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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Council pay hikes are not warranted

Ward 2 Bemidji City Council member Roger Hellquist proposed to the mayor and council a 15 to 20 percent salary raise for the mayor and council, which sounds like they are all in agreement for this great pay raise.

Ward 2 Bemidji City Council member Roger Hellquist proposed to the mayor and council a 15 to 20 percent salary raise for the mayor and council, which sounds like they are all in agreement for this great pay raise.

Since the late 1990s the mayor and council have increased their salaries five fold.

We have a city manager who runs the city. We have a city attorney for legal items. We have a city finance officer. We have a city planner/engineer. We have a city clerk.

The five mentioned do the workload and make information and recommendations to the mayor and council for informed decisions, right or wrong.

Still the mayor and council complain that they are overworked and want more money.

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An example of a poor decision made by a mayor and council was building the “white elephant” on the south shore of Lake Bemidji called the event center.

Daily operation of the center is subsidized by the taxpayers (city general fund) at more than one-third of a million dollars per year. The yearly bond payment to pay for the construction of the event center is approximately two-thirds of a million dollars, paid for by local sales tax dollars collected through merchants. The Pioneer also reports that the event center is over budget by $150,000 through October of this year. Looks like the taxpayers will take another hit.

Now the mayor and council want a 15 to 20 percent salary increase. Just because their health care costs have increased, like everyone’s, the increase should not be laid on the taxpayers.

I have two suggestions:

The Pioneer print salary and per diem pay for the mayor and council through October 2016.

The charter commission meet and design an article for which a ballot decision be made by the voters to decide on salary (pay increases) for the mayor and city council members.

Henry “Hank” Moen Bemidji 

Related Topics: BEMIDJI CITY COUNCIL
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