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Not enough room

April 28, 2009 - Meg Alexander
Sometimes in the newspaper business, there simply isn't enough room in the paper for a reporter to include everything she would like to include. Online, however, that's not the case.

Here is what I originally wrote for today's article on Fairmont building a new liquor store, essentially recording a discussion that took place during Monday's meeting between City Administrator Jim Zarling and Jim Hardt, a citizen who has frequently dissented with the council on this topic. LGA refers to local government aid. I thought this was important since Hardt presented several interesting points, as did Zarling as he clarified some misunderstandings. Without further ado ...

"I would like to see the council come up with a plan on replacing the LGA, whether it's raising taxes or cutting services, before taking action on spending this type of money," Hardt said. "... This money could be used to offset the loss in LGA."

Zarling explained that the city has frozen all capital replacements until hearing what the cuts will be.

"As you know," he said, "the state Legislature is still in session."

The governor's proposal for balancing the state budget includes cuts to LGA; however the Senate's proposal does not.

"Part of the problem we have at this point is that we don't know what those cuts are going to be," Zarling said.

"What you're proposing, if I understand correctly, is to take a million dollars and spend it all at once to help solve the state's budget problem," he said. "That, in my opinion, is an irresponsible use of funds. Once it's gone, it's gone. By reinvesting the money, it's available to continually support the community."

Hardt then said he was concerned with Fairmont's image, with the city choosing to place a liquor store near a medical clinic off of State Street.

"What will people think, coming into town?"

It seems the property owners in the area don't mind, however.

"We actually sat down with the existing property owners to approve design of plan," Zarling said. "... While you may not think it's proper, the other building owners feel it is."

Mayor Randy Quiring told Hardt he will be surprised how nice the liquor store will look in its new location.

"We understand you are not for this Jim. You've made your point perfectly clear."


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