LTE – Scott Schone – 11-13-2013

I am in disbelief  with some of  the issues that have been brought forward to the city council in the past year – after last Thursday’s meeting with the budget hearing and acknowledging the recall election seemed to be the most of all.

 A lot of consideration goes into figuring out how to control the city’s expenses. It would be more manageable if the estimated dollars needed match the dollars we are allowed to spend. This year seemed to be the most challenging that I have been involved in, with about $50,000.00 to cut. There are just so many places that we can cut from and some places will be at minimum if not under operating costs. One is just as important as the other is, we all believe, as does Mayor Larson when he addressed it at the budget hearing. Most concerning was the cut the city gives to the library to help their operating costs. The library has built funds up and has  money saved over the past few years. It would be nice to see increases to the library budget from the city in the years to come if possible.

The purchases of new equipment to some might seem to be part of budget issues, where in fact it is just the opposite. When repairing the old equipment costs more than buying new it is the better choice to just replace them  because they will last longer and will be more cost efficient.

Snow removal! Biggest issue and concerns of city residents and people visiting or passing through. It is also one of the toughest to budget. When it snows we all want to be able to get out either to work, appointments, shopping, etc. No one can control when or how much it will snow. What is needed though is to clean the snow from our streets. The lesser the amount of snow, the easier it is to maintain our budget. Over the past few years the amount of snow we have had has eaten up and put us over the budget. With that being said, if we are overwhelmed again this year, I hope we all can be patient with the removal.

Another issue that troubles me is the recall. I have followed our city’s operating and decision making for the last 25 years. This is very easily done by talking and discussing interests and concerns with past council members and mayors. That is what they were here for and what we were elected for.

When Mayor Larson won the recall election he was left a heavy responsibility to get the city’s financials straightened out. When there was no money to pay the bills and money was not getting collected he pushed forward along with a mostly new eager council and staff and got it done!!! Not overnight, but in a very short time. This saved the taxpayers a lot of money and stress.

One important thing I have learned is that it is good to agree to disagree. “Being a city representative does not give us the right to be one sided before all the cards are on the table.” When the Dollar Store was interested in starting up in town, a lot of negativity was presented. I myself was seeing it that way. When the intentions of the store was addressed it was on a positive note. What was not positive was the cost of moving water and sewer to reroute where the store was to be at. Close to six figures or more. When residents pay water and sewer it pertains to all that lays under their city not just from your house to the street. The council and Mayor Larson agreed that the expense would not be our responsibility. Discussions with the store seemed to end abruptly before residents were informed what city was proposing.

Last is the recall. The council and mayor have been addressed numerous times about the concerns of annexing to allow frac mining. First the county waits on behalf of the city’s request though the city had no control. Mayor Larson was concerned that if we were approached, we should have our ordinance updated for the safety of Glenwood and the people who reside here. Talking to people that signed papers for the recall, they were under the impression that private meetings and deals have been made, and that Mayor Larson and council members Graese and Hover are 100 percent for the mine, which is not correct. To some that do not want the mine, it might sound and seem that way. A decision was made to table the mining issue until more information and intentions were obtained. But to this day,  Mayor Larson council members Graese and Hover are ones that taught me “YOU CAN’T BE ONE SIDED TILL ALL THE CARDS ARE ON THE TABLE”.

Scott Schone