Monday, February 25, 2008
Mille Lacs News Staff Writer
When it came to handing over
of your taxpayer money in tax abatement for NEXUS, a multi-million
dollar corporation based in Golden Valley, Minnesota, the Onamia city
council's vote was unanimous. Aye, aye, aye, aye, and aye. The abatement was
given to NEXUS, which made over $4 million in profits last year, to help
them build a large, unlocked sex offender facility on land annexed by the
city from Bradbury Township. Ignoring vigorous protests from citizens who
oppose the forced insertion of sex offenders into their neighborhood - next
to three daycare centers, next to elderly widows, next to vulnerable
disabled adults, and next to children, the Onamia city council bent
over backwards to keep sex offenders in the area.
They also honed down a building permit fee from $10,000 to a
mere $500, citing the lack of a city building inspector as the reason. Years
ago, when one of the councilmen owned the town lumber yard, the Onamia city
council opted against following a building code. Ironically, one of the
property owners opposed to the blatant spot-zoning proposed by the city, is
himself a building inspector.
Another $50,000 gift to Nexus was handed over by the city as
an incentive to help them get their five building sex offender institution
off to a good start.
In return, Nexus purchased 38 acres of the "finest swamp land
this side of the Mississippi" from the city for $150,000. But the city
didn't get to keep that money either. That money went to the Byes, the
previous owners of the wetlands which has caused so much controversy in the
But don't think that the Onamia city council is stupid or
irresponsible when it comes to your tax dollars. There was much discussion
about charging citizens 25 cents per page for meeting agenda packets and
city council meeting minutes. Other cities, as well as counties provide
these to the public for free. Most cities encourage people to get involved
in their local government. Not Onamia. It saw where it could make a few more
bucks off of the citizens. And of course, according to city clerk Kathy
McCullum, the only people who buy the agendas and minutes are the Nexus
opponents from Bradbury Township.
Bill Hill suggested that the agendas be free and available to everyone.
Councilman Bob Mickus (left) disagreed. He thought it would be alright for
Onamia city residents, but not for outsiders. In this case, outsiders would
include property owners adjacent to the sex offender facility, citizens who
have attended every meeting this past year while trying to stop this grave
injustice imposed by Councilman Bob Mickus et al.
Watch the video!
We could not find any other city in
Minnesota where people are charged for city council meeting agendas.