Public accounting of city expenses needed for future decisions
Published on October 26, 2022 at 4:35pm EDT | Author: Chad Koenen0
To the Editor,
The citizens of the City of Frazee and other area people in the Frazee-Vergas School District recently received a questionnaire about adding a fourth full-time police officer. We were asked if we would be willing to increase our property taxes in order to pay for this position. I believe that in the City of Frazee, we need more information about current city expenses and future “big-ticket” costs coming soon in the expense pipeline.
The hiring of a School Resource Officer would add a fourth full-time officer. Frazee also has a number of part-time police officers. I know some of these costs have been shown in the end of year financial statement. I would like to see a current published up-to-date accounting of the salary costs of our three full-time officers, of all of our part-time officers and the amount required to hire a fourth full-time officer.
Our City Business Office has undergone an increase in staff. We had two full-time people for many years. We paid for retiring personnel to stay on for months to help our new hires become adjusted and familiar with their new jobs. We later hired a third person at half-time to work in the Business Office. I heard that the half-time position has become a third full-time position and a new person is now in that position. I would like to see a current published record of what salaries are now being paid to Business Office workers.
The Frazee Liquor Store financial situation is another piece of information that we need to know. The 5-year period of 2009–2013 produced a profit of $170,392 for our Liquor Store. The 5-year period of 2015–2019 produced a loss of $61,748. The most recent years have had losses and profits. I’ve read a variety of changes for the Frazee Liquor Store, including building a new Liquor Store. What will the Frazee Liquor Store do for our taxes in the next 5 years? This problem has gotten “kicked down the road” for over a decade. The Liquor Store reserve is almost gone.
We have a great downtown building available for businesses. We paid $48,000 for removal of the Ware Building and $40,000 to remove the asbestos. We paid $60,000 for the Furey Building and $39,450 to remove the building and asbestos. There was a large loss for the unpaid taxes on the Ware Building. Frazee City, Frazee-Vergas Schools and Becker County residents had to cover much of this cost. The City of Frazee has purchased the Sanders Building. There will be future demolition costs for the removal of this building. I don’t know the total costs we have incurred now or in the future, but it would be good to know how much we have and will spend on this block.
The Highway 87 project has costs for the city for water and sewer. Also, I believe we have costs for lighting. The extra width of the sidewalk to accommodate the bike path added costs for the City of Frazee. At a city info meeting on Hwy 87, I think the bike path gave the city about $300,000 in extra costs. I believe it was stated that grants would cover most of this $300,000. I would like a current accounting of what the city’s share of the Hwy 87 project sidewalk, lights, sewer and water will be. How much in grants did we actually get?
The Town Lake Bathhouse started out as about a $600,000 project. I think it was lowered earlier this year, but what will it cost taxpayers in the next 5 years?
A new water tower has been discussed as a near future project. How much? Our water rates went up dramatically to pay for the new Pump House.
Our Event Center is paid for thanks to community people and their generosity. Now it is in need of repairs, upgrades and maintenance. How much? The Frazee Liquor Store also needs electrical and roof repairs. How much?
The fire department has raised much of their finances on their own. But, a new fire truck has been stated as a need in the near future. How much?
You sure can see why some in the city council are concerned about putting the City of Frazee in possible financial responsibility for $810,000 for purchase of property for the Wannigan Park on top of these other costs! There also will be big expenses to run the park. Grants and private investment MAY cover all expenses? I think this should be a Becker County project, but they would not take it on.
Knowing these numbers would really help make this decision.