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opinion Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

The city’s Finance Department and financial adviser recommended borrowing $1,795,000 for 2011 street improvements.

My financial analysis of the construction fund only requires borrowing $1,000,000 to pay for 2011 street improvements.

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I commend council members Koep, Goedker and Bevans for their vote to only borrow $1,000,000 and save the citizens $900,000 in taxes.

The council should also eliminate the additional tax levy of $150,000 in proposed 2012 budget, since there are extra funds available.

Council members Koep and Goedker didn’t vote for this additional levy in the preliminary budget.

A few years ago, HRA made a decision to speculate in purchasing land and constructing houses. The project called the Brainerd Oaks failed, resulting in a loss over $5,000,000. The lots are in foreclosure.

The taxpayers are paying the $1,500,000 for infrastructure costs with a tax levy.

HRA receives an annual tax levy from the city for their operational expenses.

In 2012 this levy is $132,038. I am proposing HRA pay 20 percent of this levy on the amount they owe to the city. Over seven years this will save the taxpayers $140,000. HRA directors are opposed to this plan.

Recently I was informed HRA approved a large salary increase over what their former director was paid for their new director, and donated $10,000 to a non-profit organization.

The HRA board, including council member Parks and Nesheim receive a $75 per diem when attending meetings of the HRA.

I will be presenting a motion to the Council: HRA pays 20 percent of their operational tax levy to help reduce some of this $1,500,000 debt HRA owes on the Brainerd Oaks.

Alderman Bob Olson

Brainerd

EDITOR’S NOTE: The $10,000 went to the Healthy Community Partnership Task Force to acquire and demolish substandard vacant homes with the intent of improving neighborhoods.

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