These “Facts” confuse me….

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.

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One thought on “These “Facts” confuse me….

  1. I think we can finally put that particular lie to bed.

    Since taking office, the Three Amigos have consistently tried to sell their actions as the only possible way to save Kasson from the financial chaos brought on by the previous administrations. Their equally consistent approach of adopting the least cost-effective solution in almost every case has led to much confusion. Almost every one of their actions seems to have led to more expense than if they had just left things alone. After last night’s Council meeting, I think we can safely say that nobody believes that this is about anything financial. At least, not saving money for the citizens.

    According to the Mayor’s FACT SHEET, noticing that Kasson is $17 million in debt threatens the very fabric of Kasson society. That debt has accumulated over the last 15-20 years. In the last 2-3 months, without so much as a by-your-leave to the taxpayers, the Amigos have committed the City to another $8.5 million in debt. So much for debt threatening our way of life.

    Last January, paying our City Engineer $1.9 million over seven years and a dozen projects, meant that the engineering firm was ripping off the City and deserved to be fired at least. Last night, without even mentioning the dollar figure, the Three Amigos approved a contract that will pay their own, hand-picked City Engineer more than $500,000 over the next year. That is in addition to paying them for their regular duties. I guess the definition of “ripping off” changes.

    When faced with a choice between two qualified City Administrator candidates, the Three Amigos had an option to save $100,000 in personnel costs. After no discussion and merely by the pronouncement of the Mayor, they apparently chose to forego the savings and opted to have the citizens pay the extra money so that the Three Amigos could have an administrator that they liked. Sensing a pattern here ?

    The Amigos also voted to sell the Folkestad building. More on that in future blurbs.

    Finally, after two swings and misses at firing the Street Supervisor, it looks like the Amigos still can’t get it right. Last night, they approved hiring another lawyer for $150/hour, with no limit on the hours, to defend their actions in court. This is after they tried to fire the cheaper employee apparently in order to hold open the spot of a more expensive, retiring employee for one of their friends. Think we’ll see a report on the billings from this firm ?

    There are lots more examples and I hope to get to them eventually. For now, I think we can agree what this Council’s new direction is……backwards. It looks like they are looking back and getting even with anyone who has ever disagreed with them. Beacuse they can’t seem to think of a positive plan of their own, I think their only plan is to bash previous administrations and/or decisions.

    Their may be disagreement on what this administration will accomplish, but I think we can all agree that they won’t save anybody any money.

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