Local Gov't Accountability Roundup: 9/14/11

ANOKA COUNTY: Board Approves Historic PropertyTax Levy Cut  Despite substantial reductions in state support, the Anoka County Board doubles down to cut the property tax levy by more than seven percent, the first reduction in some 30 years. “This levy is a direct reflection of our community and our mission,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Rhonda Sivarajah. “Our mission is to be respectful, innovative, and fiscally responsible, and we are accomplishing this by recognizing that our residents don’t deserve to be taxed any more, and frankly, they can’t take it.” 

GRAND FORKS/E. GRAND FORKS: Striking American Crystal Sugar Workers Turn to Jobs Fair  A month and a half into a lockout, several American Crystal Sugar workers were among the 350 attendees at a regional job fair. While many workers locked-out from plants in Minnesota collect unemployment benefits, not so for workers from North Dakota. Increasingly more strikers appear to be dividing their time between the picket lines and looking for work elsewhere.

ALEXANDRIA: Entrepreneurial Boot Camp Coming to Alex Technical and Community College  There may be no drill sergeants at this September 22nd boot camp, but there will be lots of drills for individuals interested in finding out the basics on starting and growing a successful small business. Local business professionals will join the technical and community college staff and others on how to go to work for yourself and survive in a down economy.

WELCOME: Un-Welcome Proposal to Double Fire Fees for Nearby Townships  While residents of the affected townships expressed praise for Welcome firefighters, but that when times are tough it all comes down to money. The money would be dedicated to an equipment fund. "We're still paying for two more years on the last truck that was purchased," said Nathan Hanson of Fox Lake Township. "We can't afford to put any more in until that first truck is paid off."

ZUMBROTA: Local Bus Ridership Shoots Up What’s going on? The Hiawathaland Public Transit program in Zumbrota has seen a significant spike in ridership through July 1, 2011 over the same six months over 2010--a forty percent increase in ridership. Good timing given the city needs to buy another bus next year and already has its share of the funds in the bank.

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