Readers’ Views

Grant appreciated

To the Editor:

On behalf of the board and staff at Red Rock Center for the Arts, I would like to thank the Martin County Area Foundation for its support. Grant funds helped replace the video surveillance cameras on location, creating a more secure environment for our patrons and guest artists. Your kindness and generosity truly makes a difference in our community. We cannot have done it without you. Again, thank you.

Sonja Fortune

executive director,

Red Rock Center for the Arts

Fairmont

We just want fairness

To the Editor:

This letter is in regard to a Jan. 24 article in the Sentinel. Time for a few left-out facts.

The United Township Fire Association (UFTA) has had a long-standing agreement (67 years) with Fairmont for fire protection. This letter is not directed at the fire department, as our negotiations are with the city, and city staff has made it clear that they are city employees.

A little breakdown on equipment owned, as we don’t have just one dusty pumper sitting in the corner waiting for rural fire calls. Three trucks are UFTA-owned, three are 50/50 UFTA- and city-owned, and the last three trucks are city-owned. UFTA pays for all major repairs on our trucks and 50 percent of expenses on jointly owned trucks. General maintenance, such as oil changes, are covered by the city.

UFTA has always been willing to donate for additional equipment such as “Jaws of Life,” rescue boat, air packs, masks, etc. UFTA also purchased an enclosed trailer with equipment needed for grain bin rescue.

With city budget dollars being limited, the last truck purchased in 2013 was financed interest-free by UFTA, and the city repaid its share in 2014 and 2015. We wanted to keep equipment current and the city was unable to do so at the time. Also in 2002, UFTA paid 100 percent for a jointly owned truck with an agreement that when it needed replacing, the city would do so. We have a letter stating this. So far, this hasn’t been done, so the city stills owes UFTA for half a new truck.

In our negotiations with the city for a new fire agreement, we have seen at least three different budgets that were not even close to the same dollar amount, and any proposals we have made have been shrugged off with it’s the city’s way or nothing attitude. UFTA is not against paying additional fees; we just want it to be fair. I also hope the new City Council is willing to listen to us.

John Garbers,

UFTA board member

Dan Whitman,

East Chain Township

Dan Bebernes,

Rolling Green Township Clerk

Too much spending

To the Editor:

Gov. Mark Dayton has submitted his proposed budget to the Minnesota House and Senate, and I was surprised to learn the plan contained almost $4.5 billion in new state government spending.

The governor wants to increase spending by 10 percent, but people generally are only seeing their personal incomes increase by 2 percent or less. Government should live no better than its people.

Gov. Dayton is proposing a $45.8 billion budget over the next two-year budget cycle, which represents a roughly a 10 percent increase over the $41.5 billion FY 2016-17 budget.

Despite Minnesota’s $1.4 billion surplus, the governor is also proposing a $1.4 billion tax increase on trips to the doctor by extending the provider tax, and $1.5 billion in new taxes and fees in the next biennium alone by increasing the gas tax, tab fees, the metro area sales tax, new license/title surcharges and more.

The massive tax hike proposals and spending increases won’t make it through the Minnesota House.

We need to live within our means and honor the people that sent us here by doing their wishes, and their wishes are let them keep more of their money and prosper.

State Rep. Bob Gunther,

R-Fairmont

COMMENTS