"I would like to thank the County
with coming through with tax exemption." Thatís what mayor Larry Milton
of Onamia said 8 months ago. And you know what; today December 4th
they came through, not with tax exemption but tax abatement for Nexus. In
another farcical public hearing that means as much as winning the Nigerian
lottery. But they did it with more efficiency than the Onamia City
Council; there at least you can speak for more than a minute! I canít
believe that I am saying that the Onamia City Council meetings are far
more democratic than the County Board meetings! Wow! Talk about our
Constitutional rights being trashed.
We asked for a continuance because:
1. Our County Commissioner wasnít
there. Weíve never been represented. The property was annexed, zoned and
purchased by the City Council of Onamia, people that we canít vote out.
In a democracy, representation is not only essential but a right
guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. But apparently that
doesnít matter in Mille Lacs County.
2. We disputed the numbers used in
determining the amount of tax abatement. We wanted a clarification on the
information given. If an individual gives false information for public
assistance they are prosecuted. What about multi-million dollar
corporation that receives most of its income from tax payers? Nah! In
Mille Lacs County they are just given more points.
3. The amount of the abatement
($253,470) does not seem to equal the benefits to the County.
We opposed tax abatement for Nexus
because it would enable them to build their 94 bed juvenile sex offender
treatment center in the midst of our quiet residential neighborhood.
Destroying the lives of long time taxpaying residents with the traffic,
noise, lights, and runaways. Yes there are runaways, 4 so far this year,
with 15 police incidents with the inmates and staff. Nexus claims there
are none, zero, zip! Nexus said that if they didnít get tax exemption
they were leaving the county. Theyíre still here. Now they said if they
didnít get tax abatement they were leaving the county. Does anyone
believe that? Apparently our County Commissioners did! We hoped that if
they didnít get the tax abatement they would leave. It was our last
The county uses a point system for
granting tax abatement. More points more years for abatement. For
instance in order for Nexus to create the 24 teaching jobs, the school
district will lose 15 jobs, done, fired, boom! Now that is a net gain of
9 jobs, not 24. Now Nexus can hire them back and claim them as new
hires. I wouldnít want to be the one to explain that to those unionized
teachers and staff. Maybe Commission Chairman Peterson could do it in
less than a minute or Commissioner Courteau could tell them they could
come and teach in his back yard! They might get hired back or they might
not, depending on if they meet Nexusí requirements (be able to lift 50lbs
and be able to restrain their students). The item about hurting the
environment - well, there is significant reason to worry about that.
Storm water on that large 163 car parking lot, and built up 38 acres will
drain directly in the Rum River without treatment but that doesnít matter
to the county - thatís a three pointer!
Anyway, we had a 22 point discrepancy
which would leave Nexus far short of the number needed for tax abatement.
We wanted a little time to get to the truth. But that request was
smashed just like our property values will be. The total of the property
values that will be lost is at least three times the abatement given. The
county says it is a contract and if they donít meet the requirements of
the contract the deal is void. But by that time the ground has been
clear-cut, the buildings built and Nexus is here to stay.
So I to would like to
thank the County, for now with 1 teacher or teachersí aide for every 4
boys at the academy, we will have the best educated convicted sex
offenders from other counties and states. Mille Lacs County kids should be