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 Loss of Population continues to cause problems in area.

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PostSubject: Part Two   Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:37 am

The second criteria we need to examine are facts and what they prove.

The facts are as follows:

New York Time, Feb 6, 2009

President Obama’s economic stimulus plan includes about $1 billion to help local governments hire more police officers, which would resurrect a Clinton administration program that had been largely shelved by President George W. Bush. Feb. 5, 2009

Business Week, February 3, 2009

For example, the stimulus plan includes about $4 billion to resurrect grants that put tens of thousands of police on the streets during the 1990s but were cut under President George W. Bush.

The golf course has had a deficit of over $120,000 over the last four years.

A good economic development project begins with increasing population. Now before I begin, I am not minimizing this accomplishment. What I am saying is that what is said by experts in this area. Before obtaining a grant for economic development we need to see how the program meets the issues identified above. See above post.

These three projects do not provide a method to increase population nor do they create long term jobs. A close examination of these projects at best creates short term jobs for a narrow (small) group involved in real estate. It is short term, when the actual contracting appears.

These three projects probably meet the third criteria by increasing the value of the real estate. It is well known that improvements to existing commercial and residential real property will take years to recoup the investment by the taxpayers but there is probably some long term gain.

There are two down sides to these expenditures. When they were created there was an attempt to provide housing for those who could not afford housing.

The new focus of housing is and will continue to be the large number of people who have lost their homes. It is unknown if the federal government will continue in this direction.

One thing is for sure, the major difference between myself and this city council is that I believe you provide good paying, long term jobs and then housing. This city council believes you provide housing and the jobs will come. The whole economy has collapsed because of this flawed thinking and I propose a new direction.

I believe that these three projects would be much more successful if we focused on jobs first and then housing.
Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) – Technical Assistance .
Minnesota City Participation Program (MCPP)
Minnesota DEED Small Cities Development Program grant .

On the other hand, obtaining grants for an increase in law enforcement is a solid approach to good economic development. It would increase population because the stimulus package is intended to create jobs and by creating new jobs and increase in population you create a demand in housing. By creating a demand in housing you increase the tax revenues to the city.

Experts in rural development say that money spent in a small town circulates seven times. This means that if two full time officers are added and paid $30,000 each totaling $60,000 that expenditure will result in $420,000 plus housing to the local economy.

This would truly be an economic development project as defined above because it meets the criteria of all three in the previous post..

There is a serious problem with this approach. The very people that would be applying for this grant are not self vested and in fact have promoted an elimination of jobs and the police department.

In fact, the city administrator at the last meeting stated to the councilmen that he was unaware that the stimulus package had any provisions for police increases. In fact, a number of articles had already been written that the stimulus package was going to include a police increase provision.

This half-hearted attempt to examine the issue will result in failure. The city administrator has already proposed the elimination of the police department. He has also significantly increased the expenditures to his department in increased wages and additional traveling perks. He may promote failure of this project to prove a point.

I will deal with the golf course in part 3.
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PostSubject: Part 3   Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:40 pm

Part 3

It is clear that the golf course from a business standpoint has failed miserably. However there is something that the city has not considered.

If the golf course were sold privately this would bring additional revenue to the city because it placed the golf course on the real estate tax rolls again contributing to our schools and infrastructure.

The inability of the golf course to remain solvent because of this loss of tax dollars is close to $75,000 per year or over the last four years $300,000 if loss revenue to the city.

The golf course needs to change and perhaps when the city is $150,000 under-budgeted next year it will have to be sold. If Mr. Oakes and Mr. Arndt had their way and the police department, streets and part-time help removed the only alternative will be cut the golf course.

HaS anyone considered the conflict of interest parties have by pointing fingers at other departments. Perhaps the over-exaggerations of the accomplishments are another way the other side is pointing the fingers at other departments.

If you follow the reasoning of Mr. Lang which is, grants are making the city money. Do not cut the profit. Then is position becomes inconsistent. The golf course is a lot less profitable than the police department, why are you not consistent in your positions. Perhaps it is the real conflicts of interest that abound in the city clerks office and the additional staff who he has been forced to hire because it takes three to get the same job done as Ms. Grossman did with one.
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PostSubject: Is the loss of the court administration in Ortonville foreshadowing the future of Milbank.   Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:41 pm

Is the loss of the court administration in Ortonville foreshadowing the future of Milbank?

A few years ago in Washington D.C. rural leaders from across the nation testified about the decreasing population in rural areas. The testimony is recorded but the final analysis was that decreasing population would gradually cause a deterioration of our small businesses. This would cause a loss of income to our educational system which would decrease jobs.

Ortonville did not respond because of poor leadership and when they did the leadership advocated the elimination of more jobs.

The enemy is population declines and the answer is how do we produce jobs. I have always been more impressed with the policies of Milbank and Grant County.

We must be diligent and learn from those around us. We must learn from the mistakes of others to promote a better area to do business and raise our families.

We can make a difference but doing nothing will result in continuing degradation of our rural communities.
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PostSubject: Minnesota may have some answers to declining populations that we can use in Grant County   Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:32 pm

Small farm numbers on the rise. In MN any farm operation that sells $1,000 of ag a year is considered a farm.

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PostSubject: look at the ag census info   Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:15 pm

Take a look at the ag census data for yourself, don't take my word for it. Minnesota sure has detailed county data.

When I looked at the ag census 2002 to 2007 the income of farms in the smallest category dropped by a large percentage, by half in some counties. The farm income of farm operators of farms in the largest categories rose significantly. So the small farms from 2002 to 2007: the same size and lower income. The larger farms same size, higher income.

I think we need large farms and small farms and medium size farms. But how do you fight the dropping income?

What can we do to make small farms function? You can always find small farms that are successful but the census numbers are real and the average farm income of operators must mean something. I think we need large farms and small farms. Maybe we need off farm jobs in order for small farm households to make ends meet. Farming is often seasonal and a winter off farm job, if available, would be very helpful.

Incidentally the number of horse farms in Minnesota fell substantially from 2002 to 2007 so it isn't reasonable to assume that a horse barn and an SUV on every lawn is supporting the Minnesota farm numbers. ( I have a horse farm and it is small and it is real) The average size of a Minnesota farm decreased, partly because the amount of land in farms decreased and also because there was a gain in the very smallest farm size categorey, as noted in the previous post. Small farm income dropped by so much, why did that happen?
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PostSubject: We need our family farms   Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:31 pm

I thought your post was very well enunciated and to a degree I agree with you. However, part of the problem lies in these statistics. Most statistics look at net income, after the payment of expenses. It is very obvious that most family farms have greater expenses.

This is where we need to be creative. How do we cut down the expenses for family farmers so that they have greater incomes?

Second, family farmers have the ability to defer income so that their income may be minimized. In other words, the taxable event is the sale of crop or livestock. If you wait until January 1 the income is taxable in the next year.

This means that statistically we may not have accurate statistics.

I think one thing we must remember is that over 1/2 of the jobs are created by small businesses. Does this include or exclude farming?

Farming is a risky business and when a large farm goes down, just like a large insurance company goes down, there are serious long terms consequences for society. The loss of four family farms would not have the same impact as the loss of one super-farm.

That coupled with the effect of decreasing population and the deterioration of small downtown businesses and a deterioration of our schools is a good reason to promote family farms.

However when we cannot meet the needs of businesses in agri-business because of a lack of family farms, we need to promote larger farms to meet this need.

We need to work together in this area.
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