County needs to freeze spending in hard times

Published 8:48 am Thursday, December 11, 2008

My letter dated Nov. 13, 2008, to John Kluever, administrator for Freeborn County, outlined my concerns regarding Albert Lea’s Tribune article “County hears salary desires.”

Companies large and small are downsizing, jobs eliminated, salaries and benefits frozen. For example: 3M was the latest to announce plans for a salary freeze and a cut of 1,000 jobs. Auto dealerships are closing and on and on. Minnesota faces a “shortfall” of billions in tax revenue in 2009-2010. St. Paul Pioneer Press Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008, stated, “Minnesota’s cities prepare to tighten belt for 2009, many fear loss of state aid for basic services,” “Red ink ahead: Pawlenty expects a deficit within months.”

Freeborn County commissioners, except Commissioner Dan Belshan, perhaps do not reside on planet Earth. Officers and employees of Freeborn County and the city of Albert Lea must bite the bullet. They should be thankful to have a job. My proposed property tax for 2009 percent of change is 2.6 percent. However, my taxable market value for 2009 remains the same as 2008 market value. I will be paying property taxes based on a market value that does not exist in today’s real estate market.

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Property taxes are high enough. Interest rates are at an all time low. Retirement plans — IRAs, 401(k)s — are declining in value. Where in the heck is the Freeborn County administrator and commissioners getting the additional funds to pay for the salary and benefits as proposed. Of course, silly me, the public trough. Now that it’s winter and people are freezing, so should the freeze be acted upon by the county commissioners.

Robert Mares

Albert Lea