From: Doug Spencer
I attended the recent Wabasha County Boardís Budget Town Hall Meeting in Wabasha. Candidate Springer also attended, promoting his illusion of a budget focus by repeatedly asking about a small reserve fund that was already explained very well. Springer went on to suggest ways to coerce Winona County Commissioners to fill our underutilized CJC with their prisoners, in contraindication with Winona County policies providing their Sheriff sole discretion regarding boarding. Apparently, when Springer pushed to build the CJC as commissioner, he hadnít considered that Wabasha county is a low crime area and did not properly size the facility for current and future needs. He also hadnít considered transitioning out of the old courthouse, so taxpayers are now stuck paying to operate both locations, with limited ability to consolidate certain operations to the new location.
We donít need more taxpayer-funded monuments to political absurdity. The CJC is now a prominent area landmark that tends to make outsiders considering locating to the area concerned about possible rampant crime here. Why else would we need such a large facility for such a small community, if our crime levels didnít require it? That it is largely unused makes it even more absurd. It scares away potential residents, increases the taxpayer burden to fund and operate it, and decreases property values. We could have saved a lot of money by either making the old location compliant and/or contracting with neighboring areas to meet our minimal boarding needs, rather than commit to this ongoing expense.
After Commissioner Springerís puffery completed, other taxpayers were able to participate. I mentioned that several Minnesota counties meet their Human Services mandates, while spending half what we do. Bringing that department in line with those frugal counties can save one million dolllars annually from our budget. Other departments can also be improved for significant savings. We need commissioners who advocate saving our tax dollars by understanding issues, not those who waste our time and tax dollars promoting their agenda.