Results of the February poll delivered to the East Gull Lake City Council confirmed that 99 percent of all affected property owners, 48 percent of whom responded, are against connecting to the central treatment facility because they already have conforming on-site systems mandated by the City in 1991. Furthermore, the mayor and councilors have consistently refused to give full and complete answers regarding costs, assessments, environmental and operational issues.
At the September meeting of the city council we sought to clarify the
wastewater project budget and followed up with four e-mails. Concerned Citizens of East Gull Lake have shown that the budget, submitted by the city to the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority to obtain financing, exceeds the proposed assessment by as much as $2.5 million. This shortfall could increase the proposed assessment of $13,100 per connection (ERC) to $21,645.
Faced with the prospect of a property owner's revolt and outright refusal to sign sewer easements, the city council is threatening condemnation proceedings together with added costs of "several thousand dollars for each property". Meanwhile, Mayor Robinson is attempting to reassure the community that the project will not go forward if "anticipated assessments (are) far in excess of the current estimates". But the present reality is just the opposite. The "current estimates" are far in excess of the "anticipated assessments".
The city council's refusal to reconcile project estimates with its proposed assessment has created doubt, loss of public support and confidence. Despite the prospect of a $2.5 million budget shortfall the Council ignores the obvious and refuses to believe that more public money must be raised to sewer the city. If not by assessment, then, (all residents please note) by a general property tax levy!
East Gull Lake
Admiration or bit of disgust
How did the full page article by Vince Meyer in Sunday's paper strike you? The huge buffalo -- wow! -- bravado, tenacious tracking. But read on the killing of eland, impala, and a zebra -- really -- was this on a game farm? I've been under the impression we are losing too many of earth's beautiful creatures. And he certainly wasn't in need of food. And then like a footnote it mentioned that the natives even didn't hunt for these animals for food so they appreciated receiving the hind quarter of the water buffalo. Wonder if his "macho image" impressed them. Perhaps Mr. Ebnet can have a museum to display his trophies and admittance fee can go the Earth's Resource Fund.
As an educational assistant working in the Brainerd school district, I was saddened to see the school board's legislative priorities reported in Tuesday's Dispatch. While we do agree health care is an important issue, apparently our respective personal contribution to the district's health plan is coloring our perception as to how best to tackle the problem.
Educational assistants, unlike the current arrangement for teachers, cooks, clerical and custodial staff, are paying for the full increase in 2002-03 premiums. For family coverage, that translates to an additional $190 a month for a total of $389 a month coming out of my paychecks this year. School board members and administrators do not make any contribution towards premiums.
My understanding is that administration would like to see all support staff shoulder more of the premium contribution, with teacher contributions steady, and administration and school board contributions at zero. As an employee who would be at the bottom end of such a caste system, I hope I misunderstood.
The pilot statewide insurance plan seems to promise some relief from spiraling health care costs down the line. I would welcome the idea of thousands of state employees pooling resources to create a more stable plan, otherwise it remains a highly contentious issue at the bargaining table.
Comparisons to the Red Wing School District are disturbing because the major issue there was health insurance. Frustration is growing as negotiations for a new contract for educational assistants and other support staff drags on with little progress. Educational assistants, cooks, clerical and custodial staff are looking for a reasonable, equitable -- heck, even compassionate -- solution to the district's health care crisis. At least in that regard, I think the entire Brainerd community would agree.
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