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Ray Rannfeldt

May 21, 2017
Reinbeck Courier

Dear Editor,

This editorial is in response to Ann Boyer's recent editorial and relates to her analysis of the daycare expansion proposal, our City Council's decision making skills and Ann's perception of our mayor, Tim Johnson.

The Ann Boyer, whom I assume is a member of the daycare expansion committee, proposes the City of Reinbeck provide $180,000.00 for daycare expansion and even goes so far as to say that recent donors to the city would be proud if their donations were spent in this manner. This begs the question as to why the donors did not donate directly to the daycare instead of the city?

When considering the proposed city's donation to the daycare expansion, the breakdown of this $180,000.00 donation is roughly $113.00 per man, woman and child in Reinbeck. For a family of four this means they would "donate," via their tax dollars, approximately $450.00. This is whether they believe in the daycare expansion or not. Additionally, we must not forget the G-R school system, another tax funded institution, is also donating a similar amount. So, in the final analysis, this family of four would spend approximately $900.00 to ensure the daycare expands. That may not seem like much but to many it is money some of our citizens simply do not have or are not inclined to spend in this manner. Oh, and we must not forget the daycare does not pay any taxes due to their corporate tax classification. So, in essence they want taxpayer dollars from the city's coffers but they put nothing back into them.

I believe the proposed daycare expansion costs be met by individual donations, grants, loans and/or a bond referendum. It seems completely appropriate to hold a bond referendum on funding the daycare expansion. In this manner, all citizens get to be heard, not just the daycare expansion committee.

Now let's consider the city's budget which remains extremely tight. A close look at the budget reveals that only city "needs" are adequately being met. Donating $180,000.00 to the daycare expansion, no matter where this money comes from, is money the city can use to better meet basic city needs. The daycare expansion is a "want," not a need. Our town has gotten along for decades without an expanded daycare center, and while the daycare is an asset to the community, its expansion is not a need. Reinbeck will not cease to exist if the daycare does not expand but it will cease to exist if the city does not meet its financial obligations. So, in the end, the decision is much the same as each person's personal budget; first you meet all your needs (house payment, insurances, foods, utilities, etc.) and then you look to your wants. The daycare expansion is a want and must be funded by other means.

Ann suggests our City Council is being lead by the nose by Tim Johnson. Most Council persons do not have the time to be intimate with all of the city's business and it has always fallen to the mayor and City Administrator to inform and guide the Council. Each Council member is fully capable of making decisions on their own. To imply that Tim Johnson dictates to them is an insult to every Council person. I will point out, however, that it was Tim that suggested a line item by line item review of the city's budget be completed to put spending back under control. He then worked long hours with Council members to reach a reasonable budget. It was also Tim who encouraged the Council to stop putting money it did not have into every outstretched hand. It was also Tim, with approval of the City Council, who made the long walk to the bank to seek a loan for the city when it was clear the city was going to file for bankruptcy. Tim is also the first to show up when extra help is needed by the city whether it be picking up after a storm or ensuring the park is ready for our July 4th celebration. In short, to insult and degrade Tim in a public forum such as this paper is not only in bad taste but also shows a severe lack of awareness about what Tim Johnson brings to Reinbeck's mayoral position. Tim is not the normal politician in his role as our mayor. He won't tell you what you want to hear or sugar coat things but he will tell you the truth and ensure you have all the facts to make your own decision.

My counter proposal to the city spending its limited tax dollars on the daycare expansion is simple: each of you reading this let your council person know your views on how to fund the daycare expansion and insist on a bond referendum to ensure everyone gets a chance to participate. It is your tax dollars being addressed in this daycare expansion proposal and you deserve a chance to be heard.

Ray Rannfeldt




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