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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Back at it...

A lot has happened during my blogging hiatus for Christmas, the New Year, and end of the year craziness at work. Hopefully posts will become more frequent and regular. 2007 looks to be a very eventful year and Boots On will strive to provide relevant commentary.

One loose end from last year is the final New Brighton budget and subsequent levy. It was a pleasant surprise to see an additional $135K cut from the budget in the last City Council meeting of the year at which the final budget was set and approved.

Council members Bauman and Doffing continued their advocacy for the taxpayers of the city by pointing out and proposing the elimination of wasteful spending. And to give credit where credit is due, Council Member Mary Burg, who generally votes with the big spenders, came up with a creative way to allow city employees to get their proposed 3% cost of living adjustment raise (which is about twice what the private sector as a whole gets) while offsetting the excessive cost through giving employees eligible for a performance bonus paid time off rather than additional cash. All-in-all, the final budget was about as good as could be hoped for, given the current make-up of the council.

In addition to the budget, the council also took on the question of invoking eminent domain regarding the Ferrell Gas property in the Northwest Quadrant. Before the vote on whether or not to start ED proceedings to acquire the property Council Member Doffing expressed her concerns that the city resorts to using eminent domain far too easily and often. She questioned some of the attorneys involved in the process how the city could have promised developers land that it did not own. After much convoluted reasoning and logical tap-dancing it came out that the "promise" was based on a "best effort" by the city to acquire the property through an amicable deal with the owner, with the full knowledge that the big hammer of eminent domain would always be available if necessary.

The bottom line was that the NW Quadrant project would not be stopped or significantly inconvenienced by a hold-out land owner and the city would do whatever it took to acquire it. Doffing pointed out that the action the city was taking was legal only due to a grandfathering loophole in the new state eminent domain law that had passed by a wide margin with strong bi-partisan support. When all was said and done, the city continued its legacy of using the force of government to take the property on the usual 3-2 vote, with Doffing and Bauman standing up for property ownership rights.

2007 promises to be a trying year for conservatives. With all of the liberals elected last fall there will undoubtedly be a legislative assault on limited government, fiscal responsibility, responsible social policy, individual rights and freedoms, national sovereignty, and a strong defense at both the state and national levels. We must remain vigilant and active in the political process to minimize the damage that an unchecked liberal agenda will cause.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is sure refreshing the finally see councilmember Mary Burg FINNALLY do something like she said she'd do by keeping the taxpayers in mind at the near close of this budget session. This is why I had originally voted for her in the first place. Can only hope she won't continue with her bandwagon cow-towing with the mayor and Hoffman the rest of this new year.

1/09/2007 12:07 AM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

I also voted for Burg when she ran four years ago and campaigned on fiscal responsibility. Although she has been a disappointment overall she stepped up to the plate and hung in there at the last council meeting, at least in regard to the budget (she unfortunately was also the the deciding vote on the Ferrel Gas eminent domain resolution). I contacted her after the meeting and expressed my thanks for her actions on the budget.

Burg is up for re-election this year along with Mayor Larson and Council Member Hoffman. She doesn't seem to be as hard-core lefty as Larson and Hoffman and appears to want to do the right thing for the city. In the past she seems to have been swayed by Larson, Fulton, and Hoffman but hopefully has seen the light and will move toward conservative thinking this spring and summer in the run-up to the election.

With all three of the libs on the council having to face the voters this year the residents of New Brighton have an opportunity to begin cleaning up the train wreck that the liberal dominated council has created over the last ten years or so. It will be interesting to see if all of them choose to run and defend their record or decide to run away as it appears that Fulton and Troha did.

1/09/2007 8:08 AM  
Blogger G-man said...

Funny how a loophole in the law favors Big Government at the expense of the "little guy".

Come election season, voters should be reminded that Burg, Hoffman, and Larson voted to defy the spirit of the new Eminent Domain law by legally stealing the Ferrel Gas land for the benefit of Big Developer.

1/12/2007 2:40 PM  

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