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Letter: Willmar Charter debate clarified

I feel I must respond to the letter to the editor from Charlie Oakes concerning the Willmar Charter Commission considering a local businessman/woman who pays taxes on their business property and any fees associated, be able to serve on a board or commission in the city of Willmar.

It sounds like Mr. Oakes is afraid that the commission is thinking about allowing absentee business owners to serve on boards or commissions. This couldn't be farther from the truth.

Even if the commission would start to discuss this issue, which we haven't, as I myself only mentioned it as a point of interest after a question from a business owner in town who probably pays more taxes and fees than any five homeowners. Also this property owner would be paying for the police, fire, and other local services to renters, who pay no property taxes unless the landlord adds it to their rent.

The outgoing mayor, Les Heitke, is the person who seems to keep bringing this issue up for what real reason other than to incite fear among the citizens. There are many more serious issues within the charter that are being discussed with the council members. Nowhere in this document that is being discussed (city charter) is there mention of change of residency requirements to serve on a board or commission.

Mr. Oakes, for you to think that the mayor or council would appoint someone to a board or commission who would be a detriment to the city is per distrust of your elected officials. Also only a hands-on owner of any business if anything would be offered could be considered. For you to think that the Charter Commission would even think of letting absentee business owners or corporations serve is pretty demeaning to the commission members.

This issue was brought up at our Dec. 7 meeting and was tabled, to be brought up at a later date, after we finish the business at hand.

Please get your facts from a commission member before going off on them.

John L. Sullivan Charter Commission member Willmar