Candidate Swanson responds to letter

This is in response to a letter to the editor printed March 1, 2012.

Mr. Hall, you “got” Kermit Young to donate his former home place to the township? What an awful thing to say. How dare you take away the generosity of an individual and his family like that? This is terrible.

The residents of Baldwin Township deserve the truth Mr. Hall.

Fire department facts:

In 2007 while you were on the board you yourself suggested a fire budget that totaled $150,000. How can you come forward now and say $105,000? A previous board voted to approve the purchase of the new fire truck well before any of the current supervisors were on the board. The board I was a part of continued a prior vision by approving the financing for it. One of your endorsed candidates, prior to being dismissed from the fire department, was on the committee assigned to equip the new truck. He added four to five months to the equipment procuring process.

Mr. Hall, all while keeping taxes low, you left the board of 2012 with a fun little time bomb in the form of a balloon payment of $129,270.03 for the fire station. That alone is more than the operating budget for one year. You also neglected to add $39,000 in building payments into the costs of funding the fire department in your proposed budget.

We have since created a debt service fund to make these payments (and what they are for) much more transparent to the public. The 2011 certified operating cost is $90,000. Then we must add $39,000 for building payments, $29,000 for leased equipment and $45,200 for the new truck totaling $203,200. There is no mystery here. In 2012 the balloon will be paid and $39,000.00 goes away. In 2014 the $29,000 equipment lease payment is finished. In 2015, with no changes, the necessary budget will be $135,000. In 2017 the new fire truck is paid for.

 

Town hall facts:

The town hall had to be replaced. The old one burned.

During the planning for the shop area there was obviously no professional involvement or it would have been built to accommodate the actual size of our equipment. It was requested to make sure it was capable of housing the size of equipment we had by the very Terry Carlile you have so often blasted for whatever you could think of at the time. You failed to heed Mr. Carlile’s warnings and now the plow must be removed from our tandem axle truck so it will fit inside. Every time it snows the plow has to be reattached to the truck before it can be sent out. Newer equipment is no smaller so this will continue to be a burden on the maintenance budget.

 

Sewer system truth:

You and your endorsed candidates are spreading “Jay Swanson wants to run a sewer line under 169 to service his building” and “public money IS being spent to do it.”

The truth is we have 96 families in the Sherburne County Mobile Home Park that have a sewer issue. There are public grants available if the township were to get involved. They could be used to fund engineering, construction, etc. To me the logical thought process was (if the township were involved), is the project something that could be expandable in the future? Maybe even over to Flower City Estates if necessary or the industrial park some day? Is it even feasible? Could today’s costs be covered by 96 sewer bills because that is the ONLY people that would be hooked up to it for the foreseeable future? I said and maintain that it would not be paid for by people who were not or would never be connected to it. Is this not what a government should be doing for its people? Trying to help when possible and planning for the future at the same time? If your endorsed candidates don’t think so, Mr. Hall, they make poor candidates for leading our community. To date not one penny of taxpayers’ money has been spent on this issue.

 

iPad truths:

Mr. Hall, did you know the iPads have saved the taxpayers the cost of over 5000 copies in the first quarter of this year alone? That will average 20,000 copies every year, 20,000 copies that were used once at a meeting and then recycled or thrown away. The reduction in hours of staff time needed to create and collate them into meeting packets is another bonus.

The iPads, since they are electronic, have made it possible to get the packets and information on to our website more quickly and more efficiently. This was one thing the people were asking for. Your endorsed candidate is spreading the word that the township purchased these for supervisors’ “home use.” While we do take them home they remain the township’s property and will be assigned to other supervisors as they are sworn in. Your endorsed candidates are both electronic proponents. One is an information technologies man and the other is a real electronic gadget buff. Why he even has a portable scanner he uses to scan the agenda packets prior to every board meeting. The iPads help save time, money and the environment. They even give the people information much more quickly than in the past. Please tell me there is something other than political posturing behind trying to portray this issue as such a bad decision.

 

136th Street facts:

The projected 2012 cost of the project is $1.5 million. That equals four entire years’ road and bridge budget amounts. This is for the portion between Co. Rd. 9 and Co. Rd. 42. This does not include the north portion to just short of Co. Rd. 3.

In an effort to provide the public with quality information at our annual meeting we have received cost information for bonding this project. A bond for $1.5 million will have payments of $160,000.00 per year for 10 years. The math says it will cost us $100,000 to borrow the money and do the entire project at once. I do believe this will save a lot of money in the long run. If we split it into 10 sections it would cost us much more than $160,000 a section when we get to 2018 and the road would be under constant construction until 2023. The people added $200,000 to the 2012 budget. A portion of that was directed to pay the fire hall balloon payment. If the $200,000 remained in 2013 it could be used to service the bond payment of $160,000. My statement has always been, what are the wishes of the people? Is 136th Street something they want to do? I don’t know where “we’re proposing 1-plus million dollar financing” came from but it sounds like you are trying to portray this in a way it is not intended. Is this not the type of investigation you say your endorsed candidates would do?

Now you are saying that people stole signs from your yard and tipped over your garbage cans doing it? You might as well follow that up with “and these people vote.”

You’re a good man, Mr. Hall. Don’t denigrate yourself or the township by filling the community with whitewashed half-truths and dishonest statements when the whole truth is what they deserve.

Jay Swanson

Zimmerman

Baldwin Township supervisor

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