Candidate Viewpoint: Cottage Grove mayor candidate Chad MagleWe need to remember that the only money our city government gets must first be taken from the citizens at some point and time. Spending citizens’ money seems to come easy for our current mayor and council majority.
By: Chad Magle, South Washington County Bulletin
Mayor Myron Bailey and his fellow Democrats on the City Council have increased the financial burden on the citizens of Cottage Grove.
We need to remember that the only money our city government gets must first be taken from the citizens at some point and time. Spending citizens’ money seems to come easy for our current mayor and council majority:
-- Nearly $16 million for a new City Hall palace.
-- Plans are under way for a new main street in Cottage Grove — the five-mile Ravine Parkway. The city council discussed the first phase of construction, estimated to cost $21 million.
-- At the Aug. 8, 2012, council meeting they approved a resolution to post a referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot for $6.5 million general obligation bonds for the acquisition and betterment of a family aquatic center and $7 million general obligation bonds for the acquisition and betterment of an indoor/outdoor youth play center and the expansion and betterment of Hamlet Park.
This is from the September issue of Cottage Grove Reports:
“Why are these referendum questions on the November ballot?
Question 1 — Acquisition and Betterment of Family Aquatic Center ($67.5M)
Question 2 — Acquisition and Betterment of Play Center and Park ($7M)
Municipal facilities that are a “want” and not a “need” and could be seen as not being mission critical are put to a public vote to determine if it’s appropriate for city funds to be allocated to these specific construction projects. If so, a tax increase will result.”
So the question to ask is: Was the $16 million City Hall palace, in an unstable economic environment, a “want” or a “need”?
The numbers above represent a minimum of $50 million in the past two years that has been approved and/or proposed and supported by our current mayor and council majority.
Spending our way out of debt is not valid — for us or our posterity.
This spending comes in an unstable economy when citizens are struggling to live within their means—pay their bills, provide for their families—and when there was 238 Cottage Grove foreclosures in 2011 (Washington County data). How many more foreclosures will be added to this list?
Bailey’s idea of citizen involvement is wrong:
-- They demonstrated citizen involvement by denying the citizens a referendum vote on the largest project in city history.
-- They demonstrated citizen involvement by stacking the newly created 15 member city charter commission with 12 from their “tightly knit community.”
-- They demonstrated citizen involvement by limiting citizen public forum input to 3 minutes at City Council meetings.
-- They demonstrated citizen involvement by eliminating public access TV and replacing it with government access TV.
-- They demonstrated citizen involvement by denying or making it miserable to obtain public documentation. We can obtain county documents electronically in a matter of hours.
The facts are they have not governed with honesty, transparency and integrity and do not deserve to be re-elected.
I believe the citizens of Cottage Grove deserve a higher standard of honesty and transparency in their city government.
As mayor I would:
-- Eliminate the 3 minute limit on public forum at City Council meetings;
-- Restore public access TV;
-- Set an example for a higher standard of honesty and transparency.
We continue to hear from our current mayor and council members about all the wonderful things they have done for the community, how they are bringing in business, etc. The following link is from the City Website, it lists 41 Cottage Grove properties for sale or lease: http://www.growthpartnerscg.com/property_map.php
As a local business owner, I understand the issues local business faces in Cottage Grove. Please visit my website to learn more about me at www.magleformayor.com. I am asking for your vote for mayor on Nov. 6.