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Letter: Tell council to cut EDC reserve

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The West Central Tribune’s Nov. 27 online edition carried a report from the Reuters News Service, “2013 farm income highest in U.S. in 40 years.” Other highlights: net farm income has been on an upward trend for over a decade; the rise in production expenses is slowing; farm asset values are outpacing farm debt; farm equity, including land values, are growing strongly; and strong commodity prices, coupled with low interest rates, bode well for continued robust health in the agricultural sector.

How much evidence must be presented to show that the Kandiyohi County-City of Willmar Economic Development Commission has no business devoting resources to agricultural growth anymore? It’s time to turn our attention to the soft areas of our economy, such as manufacturing.

What’s more, adding insult to injury, the executive board of the EDC, led by members from the Board of County Commissioners, asks Willmar’s taxpayers to pay a tax levy to run the agency, while holding $700,000 of our money in a non-dedicated slush fund?

How did this slush fund grow to nearly three-quarters of a million dollars without hard questions?

As a board member of the EDC Operations Board who has broad experience in government and business, I have studied this situation for eight months and find the entire situation intolerable.

I have a proposition for my fellow taxpayers. Since the EDC’s executive board refuses to return taxpayer money it has no business holding in the first place, let’s do it for them. I propose the Willmar City Council takes decisive action to reverse and rescind its approval of the 2014 EDC tax levy, and compel the agency to live on its reserve fund until it spends down to the minimum level required by state law.

If my fellow taxpayers agree that this makes sense, please contact your City Council member and Mayor Yanish and tell them so.

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