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Letter: What is happening with Albert Lea?

Maybe someone in this once fine prosperous city that has gone to the dogs can tell me why? As a younger person, I came here to visit relatives, thinking it would be a fine place to live. I grew up in Owatonna, which has grown and prospered under the leadership of some homegrown people. Because of looking to the future and good planning and tax breaks, that city has many established and growing businesses, while Albert Lea continues to lose business. In the 20 years, I have seen at least that many places have closed their doors and others that would come here if they had support from our city council.

I have invested a large amount of money in the home I purchased, most all of which was from local businesses — new furniture, furnace, water heater, air conditioner, floor tile lumber, paint, several windows and sundry items to make my home a better place to live. With the help of grandsons, carpet and a porch, for which I got a building permit. A permit that now after having it OKayed by an inspector have been informed is not OK to finish. I have the material bought locally but am not allowed to finish the work. Of course it is now the middle of cold weather, so outside work is hard to do.

Also, has anyone seen the new proposed tax for the coming year? Mine has gone up again and our homestead credit down. It seems someone has come up with a new scheme to make the homeowner carry the most of the burden! Why? We have no tax base in the city. No longer do we have businesses to balance the tax between homeowners and any kind of industry that we need here.

What is going on in City Hall? I think as I have said before, we need more Minnows in city government, not so many big fish! Someone for all the people, not just the sharks! I would like to see this city prosper, not stagnate as in the last few years. As a volunteer at past fairs, barbecues and history teacher at the Big Island Rendezvous, I have heard much of the same commentary from local people.

Perchance we need to pay more attention to what goes on in City Hall and at the polls at elections. As a citizen, that is not only a privilege but a duty in your community — not just two minutes at a meeting to voice your concerns about the city where you live.

Once again a concerned citizen,

Jim Jirele

Albert Lea