veto that Aid to Utility Cities was at risk; I wrote that in my veto letter. When you budget for an item, that is an intent to spend the money for that item.
In the case of the override, I believe a couple of council members thought an immediate, no-discussion override would demonstrate the ineffectiveness of a veto.
Instead, what they received was the needed input of concerned taxpayers. No matter how the council wants to justify the override of the veto and allocation of money for City Hall renovation, it is still a poor return of investment at this time.
I encourage all city residents to contact council members and share with them your perspective. Thanks in advance for your participation in the city's finances.
Red Wing mayor