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Good news for city finances

Cheers to Detroit Lakes , which received some good economic news at the City Council meeting Wednesday, with new construction up considerably over last year, and sales at the city-owned liquor store up 5 percent over last year.

Construction is up

First, the building report: Through July the city has issued 267 building permits for projects with a total value of about $15.2 million.

That’s up from 207 projects valued at $9.8 million the same time period last year.

It’s comparable to the 280 projects valued at $15.3 million for the same period in 2012.

The permits for this year include 24 for new single-family residential houses, with a total value of $5.9 million.

There were 140 permits for residential repair and remodeling projects, totaling $3.4 million.

There was one permit for a $2 million apartment project.

There were five permits for new commercial buildings, totaling $1.4 million.

There were 30 permits for commercial repair and remodeling projects, with a total value of $1.9 million.

There were 55 permits for fences and signs with a total value of $421,000.

Other permits included five new residential garages with a total value of $183,000 and seven sheds with a total value of $39,000.

Liquor sales higher

The municipal liquor store reported year-to-date sales of $3.2 million through July, up from about $3 million over the same period last year.

July sales of $758,300 accounted for about a quarter of this year’s total.


Jeers to the militarization of local law enforcement around the country, which has become more heavily armed through partnerships with the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.

It’s bad enough that used military equipment like armored troop carriers is going to civilian police departments, but a large share of that equipment is being purchased new.

One of the key programs, the 1033 Program, allows the Defense Logistics Agency under the Department of Defense to transfer military equipment to civilian police.

What President Eisenhower called the “military-industrial complex” is in full bloom here.

In June, the House of Representatives voted on an amendment from Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) that sought to partially defund the 1033 Program. The amendment failed on a bipartisan vote of 62-355.

According to MapLight, representatives voting to continue funding the 1033 Program have received, on average, 73 percent more money from the defense industry than representatives voting to defund it.

Fifty-nine representatives received more than $100,000 from the defense industry from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2013.

Of those only four supported defunding the 1033 Program.

As the American Civil Liberties Union noted in a recent report, “it appears that the DLA can simply purchase property from an equipment or weapons manufacturer and transfer it to a local law enforcement agency free of charge.”

The ACLU says that 36 percent of the equipment transferred under the program is brand new.

Under the program, $450 million worth of military equipment was distributed to the states in 2013 alone.

This program is solution looking for a problem – civilian policed don’t need heavy military equipment – it’s not a good use of defense spending or taxpayer dollars, and it needs to stop.