Et Cetera …
Auditor’s Office says no
The Minnesota State Auditor’s Office has spoken: It will not spend time or energy delving into the city of Fairmont’s accounts for the past 17 years. It sees no reason to do so.
The Auditor’s Office has made the city one offer: it will take a look at the municipal liquor store, if the City Council wants it to. The estimated cost is $5,000. The council will consider the matter Monday.
The idea of getting the State Auditor involved locally was always sketchy. Fairmont is independently audited every year.
On the positive side, the city is now free to consider substantial topics.
Housing remains issue
Fairmont’s Economic Development Authority this week again put its stamp of approval on the concept of tax incentives to spur local multi-family housing development. FEDA already sent the idea to the City Council once for its blessing. But at the council level, the idea ran into objections about where housing might be built.
We believe local economic development officials and FEDA board members have laid out a good case that much-needed housing trumps concerns about location. A lack of housing is hurting the ability of employers to attract workers.
Legal costs soaring
Former Fairmont City Attorney Elizabeth Bloomquist may very well have been on the verge of ending her long tenure with the city when she was unceremoniously sent packing by a City Council majority last spring. Had they just talked to her and come to an understanding, they could have saved considerable grief and expense.
The city is continuing to pay Bloomquist her full salary in a separation agreement. It will do so through May. At the same time, the city is paying the County Attorney to prosecute crimes and another law firm to handle civil matters and advise the city. It has all gotten quite expensive for taxpayers.
Humpal served city well
Amid all the news coming out of City Hall these days, we would be remiss not to extend a thank you to Mike Humpal for all the years of service he put in as economic development director and then as city administrator. In the end, a three-person majority on the council decided they could not work with Humpal anymore. We view that decision as unfortunate and undeserved.
The council minority and city staff respect Humpal. As did previous councils. As do countless local residents. Humpal simply fell victim to politics and old grudges. We wish him well, and some brighter, cheerier days than he has been enduring.