A couple of months ago Mayor Johnson handed out a sheet titled “Facts.” He explained that he wanted to put on paper why the new council was doing what they were doing. He said they need to reign in the budget and the rampant spending. I read the “Fact” sheet a few times. Things just didn’t seem to add up. So, over the last several weeks I’ve been doing some research and asking some questions. I guess I was doing what I would expect someone to do before they put out a sheet such as this. It appears the “Facts” do not add up. I’ve got several pages of notes which would cause one to wonder “What is the mayor doing with this mis-information?” At first I laughed, but then I thought to myself, “This is really disrespectful of the people who put him in office. This is not only wrong, but irresponsible.”
To give you a taste of what I have found, let’s take one or two of his “Facts” and look at them. The first one is “The City of Kasson gave Mantorville $5000 for a dog park.” Now I remembered reading something about this in the paper when it happened, but I couldn’t remember exactly how it went down. I finally tracked down someone familiar with the Park budget. The year this money was given to Mantorville, the Kasson Park Board had budgeted $15,000 for a dog park in Kasson. The plan was to build a dog park in Kasson. Yes, $15,000 was budgeted for it. Then, the Mantorville committee contacted Kasson and asked if they would like to partner with them. The answer was, “Sounds like a good plan.” Would we really need two dog parks within 4 or 5 miles of each other? So, Kasson spends $5,000 instead of $15,000. That would be a SAVINGS of $10,000. Isn’t that what the mayor was trying to get at? Why is this a bad “Fact”?
He also highlights how much was spent on the City Engineer in the last 10 years. How much has the city grown in the last 10 years? Each new development requires engineering. The 16th Street project was huge! There are several different projects and developments that could be pointed to. I guess if you don’t want to spend money on an engineer, don’t grow. However, at a recent meeting our new council approved $180,000 on engineering expenses for a short piece of road behind City Hall. So, is it okay for this new council to spend money, but previous councils shouldn’t have? I guess I’m confused by the “Facts” here.
Have you driven through Byron recently? I hate to keep comparing us to them, but it really is depressing to drive through that town and see things happening and all you hear about from Kasson is illegal meetings and committees that are put together and then disbanded. Byron is creating walking trails all through town for their citizens. Nice wide walkways and signage. It really is nice to see them doing things for their people. This is what could be if we had some leadership.