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23 March 2011
at 6:58 p.m.
We don't need a second fire station. There is extra money there and they want to spend it (because if they don't they lose it). I'm pretty sure the mill levy increase was to buy equipment, which has been purchased. It is almost laughable that a town of this size that is not growing would build a second fire station (until you realize that it will probably happen unless people intervene).
23 March 2011
at 2:21 p.m.
As someone with small kids, the high school pool is not something that interests me very much. It does seem that we have an excellent swimming program, however, and obviously the pool is necessary for that to continue. $240,000 to operate for two years (plus the $70,000 in operating costs) seems like a lot of money when core services (i.e. teaching) are being cut. If they decide to continue operating the pool, they might as well add in the extra money to make the pool viable for the next 15-20 years.
On another note, I would love to have a year round pool that my kids could enjoy. Right now, we typically travel to Meeker to use the rec center there. I wonder how practical it would be to enclose and heat the city park pool. I wonder if the plan to expand would include some sort of accommodation for small children. Probably just wishful thinking considering budgets right now.
11 March 2011
at 12:12 p.m.
I will do my best to respond to the letter. Impeachment is a drastic option. Only two presidents have faced impeachment proceedings: Jackson and Clinton (Nixon resigned before the proceedings went anywhere). Neither one was actually removed from office (the efforts failed with a senate vote). Nothing you have identified comes close to an impeachable offense. Reason 1: Every president I can think of has “failed to secure the southern border.” Surely, that cannot be a reason to impeach a president. Reason 2: The United States frequently sues states and vice versa. (See U.S. v. California, Maine, Louisiana, etc..) When there is an issue regarding federal versus state powers (such as the power to regulate immigration) that's how it gets sorted out. That is no reason to impeach. Demanding people get health insurance may or may not be unconstitutional. Different judges have decided that question differently. Just about every President (and congress) has passed a law that was unconstitutional. This is why there are separation of powers. But it is no reason to impeach. Finally, nationalizing industries: railroads have been nationalized, the production of money has been nationalized, gold has been nationalized, savings and loans have been nationalized, airport security has been nationalized, the Tennessee Valley Authority is nationalized. Again, that is not reason for impeachment.
I don't think you need to agree with President Obama's policies to think that impeachment (the removal by congress of someone elected by the people) is not called for (at least in what is written in this letter). I wish people realized that the extreme rhetoric on either side of the political spectrum is harmful to a nation that needs to solve some serious problems.
5 March 2011
at 8:26 p.m.
Why is this being printed in a newspaper. Have you guys been learning negotiating skills through the saga of trading Carmelo Anthony? And yes, this is a more than reasonable proposal. I hope the city council jumps on it. If not, I for one will remember that come election day.
4 March 2011
at 9:09 a.m.
$2.44 at Ski Haus Conoco… I'm going there.
28 February 2011
at 9:37 a.m.
I appreciate that the school is facing difficult decisions. I am surprised that they have decided to cut so much from core services of the schools by reducing employees (i.e. teachers). I agree with other posts that certain sports might be cut or reduced (by reducing traveling games or other expenses, such as operating a leaky pool). I agree you can't cut all sports, but you can try to tighten the budget to some extent by looking at those programs.
One thing that has not been addressed is collaborative time. The collaborative time that the district pushed on everyone last year should be cut. We are paying teachers for the time they spend talking with each other. We are even sending students home to do this. Even if there is a benefit to this program, at a time when you have to cut the budget, I would rather pay teachers for the time they are in the classroom. I think you can facilitate collaboration through an online forum much more efficiently than requiring all teachers to meet together, and you can certainly reduce the impact of this program by scaling it way back. School administrators basically forced this upon everyone and now they want to cut teachers rather than collaborative time.
18 February 2011
at 3:29 p.m.
I'm torn. GreyStone is right that some companies have developed frac'ing fluids that are probably pretty safe to use. However, there's no requirement (as far as I know) that exploring companies use those materials. Absent a requirement, companies will use whatever is most efficient (a combination of cheapest and most effective) because they are businesses. They will also factor in risks of lawsuits to their bottom line, but I don't think it is a big factor. It is incredibly hard to trace contamination of water supplies, even from factories dumping straight into a river. Imagine proving that the fluids injected a mile or so underground somehow leached into a water supply (and doing that against the almost unlimited funds for law firms of energy companies). I agree there should be a safe buffer between water sources/watersheds and frac'ing (not necessarily towns). I don't have any idea how large that buffer should be. If I had a well, I would be pretty scared if I knew there were frac'ing for oil or gas near it.
On the other hand, it is irresponsible to consume energy (which we all do) and to oppose domestic exploration of energy at all costs. I think domestic energy production should be pursued. There is probably a way to do this without poisoning us all. I think the real problem is that nobody trusts our politicians enough to believe they will actually implement good controls. (And we all know that energy companies have a ton of money… and there are no longer any limits on how much they can contribute to political campaigns thanks to our dear Supreme Court).
18 February 2011
at 2:51 p.m.
This is a non-profit organization. They are providing a service based on their mission… they are not operating the pool because it is a good business idea. The problem with simply raising fees is that it would become too expensive to use the pool for the few individuals that use it. Thus, they wouldn't be fulfilling their mission in that regard. If this were a business, it would simply close up shop. However, because they have a mission that the pool helps them to fulfill, they are willing operate a losing business venture to support that mission, and are seeking donations so that the pool can continue to run. That's how the nonprofit sector works and I think that's great. Unfortunately, I'm in the “small child” stage of life, so this pool doesn't help me out much and I'm not the target audience for the Foreign Legion. I wish them the best, but won't be much help myself.
10 February 2011
at 9:43 a.m.
I think everyone realizes that law enforcement needs to be in one building. The city's plan is to organize a “workshop” to discuss building a separate police station. This is called posturing. It is not really an option they are exploring right now. The way you really figure out what a new police station would cost is by hiring a general contractor to draw up plans consistent with the needs of the police department. In my mind, the city isn't really exploring this option at all yet. Just posturing.
It seems like everyone here seems to believe the commissioners are at fault here. This article doesn't have enough information for me to decide. In order to make up my mind, I would need to know: 1. What was the original bill for building the public safety center. 2. How much would it cost to build a separate police station with similar accommodations. 3. What are the annual operating costs that the city would pay anyways if they buy.
I do have enough information to make up my mind about one thing. The city is being entirely unreasonable to say “we're paying for it again.” This is not a “double purchase.” The city agreed to pay rent. Rent is wasted money. It doesn't count against a future purchase. Everyone knows this. If you want it to count against a future purchase, you negotiate a “rent to own” or “lease with an option to purchase” deal. That's not what the city bargained for initially. The city wants special rules to apply to it because… well… I don't know why. Because they are a governmental entity? Huh. Had they been renting a private building and said, “oh, all that money we paid in rent should count towards a purchase now” the private owner would still be laughing.
9 February 2011
at 2:03 p.m.
Tax breaks are about creating winners and losers. In this case, farmers, ranchers, and farm/ranch equipment dealers are the winners. The losers are everyone else. Either taxes will have to increase for everyone else or services will have to be cut.
Although the ballot measure will ask if farm/ranch equipment sales should be exempt from the county sales tax, it could be asked in another way: are you willing to pay extra taxes (or receive fewer services) so that farmers and ranchers can be exempt from paying county sales tax on equipment?
My answer is that I'm not sure. I recognize public value to farming/ranching, as i enjoy the open space, the habitat to wildlife, and the contribution of these lands to hunting. I also eat. I appreciate being able to afford that habit. So I might be willing to make a sacrifice on behalf of this industry.
However, I don't know how much of a difference a 2% break will make if we are currently 5-7% more expensive here. I think farmers/ranchers will still buy expensive equipment elsewhere. My guess is that it won't change behavior much at all, but will just eliminate the taxes on the equipment that is bought here anyways. In that sense, we are just creating a benefit to farmers/ranchers and local equipment dealers without really changing where people get their equipment.
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