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Letter: Zeman has been a budget watchdog -- keep him on the DL City Council

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opinion Detroit Lakes, 56501

Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Ron Zeman is a bright light on the City Council.

Ron questions whether the decisions of the Council will benefit the constituents -- is it right for Detroit Lakes, is it cost-friendly and financially sound, is it necessary, is it prudent?

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He doesn't automatically nod his head 'yes.'

Attending council and special meetings during the Simison debacle was an eye opener.

Soon it was apparent that there were about three council members who were watchdogs for the constituents.

These members were determined that the issues be discussed and that there was not blanket approval; these members were present to vote independently as they served the taxpayer.

One of these council members who represented you was Ron Zeman. He does have you in mind -- he doesn't automatically nod his head 'yes.'

Ron Zeman is opposed to tax increases. He resists raising property taxes to fund city development.

Instead, he advocates finding commercial developers who will offer good paying jobs. The city tax increase of 15.5 percent in 2008 has been enough.

Ron is opposed to using tax dollars to build a conference center.

RDG was hired at a total cost of $80,000 to design the Gateway project for Detroit Lakes. (The conference center study cost $34,245 and the general Gateway study cost $45,755.)

Forty-nine percent of the $80,000 is paid from grant money and 51 percent is paid by you, the local taxpayer.

If this project were approved, my understanding is that the conference center would cost $500,000 a year to operate and would bring in only $300,000.

Bonds would be floated for funding. Bonds are loans with interest expense. This is a beautiful plan, but it is not economically feasible at this time.

Because of Ron's ability to serve well on the council, it was surprising to learn that he had served only one term. Ron is already a strong positive veteran of government. He does listen to people and supports openness in government.

Ron is definitely a great choice for City Council in our city of Detroit Lakes. You may feel good about your vote for Ron.

(Doug Friendshuh is another candidate who appears to be fiscally conservative and a steward

of assets.) -- Ardis R. Hanson, Detroit Lakes

(The letter was also signed by David P. Hanson)

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