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Op-ed: How does Mason City choose what businesses it gets into?

This news story was published on December 15, 2012.
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by Chad Barnes –

I read with great interest the piece on North Iowa Today about the city of Mason City getting into the bottled water business.

I am curious as to the criteria the city is using to determine which businesses they get into and get out of.

I have read on NIT how the city got out of the pavement painting business.  It also seems to want out of the golf business (Highland).

The city also wanted out of the trash collecting business, a long-established business where the structure (a department) was all set and running smoothly and not costing the taxpayers anymore than $9.60 each month.  It was getting few if any complaints.

I think our council has good intentions and I agree the city’s water is great.  But have they truly thought about the potentially tens of thousands of dollars it would cost to set up a bottled water assembly line?  The tens of thousands it would cost to market and distribute the product?

I am hoping the city thinks carefully about this idea before acting.

Thank you.


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12 Responses to Op-ed: How does Mason City choose what businesses it gets into?

  1. Avatar

    blog Reply Report comment

    December 16, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Than Katie if the city would not have to pay the WATER BILL should the citizens be reimbursed for water they are using and profiting off. When you run that equipment and city employee labor is used the tax payers are flipping the bill. That would be like you buying a vehicle and letting the mayor rent it out for his profit.

  2. Avatar

    blog Reply Report comment

    December 16, 2012 at 7:26 am

    One point you missed Katie is it’s not free. The operation from employee wages to daily costs is paid for by us taxpayers. So if they go into business we will be paying for it through our tax dollars.

    • Avatar

      Katie Reply Report comment

      December 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      I never said the operation was free. I said the product was free to the City. We all pay for water and so would an outside enterprise trying to sell Mason City water. The labor costs would be the same whether the City or an outside enterprise ran the operation. It would be easier for the City to show a profit because they wouldn’t have to pay a WATER BILL for the product.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        December 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm

        Everything has a cost. People can’t seem to understand that. Water is not free to ANYONE.

      • Avatar

        anonymous Reply Report comment

        December 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm

        If all money was used to lower my water bill that has gone way up to pay for all the new equipment I would be for it. But you know that wouldn’t happen.

  3. Avatar

    vance Reply Report comment

    December 15, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    im at a loss here as to how any city government could get into the bottled water business. they could give hot air balloon rides too. why not try that.

  4. Avatar

    blog Reply Report comment

    December 15, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    I think Marinos has been sucking on too many booz laced grapes. This is for private enterprise and not for the city tax payers to fund.

  5. Avatar

    Watchdog Reply Report comment

    December 15, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I thought it was governments job to take care of services we have deemed as needs.


    The idea that any government would get into any business that competes with private enterprise is yet another step towards socialism.

    I don’t know if there are laws against a city getting into such an endeavor, if not there should be.

    • Avatar

      Katie Reply Report comment

      December 15, 2012 at 7:41 pm

      But the City owns the water and no one else could afford to buy it, bottle it, sell it, and still make a profit. The product would basically be free if the City sold it. The City is the only entity that could make a profit selling its water.

      Now I’m not saying I’m in favor of this. I’m just saying that I don’t know that private enterprise could compete with Mason City in this instance. There is also a big push against using bottled water. Go to Wikipedia and read about the controversy. It’s a concept that is on its way out.

  6. Avatar

    mr. smith Reply Report comment

    December 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Im thinking the bottled water idea could fly. It would be unique and people that once lived here could buy it and drink it and it would be like they never left. A slice of home.

    • Avatar

      nancy Reply Report comment

      December 15, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      I’d be willing to try it. Depends on the cost. Where would it be available to be bought? My husband and I are in Arizona for several months out of the year.

  7. Avatar

    Jim Reply Report comment

    December 15, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    The people at city hall could care what the citizens want, we are now a city with a dictater mayor and his servants