Burlington treasurer: We have plenty of money
This is in response to a letter from Mr. Gary Larsen to the Frazee Forum on July 15th. It is impossible to address all of the comments in the letter so I have chosen only to address those I consider misleading or erroneous. Words in italics are taken directly from Mr. Larsen's letter.
"Where's the Money"
After August the Burlington Township checkbook will be Zero! The savings reserve will be zero! Property tax distribution will be zero! Burlington Township will not be able to pay insurance, the snow removal, the electric bill, or even the Internal Revenue Service.
1. On June 26, the Bremer Bank listed the checking account of the township as $37,757.99 and Township reserves, contained in a Money Market account as $120,859.84 for a total of $158,617.83. On July 1, the township received $217,003.13 from Becker County for the first installment of the township's annual tax levy. This gave the township funds $375,620.96 on that date. Estimated bills to be paid in July and August amount to $20,000.00 leaving the township with a projected balance of approximately $355,620.96 on August 31.
2. Sometime after Sept. 1, the township will be obligated to pay the cost of the contractor presently working on the Eagle Lake Road project. With a cost of $261, 631.83, township funds remaining will be $93,989.13.
3. In Dec., the township will receive approximately $200,000 from Becker County for the final allocation of the 2009-2010 tax levy. The total of $293,989.13 is judged as sufficient to meet all township obligations during this fiscal year. In my six years as township treasurer, we have never been late or missed a payment of any bill or other obligation and I see no problem meeting all obligations during the coming year including insurance, electric bills and the IRS.
4. The financial statements of the Township are available at all township meetings and upon request
"Show Me the Money"
The taxes for the Burlington Township has more than doubled in the last two years.
1. The tax levy for fiscal year 2009-2010 did increase by $150,000 to cover part of the costs of the Eagle Lake Road project.
2. The approved tax levy for fiscal year 2010-2011 was reduced by $120,000 from the previous year.
Follow the Money
"The component of taxes that would have been used for gravel, dust control and early winter snow removal has been totally consumed by the Eagle Lake Road paving projects. This was a choice of reckless spending in spite of overwhelming rejection by the annual meeting voters with record breaking attendance.
1. I know of no Township in the state of Minnesota that has the funds necessary to meet all of the needs facing those served. Thus it becomes necessary for a duly elected board to set priorities. Setting of priorities always brings dissent. Such is the case of the Eagle Road project.
2. In selecting Eagle Lake the following was considered:
a. The road had not received major alterations for 31 years;
b. The road, in some places was considered unsafe.
3. Once the Board of the township selected Eagle Lake Road, the additional levy funds were approved at the 2008 Annual Meeting. The full levy was then registered by Becker County. Bids were then requested on the project with work to begin in July of 2009. Thus action suggested to stop the project at the 2009 annual meeting was ill timed.
4. The reason for the statement in Mr. Larsen's letter referring to the Eagle Road project running in front of the Chairperson's home is left to those reading this letter.
In closing, I felt it necessary to respond to Mr. Larsen's letter because of the many statements that questioned the competency and or integrity of the Township Board. I have served as Treasurer of this Board for over six years and have watched a dedicated group of persons on the previous board (Kathleen Froelich, Chairperson, David Green, Everette Hoskins, Angie Ewanika, Clerk), receiving little compensation, doing the best that they can in meeting the needs of all that live in the township and not a selected few.