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 Is Mayor Johnson wasting taxpayer money?

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PostSubject: Is Mayor Johnson wasting taxpayer money?   Tue Jul 15, 2008 11:41 am

Once again we see the mayor spending well earned dollars not on our children but ourselves and then the mayor wades through a narcisstic line of reasoning by claiming that the spending helps me therefore it must help the people of Ortonville. For further information click on Gallery, Ortonville.


Last edited by mouthpiece on Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Is Mayor Johnson wasting taxpayer money?   Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:16 pm


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PostSubject: Re: Is Mayor Johnson wasting taxpayer money?   Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:37 pm

The mayor missed the point when concerns regarding sending money from the Sanitary Fund to the golf course were expressed. The point is that it seems patently wrong to take money that has been collected from users for an express purpose...in this case, maintenance and upkeep of our sanitary system...and use it elsewhere. In his reponse he pointed out that the city has a history of subsidizing other activities, such as the library, senior citizen center, pool, etc. That was a misleading response. The fact is that money for the operation of the library comes directly from a tax levy that is placed on Ortonville's taxpayers each year. In the past, the other entities have received support from the General Fund, which is more discretionary in how it's used. It is difficult to equate the needs of our swimming pool, parks, and senior center with that of the golf course. It's been proven in the recent past that the golf course can be self-supportive, and that needs to continue. The mayor's comment in his response that he would "...not be living in Ortonville..." without the golf course tells us that his decision in this matter is very self-serving.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Mayor Johnson wasting taxpayer money?   Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:27 am

As you can see by my letter, I feel that tourism and getting people to move to our town for retirement, etc are an important part of our cities responsibility. We spend money on lots of things that help bring people to our town - swimming pool, parks, airport, senior citizen center, police protection, and golf. All of these are important for our city. To overlook golf as an attraction to our city is a great disservice to our citizens.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Mayor Johnson wasting taxpayer money?   Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:34 pm

Bringing in industry/business should also play a role in trying to make our communities grow. Creating and keeping jobs should be just as important as promoting tourism.

One should be able to help to other.

Getting people to 'retire' here is just one item in the big picture, but we need something to keep the young families in the area.

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PostSubject: Re: Is Mayor Johnson wasting taxpayer money?   Fri Sep 05, 2008 8:34 am

I agree with nascargirl. Having a thriving business community which provides jobs for people is very necessary to keep a community alive. I alarms me to see another business put up a "For Sale" sign on main street. I try to buy locally but more and more the options are dwindling and I find I have to drive elsewhere to buy the things I need.

I don't understand why Milbank, which I understand has about the same population base as Ortonville, has so many more stores to shop in than Ortonville.

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PostSubject: We are on the same page   Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:34 am

As we read the position of all it is apparent that the Mayor has put all of his eggs in the same basket. He is constantly promoting a long-shot (tourism), fishing golfing as economic development.

If he takes the money necessary for infra-structure to have sewer and water for new industry, where is the money?

If it takes money for communications for new industry, where is the money?

If it takes money for roads and police protection, where is the money?

My position on the waterpark was to make a point. We are spending money on our children's future and the future of the community without a long-term plan!

Perhaps the nickname of this mayor should be bottomless Blair! The mayor as a political person needs to be held accountable for his bottomless approach to the budget and we as taxpayers need to hold him accountable.

He said housing was a great investment (Lundell). The mayor is an accountant. How much money after expenses will these new houses account for in the next five years? Ten Years?

Is the city really profiting by such an adventure or is there greedy self interests that will make more money?

We need to protect our infra-structure! Is this mayor doing that?
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PostSubject: So, what IS the next step?   Sat Sep 06, 2008 9:53 pm

So what are the long range plans for business/industry into the area? Maybe Mayor Blair can comment on that subject at some point.

Lady Hawk brings a valid point. We have the basics - great medical facilities, grocery stores, gas, post office, lumber yard, hardware stores, drug stores, thrift stores, etc. If you want to buy new clothing/shoes, you have to shop out of town, order it from Penney's catalog, or buy on the internet.

Gone are the days of several clothing stores in town and more than two places to have coffee.

There has to be something that the citizens can do, but what? And I don't blame anyone for this...it's the way MANY small cities are going. But it can't be too late to do something...just 'what' is that?
Question We all have to take responsibility in this.

One thing I do know, name-calling isn't going to solve anything. Please show the same respect that you want to be shown. This is a great place for discussion and it gets heated, but we can still treat people with respect.

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PostSubject: Has bottomless Mayor exceeded his authority?   Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:12 am

Are you missing the point? All public authorities must act within the realm of the law. The mayor completely avoided the issue of his legal authority and it has been over a week since the post. Perhaps he is now checking on the ability to move money around like a casino. Maybe the next time he should check before he moves the money. I hope he is within the law. In the future it would serve the public better to find out before.

Or is he supporting the ends justifies the means theories?

The other purpose of this cite is to act as a check on government. Hasn't that always been the role of the press? Isn't this another form of the press?

It is not name calling to call a Mayor spendy or frugal. This is merely using adjectives to describe poor or good practices. Do you recall the governor referred to as Spendy Wendy?
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PostSubject: Where is the mayor?   Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:09 pm

On September 2, 2008 the city council voted for a Comprehensive Plan. The plan clearly demonstrates that our mayor is not putting the money where is mouth is: Here are excerpts from the plan: Sad

responsible government, participatory citizenship
The City of Ortonville values and preserves the beauty of its natural and architectural resources.
Vibrant Downtown. Allow for a mix of residential, office and commercial uses within Ortonville’s downtown area to create a vibrant city center that, reduces reliance on the automobile, and provides appropriate housing opportunities. Continue to promote downtown Ortonville as an important retail center.This does not make sense. How does housing create a vibrant downtown?

Promote quality industrial development that is compatible with the environment and which do not negatively impact the city’s infrastructure system
Livable Wage. Promote industrial development that pays employees a livable wage. How does the constant moving of money to tourism create an increase in average wage. Aren't most tourism jobs minimum wage?

Infrastructure. Continue to upgrade infrastructure such as streets, water and sewer in existing neighborhoods as needed. How did moving the money from curb and gutter to the golf course promote this goal?

1O.Changing Needs. Consider the changing housing needs of the growing community and review residential housing land areas to accommodate the changing needs and demands. How did the purchase of Lundell and the age of our community consider the change in the need of housing? The age of Ortonville is increasing? How can building new homes for the elderly be a good investment? We need education and jobs not houses!
How did the purchase of Lundell and the age of our community
consider the change in the need of housing?

However, for an increasing number, quality of life is an important factor in their decision to relocate.As well as good schools, affordable housing, economic opportunities, clean air and water and low crime, a sense of community is increasingly a key factor. How did reducing the police budget promote the need of the public?

This indicates that housing may be keeping up with population, but the types of housing that are being built may not be what residents need.Stormwater Infrastructure Inventory. Complete a detailed inventory of stormwater infrastructure along with other information to develop a hydrologic flow model for management purposes.How did the moving of the money to the golf course promote this goal?

The need to provide livable wage jobs for current and future residents.

The importance of the retirement and health care industries as economic development opportunities for the region.
The need to encourage the development of long-term employment opportunities for community residents so that young people can remain in the community.
• The importance of tourism to the sustainability of the regional economy.
• The importance of “downtown” Ortonville as a commercial center.
• The potential impacts and opportunities to economic growth associated with the proposed Big Stone II. Note the emphasis is not tourism, tourism, tourism, it is much different and nascar points is well taken.
Education is a real problem with our educational level well below the state average
Our unemployment is higher than the state and federal average
Our average wages is almost 10.00 per hour less than the state average

Ortonville zoning rules prevent growth. Six zones for little Ortonville. We need to promote business not regulate the little business we have.

The plan lacks how to promote business in Ortonville.

These are elected officials and the voters need to hold these politicians accountable. I have heard for 28 years from the voters that the city is not listening to its voters. The above post is good evidence that this city council is not listening to the voters. The plan was created by a group of concerned citizens the policies I have highlighted were by-products of poor listening skills.

This city will continue to stagnant downtown with this course of conduct.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Mayor Johnson wasting taxpayer money?   Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:32 am

I will be checking back here from time to time but I am a busy person, we have been working on the budget, so I don't have time to check in every day. To answer some of the questions -

Tourism is needed to help bring people to our community so they can see what attributes we have. These tourists become potential retirees to our area as well as possible business owners. Some people who have come here as tourists fell in love with our town and have opened businesses here.

Golf is not just about tourism, it is also about retirement opportunities. I have talked to several retiriees who would not have retired to Ortonville if we didn't have the golf course. Retirement is a form of economic development because they bring an "income" that gets spent and recirculated in Ortonville.

I just came back from a seminar called "Leading by Example" . One of the speakers was Rich Karlgaard, who is a publisher of Forbes magazine, and he said chasing smokestacks is not an effective way of getting economic development in communities. He said to develop the local entrepeneurs to get business started. I would love to get new business and industry in our town and we are working on several possibilities at this time. However, all small towns are working on trying to get these same people to their towns. I feel really good that despite loosing Pamida, which was a big blow to our town, that we have five new businesses open now or opening soon - Snortums Nursery, Lakesview Lodge, Hardware Hank, Subway, and the new fitness center. We have also been trying to talk Loopys Dollar Store and/or Deubers Variety store to come to town to replace Pamida. We also spent a lot of time trying to get Pamida to open a new bigger store in Ortonville. We have also been working trying to get a seed distribution company to move into our industrial park.

As far as infrastructure goes, I have been in favor of doing major street, water and sewer improvements and we did put $1.3 million in the 2009 budget to do street improvements. We have done two major sewer projects along Lakeshore Drive and at the Hilltop area. This year we are doing a water project at the peninsula. So we are spending lots of money on infrastructure as it is needed. I personally feel that to save up money, as we have done in the past to pay for improvements, are taxing the current taxpayers for improvements that they may not use. I would rather bond and have the taxpayers that will be using the improvement pay the bond payments out of their taxes.

The legality of transfers money out of enterprise funds has been used by many cities and our city also for many years. There is not a legal problem with using enterprise fund money.

The last item I want to mention is that we need people to have business. Retail stores. medical facilities, and service businesses can not make money if there are no residents to buy their goods and services. DCC Solutions, for example, brought their business to our town and currently have around 50 employees but have trouble getting employees. If we had more residents that would help bring business. The problem is that we can't get residents without places for them to work. Kind of like the chicken and the egg!

We will keep working on keeping our community a good place to live and to work.
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PostSubject: Answer our questions not just the questions that are easy!   Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:11 pm

The city planned and created goals. Within hours of attempting to reach these goals the council in almost a polar opposite direction minimized the importance of the goals.

It is becoming apparent that your administration is full of nepotism and favoritism.

You named businesses in your last blog. How many of these are clients of yours? Is the reason the Ortonville Independent is noticeably quiet in this nepotism because they are cleints of yours?

Answer the hard questions:
1. How does creating housing that is not needed assist in the creation of a vibrant downtown? Perhaps one of your clients profits from a healthy housing market. Do you have a conflict of interests?

2. How does increasing tourism increase the average per hour rate of pay?

3. How did moving the money, you did not borrow the money, out of the street fund into the golf course promote street infrastructure?

4. How did the purchase of Lundell and the age of our community consider the change in the need of housing? The age of Ortonville is increasing? How can building new homes for the elderly be a good investment? We need education and jobs not houses! Again, does one of your clients financially gain at the costs of the taxpayers?

5. How did the purchase of Lundell and the age of our community
consider the change in the need of housing?

6. How did reducing the police budget promote the need of reducing crime?

We need to promote the goals of the community without regard to individual gain. We need change!
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PostSubject: Re: Is Mayor Johnson wasting taxpayer money?   Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:37 am

Mouthpiece has a very negative attitude. Our city in the past has been plaqued with negative attitude and that is part of what I am trying to change. Questioning government is a good idea to make sure things are going properly, but to do it in such a negative way doesn't accomplish anything and just creates bad feelings in the community. It is knid of interesting to see that when I look at the members of this forum, the only member who does not have their name listed is mouthpiece. It is easy to critize being anonymous and not offering any solutions only complaints.

To answer your questions though - only one of the new businesses I mentioned in my previous post is a client of mine. There is no nepotism in our government.

You state that housing is not needed. It is. The reason housing and retirement people are necessary to keep our downtown and all other businesses including the hospital, clinic, restaurants, gas stations etc. is because without residents and tourists to shop at our businesses there would be no business. Housing is a very important part of economic development. If you knew anything about economic development you would understand this. Our EDA is also currently working on daycare as an important part of economic development. You can have lots of jobs for people but if they can't find daycare they can not work.

No one ever said tourism increased per hour pay rate. All business, whether tourism, service, retail, or whatever, will increase the demand for employees and that is what drives hourly rates higher. In fact at the seminar I went to last Monday, we found out that the McDonalds in Williston ND is paying $15 per hour for their employees because of the high demand for workers in that area because of the oil fields.

Moving money from the street to golf does not promote street improvements. The money we budgeted for street improvements promote street improvements. This year we budgeted a $1.3 million dollar street project. The money to the golf course had to come from somewhere. We could budget money for golf, street, or anything else and that money comes from taxes and other receipts. It all comes out of the same pocket. The council just determines where that money is needed and allocates the resources to those categories. The council did determine that the $35,000 was important and needed to be a expenditure.

We purchased the Lundell property because we felt there was a need for more housing. The EDA built the Fairway View Senior Living Facility and it is full and there is a long waiting list for independent living. This tells us that there is a demand for such housing. By purchasing this land near the Fairway View building we can keep expanding as needed in the future. Our council was looking to the future and not stuck on the past. Fairway View is making money so it is a feasible undertaking. We are almosat finished with a housing study that will help determine what kinds of housing is needed in our community. Th results of that study will be disseminated to the community when it is complete. You also asked if my clients will make money off the new residents and construction and my answer is I certainly hope so. The reason we are trying to get people and businesses to our community is so that our residents can make money and continue to live here.

As far as the police cuts are concerned we have discussed this many times in the past. It does not help to be stuck in the past. Our city was paying a lot higher than average cost for other cities our size so we hired a consultant to look into what to do and he recommended we cut down to 8 hours per day from the current 20 hours per day we were doing at that time. We thought that was too little so we cut back to 16 hours per day. It saved the city considerable money and I have not seen an increase in crime since that happened. So it appears to me that this savings was a good idea.
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PostSubject: Answer the question   Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:06 am

Is the Ortonville Independent a client of yours?

Is Jim Larson a client of yours?

Exposing corruption is not negativism!

Mayor, you have backed a plan of growth by eliminating a high paying job, (a police officer) and replaced it with a tourism expenditure. I would like to know what part of the 2008 growth plan deals with such ideas of promoting economic growth? What course on economic growth did you take that would recommend such an approach?

May I boldly suggest that in my negativism I have promoted a water park, an indoor ice arena and a law enforcement center.

The jobs that would be created by such an expansion well exceed the jobs created to date. Just the law enforcement center would create additional jobs. The only negative thinker is you! Perhaps tunnel vision is a better term. In case you have not been watching the news, housing growth is over.

What specific courses have you taken in Economic Development?
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PostSubject: What ever happened t to civility part 2?   Sat Sep 20, 2008 12:24 pm

whistle

This discussion is lively. To say the least. Shocked

In any community there are issues to discuss and people who want to discuss them. There are also ways to discuss them. There is an old expression that nothing changes. When one looks back at the founding of our nation things were pretty hot then too. John Adams was called a trouble maker and yet he went on to become the first Vice President of the USA and its second President. Wink

Let's remember that civility should rule in discussions. While I don't agree with some peoples way of asking questions I also don't agree with others who answer those questions by making belittling and disparaging remarks about the person in reply. Asking and answering questions should be respectful. It is the person who becomes emotional who loses. Rolling Eyes

This is a learning curve for all of us. Discussion is good for a community. It will be good to keep our communication channels open and stay with the facts. Then everyone will benefit. applause

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PostSubject: Re: Is Mayor Johnson wasting taxpayer money?   Tue Sep 23, 2008 3:59 pm

I live outside of Ortonville but I have family that lives in town. I currently drive an hour to get to work because there are no jobs here. I don't have a fancy degree because my family couldn't afford college.

I agree that Ortonville needs tourism to bring people here. They also need businesses and jobs to keep them here. A number of businesses were mentioned that are now in Ortonville or will be coming soon. Just how many jobs are these businesses going to create? Will they be part time or full time? For example, how many local people were hired by Snortums? Will they have jobs this winter? We need businesses that are capable of hiring more than 5 or 10 people. I know lots of people that would rather work in a local business and not have to commute to Milbank or beyond, myself included. It gets to be a rather long day when you've driven an hour to work and then worked 8 or more hours, then have to drive another hour to get home.

I don't agree that we need to promote this area as a retirement community. Retirees most likely live on fixed incomes so how much money are they really putting into the community?
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PostSubject: Re: Is Mayor Johnson wasting taxpayer money?   Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:33 am

I have attended several economic development seminars and they all say it is better to get lots of smaller businesses hiring people then one big one because if the big one fails it creates economic disaster. It would be much better to have 10 businesses hiring 10 people each for 100 employees versus one hiring 100 people.

That doesn't mean we aren't trying to get big business in here. We had discussions last year with a comany that wanted to locate a storage and research facility here that would have hired several large apying jobs. We are still hoping to get that business here. It is extremely hard to get big business here considering we are right accross the border from South Dakota which has a better tax climate than Minnesota. The seminar that I was at 2 weeks ago said that "chasing smokestacks" has basically been done away with as an economic development tool.

Retired people on fixed income do create jobs. There income may be fixed but a lot of times it is fixed fairly high. Lots of retirment people have lots of disposable income and these expenditures create jobs by catering to the needs of the seniors.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Mayor Johnson wasting taxpayer money?   Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:20 pm

scratch
You said, "It is extremely hard to get big business here considering we are right accross the border from South Dakota which has a better tax climate than Minnesota."

I don't understand why it would be a problem for South Dakota to have a better tax climate.

If a company was to come to Big Stone City and could hire 10, 20, 50 or more people then the citizens in MN would also benefit because people in Ortonville could find work close to home. There may be a socio-political line between the two cities but that is no reason for the citizens of the two towns to think of themselves as anything but part of the same community.

As John F. Kennedy said, "A rising tide raises all ships."

I would think that the better tax climate in SD could be used to draw business here. Perhaps the people involved in trying to bring in new businesses to the area in Ortonville and Big Stone City should work together to bring about the economic growth for everyone. applause

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PostSubject: Re: Is Mayor Johnson wasting taxpayer money?   Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:52 am

You are right that business in Big Stone City helps Ortonville. In fact any business in the area helps. There are several people who live in Ortonville that work at the Appleton prison. The prison had a nice economic impact on our region. Milbank business helps Ortonville also. We do need to work together, however, the EDA can only help business in the city limits of Ortonville. This is a state law. There have been several businesses right outside the city limits who we could not help even though we wanted to. That is why Big Stone Area Growth is around, so they can help businesses that are not in the city limits as well as those in the city limits in Big Stone County. Again, the funding BSAG receives comes from the county as well as cities in the county.

The good thing is that Grant County Development is a very active organization that does a great job in bringing economic development to Big Stone and Milbank so that does help our community as well.
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PostSubject: A few nice questions.   Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:05 pm

A few nice questions. In the past when I have disagreed with your spending proposal you and Ms. Oakes have accused me of being negative.

One of the purposes of this forum is to question and debate issues so that we can grow in an appropriate fashion. The mere fact I do not put on a Happy face as you continue to evade the subject does not mean I am negative. It means I disagree. If there has been one consistent problem with Ortonville for almost the full 30 years I have been here is if you do not agree with the establishment you are labeled as a negative person. The community needs to be more open and look at issues instead of pretending we are doing well.

First you claimed that in many of your seminars you are taught that housing stimulates growth on main street. I have taken Master level courses on economic growth and never seen such a claim. What expert do you rely upon? What materials do you have to support such a claim?

The Comprehensive Plan signed by you a month ago did not say there is a shortage of housing at any level. What information have you received showing that housing is in short supply for elderly?

The Ortonville OAHS is a sign of economic growth but your predecessor was in large part responsible for this growth. The question on this purchase of land is, what came first, a great medical facility and then a need for housing or vice versa?

In light of the complete economic collapse in the housing field, how can you justify further expenditures in housing? Wouldn't a better way to approach this be make sure we have federal and state funding and then put our money in the project? Or is it being financed with private money?
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PostSubject: New toys for the Mayor and the City Clerk   Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:04 pm

At the city council meeting yesterday new business was discussed regarding a software program to speed up entering payments, a fold, insert, and seal postage machine, and accepting credit cards for payments. money

I'll start this post off with comments made my Mr. David Dinnel during the Citizens to be Heard portion of the meeting.

David Dinnel's comments at the city council meeting 06/15/09 wrote:
The council has on tonight's agenda requests to purchase a number of items for the City Office. Some of the rationale one ususlly hears for buying new equipment is that it is needed to accomplish new tasks placed upon a staff, or to reduce the size of staff...since these may be labor saving devices, or because staff is either not large or proficient enough to adequately perform currently assigned duties, or so that staff can complete assigned duties with a higher degree of accuracy. Because I have been asked a number of times whatever happened to the Automatic Meter Reading system the city began to insall a number of years back, which was purchased for good reasons and at a considerable amount of money, maybe someone on the council can go on record and tell me...and others...why it appears that the City's investment has been for naught and the AMR has not been activated. It will also be of interest to listen to the logic for these news purchases, especially when the city is being faced with LGA cuts, not only this year but in the coming two or three years. Thank you.

As Mr. Dinnel pointed out the arguments for purchasing the new equipment was for labor saving devices. The office staff has to enter all payments manually and the new software program would save time by having a bar code on each bill so when the payment came in the staff would only have to scan it and enter the amount. City Administrator David Lang was very strong about how he neede to free up the time of his staff because of the new requirements of Bright Lights Idea and other things that the staff will have to do. He said that the staff has many more things that they need to do with all these new requirements and their time is needed elsewhere rather than inputing the payments manually.

I wonder how much time it really would save? Did anyone time how long it takes to enter a payment by the clerk and figure the hourly wage she made and come up with the actual dollar figure of how much time and money you would save by this new program? On Computer

The discussion got livelier when they came to The fold, insert, & seal postage machine. City Administrator David Lang was very much in favor of this machine purchase. His biggest argument for it was that now they could make newsletters to send out to the public with the bills. He said they could keep the public informed about what the city is doing as well as other city agencies could use it like the police department, fire department, and the OAHS. doctor He said the city needed to keep the public informed. Really? Is that the job of the city? In some countries people call that propaganda when the government is the press.

What about the local newspaper, the radio, and now the internet news? Does Mr. Lang feel that the press is not doing it's job? The newspaper to my knowledge prints whatever the city gives it. The radio has always made itself avaliable to the information that the city tells them. Now we even have a local internet news service who has repeatedly made the city aware that they can access it at any time to give out their information. Evidently the free press isn't enough for Mayor Blair Johnson and Mr. David Lang. Now they want their own press. paper

At one point Mr. Lang stated to the owner of the local newspaper, who happened to be sitting behind him at the time, that it was nothing personal but not everyone gets the paper, and some people who get the paper don't read it, but with this new postage machine they will be able to send out newsletters to everyone. Really Mr. Lang? Just because you send a newsletter doesn't mean everyone will read it as you yourself just pointed out about the newspaper. Not everyone who buys it reads it. I myself have for years been getting newsletters in my bills and have never read them. They always end up in the trash. What makes you think that anyone will read your newsletter?

The question must be asked. What exactly do you need to tell the people? It isn't enough to see a new toy and say "I want it" and then try to make up excuses why you should get it. Was there a need to reach the public before you saw the machine? In what way is the local media not doing their job so that you now have to become your own press?

Mr. Dinnel at one point was allowed to have the floor and he made the point that should have stopped everyone in their tracks. He pointed out that a newsletter is a HUGE commitment. There are a lot of man hours in putting together a newsletter and they need to consider that before they make such a purchase. I agree with Mr. Dinnel.

I wonder where Mr. Lang will find the staff to do that. He had already stated that his staff is overworked and they needed the new software program so that it could free up time for other things that needed to be done. This makes no sense at all. First you buy a program to to save time and then you make a commitment to spend more time putting out a newsletter that isn't even part of the job you are supposed to be doing? Mr. Lang responded to Mr. Dinnel that the police could give him some info and the fire department fireman and the OAHS. Now will those departments all have to add more work to their staff so Mayor Blair Johnson and Mr. Lang can have their new toy? Ai-Yi-Yi.

The new contract for the postage meter will be up in September and the decision will be made before then. In the meantime they will have a demonstration at the next city council meeting to show everyone how it works. I am sure it will be impressive. The question is....do you need it? Again Mr. Lang talked about the need to save staff time. At this point New interim Police Chief policeman Gary Dinnel spoke and what he had to say was profound.

The Chief respectfully pointed out that the police department has only one part-time secretary who is very busy still typing everything on a typewriter and she is so far behind that she is still doing the filing from last November. Hmmmmmmm. I'll try to hold my tongue here. Why is it that the Mayor and David Lang can cut back the secretary to the police to below minimum function and at the same time hire all the help they want with all the fancy programs and toys? The police department is understaffed. One could almost get the impression that the Mayor and City Clerk don't care about the police staff shortage just so long as they get their new toys.

For too long the police policeman department has had the short end of the stick and the city continues to cut and cut. If they were allowed to, one could wonder if they would cut it adrift if they could.

The final new toy acquisition was using credit cards for payments. Here again I find the logic faulty. Mr. Lang's main point was that using credit cards would reduce the city's deliquent accounts. Thereby adding savings in (the all to precious) staff time doing pink slips and collections. Mr. Lang brings the word fallacy to new heights! bang head If people are having a hard time making payments then what makes you think that credit cards would help? If they are behind in there utilites then what makes you think they wouldn't be behind in their credit card payments as well? That is a pie in the sky idea if I ever saw one.

Along with this NOT eliminating delinquincies it would add a cost to the city. If you use credit cards then you have to pay a percentage to the credit card company. The council couldn't decide if it would be better to eat the percentage loss or go as Mr. Lang suggested that they could also split the cost with the consumer. So now Mayor Blair Johnson and Mr. Lang have no problem spending money on their new toy even though it will be a long term financal cost to the public. Oh boy

It really makes one wonder as they sit in the Ortonville City Council meeting if these people really care for the public they are supposed to be responsible for. No

_________________

Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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minngirl
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PostSubject: Re: Is Mayor Johnson wasting taxpayer money?   Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:26 am

This is all really amazing. Makes me want to go to the council meetings just to watch the show!
Just a few questions... when Char Grossman resigned, didn't they hire
more staff to do the job she had always done alone? With added staff,
why are they overworked? Maybe they need a seminar to learn to be more
efficient at their jobs. Sorry to sound nasty, but come on.
With these fancy machines, you also have to have someone feed them and
make sure they are printing correctly. so instead of paying someone to
do the actual work, you are paying them to stand and babysit a machine?

Maybe the money would be better spent updating the police dept equipment where it seems to be needed more.

I also agree with previous comments regarding a newsletter. they are
very time consuming putting together and most people just throw them
away without reading. I know I do.

One more thing I really need to add. I am still upset about the
comments made on this forum about the "Non Ortonville" residents have
nothing to do with what goes on in Ortonville.
I have made a list of business that would be affected if I chose to go to Milbank or another city for services.
OAHS
Northside Clinic
Big Stone Therapies
Bill's Supervalue
Lieb Drug
Carlson Drug
Okaye's
Heritage Printing
Hardware Hank
Pizza Ranch
Radio Shack
Headwaters
Ortonville Flower Shop
Hilltop Cafe
Matador Supper Club
Ortonville Liquor Store
Cenex
Holiday
Just to name a few..
What would happen if all of the "Non Ortonville" residents stopped using these businesses?
Something to think about.
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Lady Hawk
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PostSubject: New postage machine for Ortonville   Tue Jul 07, 2009 1:40 pm

At the Ortonville City Council meeting last night the council voted 4 to 3 in favor of the new postage machine and the new sorting machine. These new toys for Mr. Lang and Mayor Blair Johnson will cost the citizens of Ortonville the tidy sum of $11,825.00 money

Mind you that the secretary for the police department is still typing on a typewriter and is filing from last November.

Mayor Blair Johnson, Nick Anderson, Craig Randelman, and the newly appointed Bill Powell all voted in favor of this new lease.

What was most astonishing in this vote is that none of the people voting for the lease seemed in the least bothered by the fact that Mr. Lang did not do any shopping comparisons. Basically Mr. Lang brought before the council the machines he wanted and expected the council to rubber stamp it.

When Steve Berkner asked how much it cost to mail the utility bills now Mr. Lang had to make guesstimates off the top of his head. He had no data to show them. When asked how much it would cost to use an 8x11 piece of paper for the bills and a stamp they could only shrug it off as not being much different.

Do remember people, that right now the city pays about .18 cents to mail those post cards. Now they will have to pay .44 cents per envelope. Nick Anderson, David Lang, and Blair Johnson all kept tossing out hypothetical figures about what it cost for the postcards and about what it would cost for the statments and the envelopes. One wonders why they didn't take the time to find out the exact figures so that they could speak with authority as to which one was the best option.

Any reasonable person would go out and shop for the best buy and have at least two options to choose from. Not Mr. Lang. That might be risky. Not only did he not offer the City Council another choice but he didn't even have data on the present lease. When asked by Mr. Berkner what the cost of keeping the current postage machine was Mr. Lang replied that the cost was comparble. (That is a dollar figure? Comparable?) Nick Anderson stated numerous times that the postage machines were a "wash." How would he know? Did he have the figures that Steve Berkner didn't? How could Nick Anderson know that the two machines were a wash if Steve Berkner didn't? Did Nick Anderson have information in his packet that Steve Berkner didn't?

I am inclined to wonder if Mr. Anderson wasn't to far off when he talked about a "wash", which appeared to have less to do with the postage machine and more to do with intelligence.

_________________

Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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Zorro
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PostSubject: Re: Is Mayor Johnson wasting taxpayer money?   Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:48 pm

You expect RESEARCH? Why would anyone start that now? It's been going so well for them without it....

Honestly, how long does it take to put together minimal responsible facts and comparison figures for the postage/mailing situation you describe? I know a sixth grader who could do a terrific job in about an hour.

I sm usually a very calm person, but these shenanigans are really starting to annoy.

But I will end on a positive note -- Did you hear about the new pirate movie just released? It's rated ARRRGGH...
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LittleDeb
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PostSubject: Re: Is Mayor Johnson wasting taxpayer money?   Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:56 am

Please, let me understand this correctly:

1. This machine is only a lease--not buying it, which means there is no resellable abilities to recoup.

2. With all the people who are either being laid off/cut in hours in the area, no one or a business was offered to do this job for possible less money?

3. So now, for the city residents its going to cost them 44 cents to mail their bill instead of 18 cents all because someone had an idea that it would be nice to send a newsletter of whats happening in the city--isn't there a newspaper, radio station, or tv access channel that could publish this news--what is the media for? Wouldn't this help out those media businesses?

4. Where is the money to "lease" this machine going to come from? Are the city residents going to see another increase in their bill after all the increases they had already?

Okay, I am sooo lost here. First, this council, mayor, city clerk want to get rid of the police department (another whole forum) because of lack of money but yet there's money to "lease" this machine to bill 1,980 residents. (Makes me wonder what the city was doing before when the population of Ortonville was alot higher.)
2007 population: http://www.city-data.com/city/Ortonville-Minnesota.html
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