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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

4.18 mill cut in GF most likely

Grand Forks City Council President Hal Gershman said today that he's probably on the losing side of the vote to cut the property tax rate by 6.5 mills. The mayor and four council members prefer a 4.18 mill cut. A major difference being that 2.5 mill cut to the dike fund, as discussed here.

Council members Eliot Glassheim and Bob Brooks have both favored cutting the city's debt early rather than cutting property taxes by just 2.5 mills.

Council member Doug Christensen said he's not agonizing over the 2.5 mills because he's got bigger fish to fry when it comes to the budget. We'll get to that in a moment.

Council member Art Bakken feels the same way Eliot and Bob does. He's a professed fiscal conservative, but he's taking the fiscal prudence approach this time -- as in don't dawdle around when you've got heavy debt to pay.

Council member Curt Kreun feels as Hal does, which is that the tax relief is needed now not in 2014, the earliest the dikes will be paid off. Only Council member Mike McNamara has not weighed in. He's still in Iraq.

Back to Doug's big fish. Hal's frying the same fish, too.

They've got some questions about the administration's spending priorities. Doug accused finance director John Schmisek of talking about paying off the debt in one breath and, in another breath, talk about bonding to pay for the police and fire training center and mosquito control chemical storage facility. Cost: $6.5 million.

Doug and a bunch of other council members are also worried about the pension fund and the fact that it's short of money. There's some talk of spending down reserves to bridge the gap or maybe specifically dedicating certain mills for the fund. I admit this is a little murky for me because it's such a devilishly complicated issue.

Doug also wants to know why the city has such a high level of reserves in its enterprise fund, which is where the utilities get their money. He knows very well that the money is for the wastewater treatment plant to replace the lagoons. But he figures the city can bond for it, as in get into more debt. I think he's flying solo on this one.

18 Comments:

Anonymous vcsuvike said...

I think this is a smart move by the council to pay off the debt early. It's also good for them to question some projects. Maybe they can start teaching the general public insteading of spending on a credit card, pay it off.

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tran.....can you answer a question for me? When the dike project is done, will these mills automatically be cut? This argument of wanting to pay down the debt earlier is fine with me, but when that project is done, the extra mills should be cut, not earmarked for another pet project of the councils.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Your english 101 teacher said...

"Council member Art Bakken feels the same way Eliot and Bob does."

Isn't "does" singular? "I feel the same way that he does."
And isn't "do" plural? "I feel the same way that they do."

My grammer is lacking to be sure, but I just like to pick on Tran whenI can. Sorry man.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Zaya said...

I totally agree with anonymous... I'm going to commit sacrilege here I'm sure, however on WDAZ last night they mentioned that it only amounts to something like $20 per $100k property value that would be cut. I'm all for them not cutting that and paying down the debt faster... However, I'd be very upset if they then decided not to cut it after it was paid down and had the money go to something like the Alerus or a water park, etc.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous ec99 said...

"My grammer is lacking to be sure, but I just like to pick on Tran whenI can. Sorry man."

It's "grammar."

9:59 AM  
Blogger shilo said...

I don't understand any of this. I don't live in Grand forks. :(

thank you for being nice.

Do you have a cat?

11:11 AM  
Blogger Semireg said...

mill = a mill

m = million

:)

12:16 PM  
Blogger Tu-Uyen said...

Anonymous with the question: You're way ahead of me, friend. Remember that sentence where I said the council members are worried about the pension contributions and how some mills could be dedicated to paying those obligations? Where do you suppose those mills might come from? I haven't reported this in-depth because that's just one idea thrown out and I don't have the sense that the council will even go that way.

Grammar teacher: Thanks. I write like I talk and I get in trouble sometimes. One of my copyeditor friends has told me three times already that it's "toward" never "towards."

Shilo: No, ma'am, I don't have a cat. Just a gentle suggestion: Though you seem like a nice person, this blog isn't about making friends. We're here to talk/debate/fight about city politics. People might be rude if you didn't realize that.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous your english 101 teacher said...

ec99,
sorry, did you think that I was referring to grammar? Actually I was referring to Grammer.
Grammer, IN
Zip code 47236
Sorry for the confusion.

Love you by the way.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Peder Rice said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa!

"Towards" is incorrect? I had been explicitly told that both were correct by numerous English teachers over the years. Somebody set the record straight!

3:05 PM  
Blogger Tu-Uyen said...

No, you're right. That's what the dictionary says. Newspaper reporters have stylebooks that we adhere to. You'll notice we never say "over 100 people died." It's always "more than 100 died." More than is more precise than over, which we use to mean being physically above something. And you don't say "people" because that's usually redundant unless we're writing about a bomb at the pet shelter.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Coffee Guy said...

Does your copyeditor friend work for the Herald? If so, I'm intrigued how s/he has a problem with "towards," yet lets a colloquialism like "spendy" appear in a the paper (in fact, I seem to recall seeing it in a headline.)

3:37 PM  
Blogger Tu-Uyen said...

Colloquialisms are OK. The stylebook is only picky about certain things. It's strange but it's one of those quirks of the profession, like British lawyers wearing wigs. Of course, having a consistent style is much more functional.

Here's another one. Most of us know that 12 p.m. is noon but the stylebook says we only use noon or midnight, never 12 p.m. or 12 a.m. Why? Our guess is p.m. is short for post-meridian and a.m. short for ante-meridian, meaning before and after midday, respectively. Noon is midday and isn't before or after. Midnight being the dividing line is in the same situation. Hence, there is no such thing as 12 p.m. or a.m.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous ec99 said...

"Love you by the way."

My blushes, Watson. ;)

4:21 PM  
Blogger shilo said...

OK, but why would someone say they love you in a debate?

11:53 PM  
Blogger Tu-Uyen said...

Um, they already know each other. But nobody else is looking for pals here. Just a warning in case people start being mean to you.

2:00 AM  
Anonymous ec99 said...

"Um, they already know each other."

Nope, sorry. Maybe it's that English Teacher holds the same opinion about Ms. Hagerty.

9:43 AM  
Blogger shilo said...

well, I still think you are nice. Nobody else warns me. They are just mean.

8:12 PM  

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