Dick Palmer: Sewer issue could begin to stink
This current legislative session is a classic example of the "wrong way to run a railroad." Even though this former legislator has been writing about the wasteful abandonment of legislative responsibility for years on end, nothing changes. Honest...
This current legislative session is a classic example of the "wrong way to run a railroad."
Even though this former legislator has been writing about the wasteful abandonment of legislative responsibility for years on end, nothing changes.
Honest taxpayers are doped into slumberland, and the engineers of this legis-lative "runaway" keep the train in the station until the final moment, and then go full speed ahead into a world of double-talk. It will be another wild ride with only special interests getting the benefits.
Here in the Northland, two sewage projects deserve more than some colorful oration. The state of Minnesota, with overflowing tax receipts, must prioritize its infrastructure. Sanitary sewer projects deserve serious attention. These projects should not be in competition with tourist bonding requests, but should stand alone and be funded on a need basis.
There is no question sewer systems for the North Shore and the Fond du Lac neighborhoods need attention and should not compete with IRRRB projects, Spirit Mountain projects or a bear educational project in Ely. These are all good projects, but they are not the same as human sanitation needs.
We're not saying residents in these areas should expect a free sewage project. Pike Lake residents are currently completing a sewer project with each resident paying around $7,000 for service installation and hook-up. This is a small price to pay to improve the health climate in your neighborhood.
In the two other area districts, property values are an issue, but more important is living without worry about high water levels in the Fond du Lac area and poor soil conditions and a lack of space in the North Shore neighborhoods. It will take a revamping of state priorities to get the job done.
$1.5 million for the Fond du Lac sewer project may not be enough, but by its worthiness, it should stand on its own as an environmental and economic responsibility. Freshman Rep. Dale Swapinski, DFL-Duluth, has to run for re-election this fall. He says he lopped off $1 million in the Fond du Lac project "in the spirit of fiscal responsibility."
Pretty fancy words.
We suggest legislators lop off $ 1 million from their growing pensions. That would make more sense. Sewer projects must transcend political rhetoric and be measured on their merits. Otherwise, the issue could get pretty smelly.
Dick Palmer is the former editor and publisher of the Budgeteer News.