Readers’ Views

Questions as to why not? And basic thinking

To the Editor:

As we follow what city council does, many in the community ask the question WHY?

Why does it seem citizens of Fairmont fear rising taxes? Why do we not see growth? Why is every opportunity blocked that can better our community? Why does it seem to be a unanimous vote like it was decided before discussions even took place publicly?

Fairmont’s focus has always been focused on a retirement community. Citizens living in fear of rising taxes need to understand, development does not cause tax increases. The developers are responsible for roads and infrastructure. The amount of undeveloped land in the city of Fairmont is around 3000 acres of AG land and only taxed $50ish per acre. The city annexes’ the land into the city to reserve taxes to the city instead of county. Now 2-5 lots can be split out of 1 acre of land. Basic thinking, $2,000 (min) per lot tax, so WHY do we not see housing developments? $50 tax is equal to min $4,000 developed housing (minimum).

In 2016 a sales tax was voted in(great decision), allocating funds to outdoor amenities for all ages. Since then, there has been revotes/efforts to block a community center. Full transparency or understanding seems be an issue, along with work sessions being denied. In my opinion the sales tax was a great way to fund recreational amenities in Fairmont without affecting property tax. Basic thinking on sales tax is you need people to be attracted to Fairmont, for them to spend their money. We need businesses to join our community and we need housing for families that move to town to work in the current and new businesses. Some members of the community believe we have housing, Fairmont has less than 5 vacant rentals. Yet, we continue to see proposed businesses blocked, housing blocked and bad mouth those who see the potential Fairmont has. WHY? Why do our leaders not work with these investors and developers to find a happy middle point, then bring forward a proper proposal to public form. As a general contractor, I have not always agreed with local inspectors, but it’s not their fault, they follow code to the wording(occasional interoperation disagreement), within talking to other contractors in nearby cities, Mankato and New Ulm inspectors are starting to enforce but not all inspectors follow the code as well as Fairmont does, it’s not a bad thing to hold a higher/ethical standard.

How Fairmont conducts business when it comes to any investor and/or developer is questionable, more so those watching the council meetings and handlings of proposals can deter them. Every business or development that we deny, is a loss of revenue from developed property tax increase to sales tax. Proposing a sales tax increase, why? Many communities have a .5 percent sales tax, Fairmont falls in the MN average sales tax currently, to accept another .5 percent Fairmont will be above the state average. Why and effects? Every business or development proposed to Fairmont has positives and negatives “BUT” what is best for the city? With the campground proposed, which I feel was handled poorly to the community center, think of how much revenue could be gained through the sales tax by bringing visitors to Fairmont. We have failing infrastructure, with mentioned failing electric issues and water treatment plant being outdated. If development would have been focused on in prior years it could have helped through taxes generated by development of businesses, houses, mentioned campground. Instead, the council has shown great hesitation moving forward, which places more burden to current residents threw property tax.

Let me point out one more upcoming burden on current residents, MN his been working on liquor legislation, how much do we rely on our liquor store? How are we as a city going to handle new legislation when MN allows gas stations and grocery stores the right to sell the same product as the municipal does? Will the city block revenue from private businesses? Will there be a panic as how to recover lost funds already allocated? Will your taxes go up? WHY does Fairmont not address these issues? Basic thinking is allow development, increase tax revenue from undeveloped land. Plan and promote instead of these roadblocks. Work with developers, investors, and businesses so the city can generate revenue land tax and sales tax.

We have many residents on SSI income, they cannot afford to see taxes rising. Ever year houses are being taken on tax dues. They cannot afford to fix their home, families rather not pay taxes on them. We see more homes being tore down than build. So many things are broken, push city leaders to start looking at the future where raising taxes does not need to be the only option. MY best regards to all residents in and around Fairmont.

Karl Vlieger



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