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Don’t be Fooled
A recent article in the Pioneer Press reveals a plan by the city to reorganize and lay off up to 15 city employees in an attempt to save up to $155,000, or about 2 percent of the operating budget.
The plan calls for replacing the positions with more qualified, but less expensive, employees. City officials are trying to make it look like they are exercising fiscal responsibility. Don’t be fooled.
The fact is they have raised taxes by almost 12 percent, added franchise fees and raised the sewer and water fees, all in an effort to spend over $21,000,000 on a complex which was not needed and removed $18,000 of annual tax revenue.
The 2014 city payroll by position shows how Forest Lake pays too much for a city of its size, and public safety makes up most of the budget. Hugo contracts with the Washington County Sheriff Department and is paying a third as much with little or no issues. Forest Lake has a sergeant for every four officers. I believe Anoka has about a 20-to-one ratio. Not to mention the chief, captain and lieutenant.
The plan is to act like they are cutting. Fact is they overtaxed and are now going to give us a pittance in the form of a rebate which can only be used by the city for other spending.
This sounds like musical chairs, where someone will lose their seat but those who are left will benefit. Don’t be fooled by the smoke and mirrors of our city magicians.
Ripe for Change
A blighted area in Forest Lake needs re-development.
As owners of property in downtown Forest Lake, we have offered it for sale for quite a few years. We have also tried, in as many years, to find a developer who would come in and redevelop our property, but have always been told we don’t have a big enough footprint.
There now appears to be quite a large footprint, with the closing of the shop at 115 N. Lake St., our property at 119 N. Lake St., the property at 131 N. Lake St. being for sale and 143 and 155 N. Lake St. being bank-owned.
The rear has municipal parking, a city park and swimming beach, a double boat landing and a new marina. These properties should not be forgotten and left behind; they are ready for redevelopment as the city’s best and most important asset: lake-view property.
To us, this seems a considerable footprint worthy of redevelopment. Many of these buildings are nearing or over 100 years old and have remained virtually unchanged for as long.
Forest Lake’s motto is “As good as it sounds,” however, it does not look as good as it sounds.
Dwayne & Jackie Fladland