consultants are sandburs

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ramsey City Council at it again. Raiding the funds to not raise the levy rate, but to fund what exactly? The Ramsey Foundation and "concerts" at "The Draw?" And the Landfill Trust fund, without trust?

This agenda business, from here online.

Purpose: Consider adoption of Ordinance #16-05 to Repeal and Replace Chapter 3 Section 3.40 of the City Code Entitled "City Funds" to update the status of the City Funds currently being utilized.

Background: The "City Funds" section of the city code was last amended September 2004. Since this time, some of the funds listed are currently no longer utilized, their sources and uses needed to be updated, or just their description needed to be amended.

The Proposed Ordinance was presented to the City Council at worksessions on March 22, May 2, and April 26, 2016. All changes presented at these worksessions have been incorporated.

Some of the major changes to be noted are as follows:

- Lawful Gambling Fund was amended to allow contributions to a 501(C)(3) Corporation whose purpose is to provide a benefit to the community in an amount not to exceed $5,000 annually.
- Landfill Expendable Trust is now known as the Landfill Fund as there are no restrictions on the use of this fund, so should not be labeled a trust fund. The cap amount was removed and any expenditure from this fund needs to be authorized by City Council.
- Park Maintenance Fund is now known as the Capital Maintenance Fund which allows for the fund to be used for unbudgeted maintenance needs related to all city needs, be it parks or facilities.

It looks like robbing Peter to pay Paul, where Peter's holding the long term cautious perspective. Money burn, hidden by such things can happen, and should not. It does look as if Trash Mountain is slumping in height, and whether there may be needs associated with the settling process seems to not be anybody's agenda item. Gee.

And what's that "Lawful Gambling Fund" business re a "501(c)(3) Corporation" mischief? If the self congratulating Ramsey Foundation muck-a-mucks want to pat each other on the back sponsoring this or that; let them pick up the tab. Not you, your family, while they bask in self created glory - such as it is.

If the agenda is not saying where precisely the money's going, than it's going to an arguably improper cause/place/pocket. Identify recipient beyond verbal hedging per "a 501(c)(3) Corportation."

Putting in an actual name would have used less letters, for Christ's sake. Sure it's only five grand, chump change relative to money flowed Tinklenberg, but there are principles involved in either case.

ALSO - A glide and slide here, re funds, ". . . their sources and uses needed to be updated, . . .". How does that grab you? The source of the Landfill Trust Fund has long been closed. Only its "uses" is getting jiggered.

Up front wording expresses up front motivations. Glide and slide also speaks as to intent.

1. Name the five grand recipient and the purpose.
2. Don't use the Landfill Trust Fund as a slush fund.

Best practices suggest those are practical and trustworthy steps. And Parks and Trails being the aim of having a parks fund seems fundamental too. It's an election year, whose seats are possibly being contested, and who's in favor vs. against such dipping into savings to pay the rent? And is it for "the rent" or for luxury without having to impose any luxury tax? Is it essential spending, or money for fluff? For somebody's private sector "Gee, wouldn't it be nice . . ." thinking with you picking up the tab?

If not the Ramsey Foundation, who? The DAR? Some ball league using Alpine Park wanting a subsidy? Who? What? Why? When?

Do you want more? There is the inherent vice [apologies to TP] of governments getting into land speculation, dating back to the Kurak term on council and the instigation of the Ramsey Town Center brainstorm; then to the plunge into the abyss with Matt Look, Bob Ramsey, and crew onboard buying the failed thing out of litigation; and now:


Lifestyle Construction Services LLC Purchase Agreement for OUTLOT A of Ramsey Town Center 8th Addition [PORTIONS MAY BE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC]


Explain to me, how can elected and appointed officials have accountability to the voting public over whether they are cutting smart or dumb deals, when the details of negotiation are shrouded in secrecy? That's a Trumpian theme, but independent of his candidacy, it is a fundamental fault in the Public Meeting Law to have an exception that you can drive a truck through. It hinges on the problem, a town board should not get itself into land speculation; and when in the past bone-headedness and other motivations got it there, why put transparency back-burner?

Last: They will be/are wanting tax money to fund a Town Center community center and a parking ramp, and that stuff is buried deep within an "objective questionnaire." NOTE: Page 2 mention "community center." Then see, Page 3, Number 7. Whoa - that also holds the "parking ramp" whammy, and if you cannot see the hidden agenda of Page 3, number 8, remember that Jim Deal is building his rentals overlooking the concretized rainfall holding ditch [a.k.a. "The Draw"] without having been required to build a parking ramp, because he like other developers would either not want one or would want to fob off the cost to public funding to subsidize private gain.

Then again; see, " . . . parking facilities," at final page 5, numbers 15 and 16.

How that questionnaire gets used; who responds within how wide a whole-town group (vs a mere homeowners association quizzing among Town Center dwellers) is a hell of a good question somebody should ask.

Not me. I've quit sometime ago on attending overly long and tedious meetings. Something the process favors. Bore them to death and they'll go away and leave us alone to tax and spend. Meetings were over long during Gamec times; Bob Ramsey's mayorial stint, and still ARE.

Yet, bottom line, do YOU want to pay for parking ramps and a community center at Town Center? Yes/no.

That would be a much simpler questionnaire, town-wide. Nobody needs five pages for that. The remainder of that questionnaire?

1. Ask Jim Deal.

2. Then: Ask those living at Town Center about its remaining vacant land, and the remaining aims and uses. It's their back yard. Not mine. The "nice shoppes and restaurants" fiction has been proven false, as false as John Feges' "Live, Work, Play," sloganeering. Coborns is helpful, with a postal outlet. Beyond that, what's Town Center done for you?

3. Do you want more? Page 4, number 11:

11. There is currently no Architectural Review Committee for the COR. Should it be re-established? Yes_____ No______ I don’t know_________

followed by, you don't want billboards do you, (even while they do act as an effective wind-break):

12. The City continues to get requests for signs up to seventy-five (75) feet and height and upwards of 300 square feet in height, requiring special permission from the City Council. Should the current sign regulations be reconsidered/revisited? Yes_____ No______ I don’t know_____________

That surely is tilting the playing field via wording. Fact is, after Flaherty, what does sensible architectural standards and "Architectural Review" mean?

Yes, no billboards, but the horse is gone on design good taste, so lock the barn door now???


BOTTOM LINE: Are five pages needed, if obfuscation is not an objective, in asking: Should all of Ramsey be tithed for stuff at Town Center, more spending there; and "who wants billboards?" If land developers [a.k.a. Crabgrass, which springs up all over and requires constant vigilance] want a community center and more ramp parking will they buy it rather than trying to fob it off on the entirety of the town's people, wherever living? See my number 1, above.

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