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Tornquist ready to shut down Human Rights to save $18K


This news story was published on January 31, 2013.
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Scott was not a computer when he used his fuzzy math to try and save $18K in our budget.

Scott Tornquist seems to need new circuits in his microchip.  The numbers he threw around Tuesday night only save the city $18K total… at a cost of losing Human Rights.

Editorial by Matt Marquardt –

I guess I thought in order to be an engineer you had to be good with numbers.

At Tuesday night’s budget hearing, which lasted nearly three hours, At-Large City Councilman Scott Tornquist waited until nearly the end of the meeting to talk about “where the rubber hits the road” for him, meaning the $15.18 tax hike he and the rest of the council and Mayor Bookmeyer are passing on to us due to their out-of-control spending. Much more on that later.

At the end of the game, it turns out that the council would need to cut $295,000 from this year’s budget so that taxes would not go up on the property owners. The council, after spending the city into this position in the first place, sat there racking their brains trying to figure out a way out of the tax hike. It is, after all, an election year, and more than one of them could be on shaky ground.

Tornquist zeroed in on Human Rights, as he has numerous times in the past, and threw around some numbers. He tried to make a case that crippling or shutting down Human Rights in Mason City would cut all or some of $143,000 from the budget, thus getting them closer to to nixing the tax hike.

“We’re basically spending $143,000 in the Human Rights Department to get $85,000 in grants,” Tornquist said. “I have to wonder if that is the best bang for the buck. I talked to our city attorney… we are not required to have a Human Rights Commission.”

Tornquist then goes on to say that “some level of funding would be required” if Human Rights were reduced but kept around in Mason City. “Probably in the neighborhood of $20,000 to $40,000.”

In other words, Tornquist (who also seemed to indicate he wanted to keep Human Rights in Mason City, although I don’t think anyone in the room believed him) would be ready to concede the spending of up to $40,000 to keep the commission and/or department funded.

The problem is, as Human Rights Commissioner Dean Genth stated, Human Rights loses their grant funding if the City doesn’t properly fund the department and commission.

By Tornquist’s own words, then, the city at this time spends $143,000 in order to receive $85,000 in grants. That is a total net cost to the city of $58,000.

Tornquist indicated to keep Human Rights hobbling along in Mason City – under a re-organization of some kind – a cost of up to $40,000 to the city would be required.

That, folks, is a difference of only $18,000, a mere pittance in the multi-million dollar budget and only about 6% of the $295,000 needed to undo the damage already done to the budget which required the tax hike in the first place.

Tornquist said “this is what has been keeping me up late at night.”

Scott, did you lose any sleep before handing out $45,000 for sculptures? How many sleepless nights did you spend before voting yes to hand your neighbor thousands of dollars to expand his business?  Did you sleep well when you voted “yes” to a $76,000 City Hall renovation?

Scott, please, have your micro-chips checked perhaps at Radio Shack or maybe call the Geek Squad so you can compute your math and bend the numbers in a more convincing fashion.

—————–

Watch video of discussion:

httpv://youtu.be/dZtef-UqTBc

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67 Responses to Tornquist ready to shut down Human Rights to save $18K

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 7, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Matt Marquardt
    January 31, 2013 at 9:53 pm What an asinine argument. By that reasoning, anyone from out of town who shops in Mason City and pays the local option sales tax is a tourist and that money collected does not belong to Mason City. It’s all tax dollars collected, and all the dollars belong to the people of Mason City. The only difference is that some of it must be used in certain designated ways. For example, again, the hotel/motel tax has to go to “culture” … the library falls into that broad category.”

    Statue money came from “hotel / motel tax”. NOT ALL tax collected. The term “tourist” was used to simplify (for doomcoffs) naming who the people are who paid for the statues.
    And I’m the one who reminded you in a different post that the money HAD to be used for certain things. So sorry you don’t get credit for knowing that ahead of me.
    I also think (but will do more research) the the city already gets a cut. Back a few yrs. Max tried to get the amt. to be 60 for city & 40 for Visitor/ Tourist Bureau. Sue Armor was in charge. It’s all on line look it up.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 7, 2013 at 7:40 pm

      Correction. “Convention and Visitors Bureau”

  2. Avatar

    J SChade Reply Report comment

    February 5, 2013 at 2:45 am

    Well i see one take him outta office and away his pay

    • Avatar

      J SChade Reply Report comment

      February 5, 2013 at 2:47 am

      I mean Tornquist pay hell why do we need him?

  3. Avatar

    a citizen Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I know this has been covered before (probably many times) but what 1) was the cost for the downtown statues, and 2) are the costs of the ongoing Blue Zone project? Thank you.

    • Avatar

      LVS Reply Report comment

      February 4, 2013 at 5:39 pm

      @a citizen-If I recall the cost of the statues was around 47K so far. No one knows the cost of the Blue Zone because the city is hiding it. Matt has asked about the Blue Zone cost but so far it has been silent to my knowledge.

      • Avatar

        Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

        February 4, 2013 at 5:43 pm

        It appears that in the latest budget there is some money for Blue Zones. Around $40K. But I don’t believe that covers inflated costs to other projects – like pavement painting – so that the city can be compliant with Blue Zones requirements for certification.

      • Avatar

        a citizen Reply Report comment

        February 4, 2013 at 6:22 pm

        And what will the financial benefit(s) be for the city if MC becomes a Blue Zone community?

  4. Avatar

    the common sense man Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    The human rights commission is a needed service provided to the residents of Mason City…much like fire, police, or a snowplow driver. Used by both the employee and the employer. the council cannot look at it as a numbers game…use vs. cost., it is a SERVICE to the people. To cut budget look at cost of program vs. the bottom line return of program. Can the EDC, stand up to such common sense scrutiny

    • Avatar

      4ever49 Reply Report comment

      February 4, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      EDC was pushed into a shared funding deal with the county and Clear Lake. Maybe the same is available with HRC?

  5. Avatar

    4ever49 Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Who said the HRC is off limits to budgetary constraints? If they think they deserve preservation they can make their case to Council. Today’s GLOB article indicates other cities in Iowa pay a lot less.

  6. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2013 at 8:10 am

    They helped me out and were very professional about it – Don’t let the socialists tell you different – their lieing through their teeth – scumbums as Jackie Gleason would say.

  7. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2013 at 8:03 am

    He’s a socialist – the scuds spend 10 times that amount on the park in committe. Am I wrong or was that a place of ill repute -the upstairs ai mean – course ai was just a kid then -oh but the rumors – anyone erver visit the upstairs ?

    • Avatar

      LVS Reply Report comment

      February 4, 2013 at 9:56 am

      @Anonymous-I used to know a guy who was a taxi driver back then and he used to pick the girls up at the airport and some he would drop off at the park Inn and some he drop off at Raizes. Back in the day I used to play pool there and it was well known you could get girls upstairs.

      • Avatar

        Anon Reply Report comment

        February 7, 2013 at 7:02 pm

        The Park Inn was once the now remodeled hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Yes i the 60’s /70’s it was a known as a whore house. And left to crumble. But thankfully Ann McGregor took over the helm and helped bring it to it’s present day look and useage.
        You did NOT ever play pool in the Park Inn. It was never a bar/pool hall. You probably played at the Ships Harbor/ Edmar Hotel on the corner N of Central Park. Vince Jorgenson kept his College Inn dancers up there.

        I’m betting Cheter Pilgren knows this to be fact also.

  8. Avatar

    truth be known Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2013 at 8:55 am

    I would love to look into the eyes of those who voted for this schmuck. What kind of a person would actually want the likes of this guy even in their yard let alone at the city council table? He is a pahetic excuse for a man. But when you look atthe overall picture he fits right in with the worst council this city evr had

  9. Avatar

    Polio Loco Reply Report comment

    February 2, 2013 at 1:31 am

    Local Option Sales Tax money STILL has to be accounted for — it’s purpose has to be identified.

  10. Avatar

    sickastupd Reply Report comment

    February 1, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    @Katie:

    You suggested I check into what exactly the commission does, and I did. Just in case anyone else is wondering, here is a description:

    http://www.masoncity.net/pView.aspx?id=18162&catid=481

    • Avatar

      Katie Reply Report comment

      February 2, 2013 at 10:04 am

      @Sas. That’s exactly what I thought they did. You can see why their function is so important, especially when the Mason City office is the 2nd busiest in the state!

  11. Avatar

    anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    It is very disheartening to see what the mayor and council are doing and what they have done to our city. Their whole mentality of taking from Peter to pay Paul is just not going to work and will eventually catch up to them. It’s not right to cut jobs, programs, etc just to build their so called “cultural crescent”. Back in the 70’s Dennis Kuchinich bankrupt the city of Cleveland, and I’m afraid if things keep going the way they are now here, we will see big trouble in River City! I hope and pray that someone runs against Bookmeyer and gets him out before it’s too late!

  12. Avatar

    blog Reply Report comment

    February 1, 2013 at 7:16 am

    This all seems to be building to fatmeyer somehow putting his rodent turncoat in charge of the commission.

  13. Avatar

    Watchdog Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    There has been a question raised about just what the Human Right Commission does.

    I can answer that.

    They protect people like my wife from being bullied from big Corporations. Thankfully the Human Rights Commission was there so she could file a legitimate complaint in a timely manor.

    Due to the work of the Human Rights Commission my wife was allowed to retain her dignity and not loose 30 years of pension income because the Corporation decided to terminate her without cause and hire a 22 year old to do her job.

    Had we had to do this in Des Moines instead of Mason City the time and distance would have make it impossible.

    These kinds of situations happen on a regular basis in Mason City. Don’t delude yourselves, it is all about MONEY!!!

    Keep the Human Rights Commission in Mason City. The cost is minimal compared to the benefit. The cost is minimal compared to what we get from other tax subsidized services like the Museum, Library, ect.

    Use your head folks and surly don’t listen that dumb ass sickastupid.

    • Avatar

      Reggie Reply Report comment

      February 1, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      This has been brought up before by other bloggers.Would a person that had a complaint have to physically go to Des Moines to get it resolved or do they do tel-conferencing? I really don’t know.If everyone who had a complaint had to travel 100 miles then I can see great value in the HRC. Does anyone know this?

      • Avatar

        LVS Reply Report comment

        February 1, 2013 at 1:57 pm

        @Reggie-I can only speak for my own experience here but when I filed a claim years ago I had to make several trips to their office. Then I waited about 3 months (due to the workload) I was told for a hearing in front of the commissioners. Then I waited almost 6 months for the results. I lost, but was never told why. I just dropped it at that point as I figured I wasn’t getting anywhere. I would think based on my experience that it would be difficult and would certainly delay the process if you had to go through a Des Moines office. Now that being said, I really do not know how many cases they handle a year.

      • Avatar

        Reggie Reply Report comment

        February 1, 2013 at 2:17 pm

        Thanks LVS .I went on the states Civil Rights Comm. website and it looks like at least initially a person can file a complaint in writing.Unfortunately the site doesn’t say what happens if there has to be a hearing.I would imagine a person would have to be in Des Moines in person but maybe in this day and age they wouldn’t. It doesn’t look like from the states site or your experience that its a fast process.

        • Avatar

          Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

          February 1, 2013 at 4:14 pm

          Another well-stated comment. Reggie, you are getting better all the time. Most folks in Mason City that feel the need to file a complaint would give up / not pursue the matter if they had to deal with Des Moines. Just that simple. I advocate for a fair and balanced Human Rights agency here in Mason City that favors neither side; where both litigants are treated equally and with respect and cases are handled with assiduity.

      • Avatar

        Reggie Reply Report comment

        February 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm

        Matt I had to look up assiduity but you used due diligence, which was very industrious with sedulity and justice for all.

  14. Avatar

    Joe Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    We could have skipped the stupid statues and kept the Human Rights Commision. Save a place in “Hell”.

  15. Avatar

    Observer Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Seems to me that had they not spent the $178,000 which was approved in December to purchase ‘fine art’, it would have easily come a lot closer to meeting such a short fall. Money in the bank so to speak.

    But, ‘fine art’ is more of a priority to some of the Leaders of the City than the rights of it’s citizens. Makes so much sense to me.

    • Avatar

      Observer Reply Report comment

      January 31, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      For the record, that amount is correct, and was taken from a legal notice of spending the Council approved. I reaserched who the payee was, and found it to be a dealer in New York state.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous also Reply Report comment

        January 31, 2013 at 6:10 pm

        I would guess that the $178,000 was used to purchase art for the MacNider Art museum. It is my understanding (could be incorrect) that when the museum buys art, the purchase is funded through their endowment which is donated funds. In other words, someone wrote the museum a check to purchase the art. The museum purchased the art and since the museum is a City entity, the check to pay for it was written by the Finance Department. If you look deeper, you’ll probably see a revenue coming into the City’s bookkeeping system that matches the expenditure. Wasn’t there just an article somewhere about a new piece in their collection?

      • Avatar

        Observer Reply Report comment

        February 5, 2013 at 2:37 pm

        If this was indeed for the museum, then it should have the ability to cut it’s own check, and not intermingle with taxpayers funds. It has all the same features of a money laundering operation!

        Personally, I don’t think the operation needs any connection with the City whatsoever, but become it’s own foundation with a board accountable to it’s contributors.

  16. Avatar

    rukidding Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    “blue rhino” I too would like to hear your evidence on how the HRC rips people off. Make your case so if its true NIT can do a story about it.

  17. Avatar

    Katie Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    It’s pretty clear that the City Council’s past spending shows they have not been concerned about the City’s financial future, especially of the Human Rights Commission. It’s too bad those past decisions didn’t keep Mr. Tornquist awake at night. Perhaps if they had, now there would be more money to keep a valuable commission and service available for the citizens of North Iowa. They obviously have not sought out any other sources of funding for the commission, either. This is very disappointing. It does seem to show they have been unconcerned with the future of this commission and were not making provisions for it when they could have. Worth County is fairly cash rich. I’d love to see them take the commission away from Mason City, but demand funding from them and surrounding counties and cities.

  18. Avatar

    sandy servantez Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I hope people remember this come election time who they want in as their council person and mayor. I for one will. I could go on and on about how I feel about all this but the bottom line is I will have to wait until Nov. before I can be heard at the voting booth.

  19. Avatar

    Michael Servantez Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Tornquist is one of the dumbest city council members we have ever had. He don’t know his left hand from his right hand. I don’t know what his agenda is? But I am so glad the next election is coming up, I hope he never again gets in the position he is in right now. The citizens of Mason City, I hope can see thru all this crap that he says, and votes him out. Out of the state is alright me me.

    • Avatar

      Reggie Reply Report comment

      January 31, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Scott Tournquist might be a lot of things but dumb is not one of them.He is also pretty good at math.Obviously Matt does not agree with him and neither do most of the bloggers on this site but until the next election you will all have to deal with it.Also by Matt’s way of thinking if a candy bar costs $3 but you get it for $2 it really only cost $1 since you saved $1.Cost of HRC is $228,000, City spent $143,000 received in grants $85,000 which is a difference of $58,000 which has no relevance in this discussion except we are getting some “FREE” outside money . The candy bar still costs $2 and the Human Rights dept. still costs the city $143,000.If the grant money goes back into the general fund then Matt’s logic is right but that is not how it usually works.I’m not saying we should or shouldn’t eliminate the HRC but lets get the facts straight.

      • Avatar

        LVS Reply Report comment

        January 31, 2013 at 1:27 pm

        @Reggie-he may be smart as you say but even that is in question. What he really is, is arrogant and egotistical and somewhat of a dick head. I said when he was first running for council that I hoped he didn’t get elected as the guy thinks he is the only one who knows anything. The city will be well served when he has gone off into the sunset. At least this is my opinion shared by a lot of other folks.

      • Avatar

        Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

        January 31, 2013 at 1:38 pm

        Reggie, all due respect here, but this is the same fuzzy math the mayor and council use to justify blowing $140,000 on the North Iowa Corridor / EDC and $30,000 on the Micro-Enterprise. I would like to see a report from City Hall showing the return on investment with these two expensive programs. $170,000 spent and where is the growth, where are the jobs? I heard Travis Hickey say “jobs jobs jobs” well Travis where are they? You said Tuesday night you are “fiscally conservative” well why aren’t you questioning this expenditure? Eric and Scott single out Human Rights which at the end of the day cost the city $18,000 overall while the real money flows into their pet programs that do little or nothing for the overall good of the city. Why is no one investigating the EDC and Micro-Enterprise? Maybe it’s time to.

      • Avatar

        Reggie Reply Report comment

        January 31, 2013 at 3:07 pm

        Matt, so you admit it is “Fuzzy” math. If you think they play that game then why sink to their level?I would think you would want to present a side that can be backed up by facts, figures and logic.

  20. Avatar

    LVS Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Turncoat obviously is not going to be happy until he shuts down the Human Rights program in Mason City. Anything he says on the subject is just B.S.

  21. Avatar

    So What Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Such a sappy ass. How does he sleep at all? Where is his family on this? He needs help!

    Certainly not all of their circuits are hay wire or are they?

    Keep your day job Tornquist (of course you used that to your benefit (shady) too while a councilman, remember)? Hollywood or this one isn’t for you !

  22. Allen

    Allen Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Whats good for one, is good for all. The city attorney says we are not required to have a Human Rights Commission. Well then, the city doesn’t need a civil service commission either.

  23. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    What price do we put on HUMAN RIGHTS?

    I wonder if $30.00 per year on a $100,000.00 house in Mason City is worth giving up Human Rights?

    Pretty cheap price to pay for human rights when you think about it.

    Why would a Mayor and City Council sacrifice your human rights for 2 or 3 dollars a month?

    Looks like Bookmeyer and Tornquist have an axe to grind.

    Wake up people, rise up people, this is worth marching on city hall over!!!!

    • Avatar

      sickastupd Reply Report comment

      January 30, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      I’m not trying to be obtuse, but exactly how do they help people? I have never known!

      • Avatar

        blue rhino Reply Report comment

        January 31, 2013 at 2:56 pm

        Have you heard of Robin Hood? Kind of like that. They don’t do anything for the good honest people in Mason City. They actually help rip off the honest hard working individuals so the loosers benefit. Look who is in charge there, Lional Foster pretty much sums it up. I hope they shut it down tomorrow.

        • Avatar

          Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

          January 31, 2013 at 3:47 pm

          @blue rhino, those are serious allegations and loaded statements. NIT will be the first to do a story if you can back up your assertions, 1) that Lionel Foster and Human Rights “rip off” people and 2) that “loosers” benefit and 3) how many – or what percentage – of people who have filed Human Rights complaints are “loosers” and are any or none of them “good honest people” ? Please explain your allegations. Thank you.

      • Avatar

        Katie Reply Report comment

        January 31, 2013 at 3:43 pm

        http://www.humanrights.iowa.gov/

        They advocate for everything that has to do with equal rights, as well as some other projects, according to the state web site. I believe they hear complaints about equal housing, equal employment, harassment on the job, discrimination, and so on. I know that many people who call find out they do not have legitimate complaints, so it is actually good for employers because the employees find out they have to stop whining about things they don’t have a right to complain about. Employers can also call to make sure they are on solid ground before they implement new policies or if an employee is giving them a bad time about a policy the employer is sure is correct.

      • Avatar

        sickastupd Reply Report comment

        January 31, 2013 at 4:12 pm

        Thanks for the explanations. Now another question – what do they require funding for? Is it wages? Postage?

        If they are a liaison between the city and the state, or between the employee and employer, what is costing? Phone charges?

        I think Bookmeyer and Tornquist appear to be a pair of weasels, but I’m having a hard time understanding what this commission truly does that couldn’t be done just as effectively for much less.

        Anybody?

      • Avatar

        Katie Reply Report comment

        January 31, 2013 at 11:13 pm

        I don’t know where the office is, but let’s assume there is rent, utilities, wages. There would be people answering the phones, logging each call, what it was about, and how it was resolved. After all, the mayor wants all that information and someone must be paid to do that. I’m sure they must have computers to do research on certain issues. Copy machine, paper, forms to file complaints, record keeping, office supplies. Government is never cheap to operate. I have no idea how many paid employees there are. Why don’t you go check it out tomorrow and let the rest of us know. 🙂

  24. Avatar

    sickastupd Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Another question: Couldn’t this service by provided by a volunteer committee? What is costing so much?

  25. Avatar

    Reggie Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Matt I think your math is a little faulty. The net cost to the City is still $143,000 but they are getting $228,000 worth of service. You might say they are getting a bargain but they are still spending $143,000, just to clarify.

  26. Avatar

    sickastupd Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    I don’t have a stake in this, but can someone outline the duties of the Human Rights Commission?

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      January 30, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      One thing they do is help people who think they are being discriminated against or harassed in their decide if they actually are. I don’t think they actually defend them. They just analyze their complaint. I’m not positive but I think they are basically a liason between MC and the state commision. In other words saves time for complaners.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      January 31, 2013 at 11:01 pm

      sickastupid is not only an idiot but a liar!

  27. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    If the statues could talk, they would probably say that art is a great way to bring culture to the community, but some may wonder where the funding for such a program comes from.

    Steinberg said, “Some of the support is coming from a hotel/motel tax which is actually outside visitors that are coming into mason city. It’s the tax that they pay, so that’s some additional support there.”

    Also helping out are local businesses and donations from people who want to sponsor individual pieces for the year. There is no taxpayer money involved. The end goal is to eventually have the program stand up on it’s own. Just like these statues.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      January 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      This is a common re-gurgitated argument Bookmeyer and his cronies are using to justify robbing the $45K from the people and giving it to Queen Robin. The problem with the argument you are using is that the revenues in question from the hotel/motel tax could have gone to any number of other items/departments that are struggling within this budget, thus alleviating part of the $295K shortfall.

      For example, our library is in financial trouble. At this time, the library is coming to the council seeking dollars to keep it afloat; those dollars will come from this budget. I understand that the entire $45K could have gone to the library.

      Also, I really do not care about the goals of Robin’s sculpture boondoggle. She should have raised all the funds privately. If she had done so, I would be fine with 100 sculptures downtown.

      Finally, if sculptures could talk, I know the one that was in front of Scott Moorman’s store would be singing the blues. It was ripped off by vandals. How’s that for culture?

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        January 30, 2013 at 9:20 pm

        Do you know or realize there are state guidelines & laws that have to be followed when money is designated to projects in cities?

        • Avatar

          Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

          January 30, 2013 at 9:25 pm

          Did you not read the fact that the $45K could have gone to our financially-struggling library? Of course the hotel/motel tax can’t be used for just anything. It has to be used for certain items, and the library falls into that category… as do many other items in this budget besides Robin’s sculptures.

      • Avatar

        LVS Reply Report comment

        February 1, 2013 at 8:41 am

        @Matt-I read in your post that our library is in financial trouble and is seeking more funds to keep it afloat. Over and above Robin’s folly, I must ask how can this possible be. Didn’t we just put 9 million dollars into remodeling the library a few years ago? Did we pour money into a dead horse or is it just mismanaged? I read in the GLOB where the coffee shop that was operating there pulled out and have to assume it was because they were not getting enough business due to a lack of traffic. If the place can not be sustained maybe we should shut it down or reduce the size to something that will stay in budget.

    • Avatar

      armchair captain Reply Report comment

      January 31, 2013 at 12:49 am

      Matt,

      How much is the Blue Zone costing us?

      • Avatar

        Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

        January 31, 2013 at 11:52 am

        They won’t exactly say. Nothing in the budget says “blue zone” except minor expenses that show up in the council packets. But when they are mumbling from time to time, we hear that certain programs or projects have to be expanded to accommodate Blue Zones requirements. For example, pavement line painting, one of my favorites, has to be expanded to paint some bike lanes. I hear some trails have to be changed or added. Now, these are both things I like. With that being said, why not come out with a matrix of the projected costs and share them with the public? Because the public might not agree, and this is part of Eric’s legacy here in MC, and he does not want it fouled up or de-railed. So he would rather keep it a secret. Bookmeyer’s fake transparency ordinance and council vote (agendas and meeting minutes must be published to masoncity.net… but there have been no changes months later) failed because he and the council are actually hiding things like this from the public.

    • Avatar

      LVS Reply Report comment

      January 31, 2013 at 8:45 am

      @Anonymous-bring “culture” to Mason City my rear end. If you want to know what will bring “culture” it is decent jobs and low taxes. Because this money was spent on JUNK statues the Library is now looking to for money in taxes. If you want to but JUNK pay for it yourself. DO NOT USE MY TAXES.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        January 31, 2013 at 8:40 pm

        They DIDN’T use YOUR tax money! They used TOURISTS or people who stayed at motels. duuuuuuuh. And PRIVATE donations. So NONE of your money was used. MINE WAS! I DONATED. So stick your money you know where.

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          Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

          January 31, 2013 at 9:53 pm

          What an asinine argument. By that reasoning, anyone from out of town who shops in Mason City and pays the local option sales tax is a tourist and that money collected does not belong to Mason City. It’s all tax dollars collected, and all the dollars belong to the people of Mason City. The only difference is that some of it must be used in certain designated ways. For example, again, the hotel/motel tax has to go to “culture” … the library falls into that broad category.

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        Katie Reply Report comment

        January 31, 2013 at 9:47 pm

        The problem is that many lower-income taxpayers perceive the hotel/motel tax as money that could have been used a lot more productively than on sculptures. A lot of people are barely eking by on what they make and so is our city government. When taxpayers don’t have money to spend on luxuries, they don’t spend it, so they expect the government to show the same restraint. If you’re lucky enough to win the lottery or get “free money” from out-of -towners, you use it to pay for debt or things you need, not things you can live without. They are not considering “best use” for those funds. Where are all the liberals in this town and why aren’t they in an uproar about the demise of the HR Commission? Aren’t human rights ultimately more important than art? This town is cash poor. We can’t have both when the mayor and city council are unwilling to find additional and alternate financing.

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        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        January 31, 2013 at 11:44 pm

        Just like the idiots who say the tax rebates to businesses don’t cost any tax dollars.I want half of the property taxes every person in this town pays rebated. If this doesn’t cost the city any tax dollars they should have no problem making the budget. Any taxes the city collects is our money and giving it away to anyone for any reason costs me money!