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LETTER: Override council's foolishness with 'no' vote

To the Editor: I am extremely happy the residents of Mitchell are getting an opportunity to override the foolishness of the City Council and former mayor, who approved spending $6 million of taxpayer dollars for a new indoor swimming pool that wi...

To the Editor:

I am extremely happy the residents of Mitchell are getting an opportunity to override the foolishness of the City Council and former mayor, who approved spending $6 million of taxpayer dollars for a new indoor swimming pool that will be utilized by a minority of our residents and prove to be costly to the vast majority of our residents.

After attending the forum regarding the proposed indoor pool, it is clear the swim team organization, Mitchell Aquatic Center, is not telling all the truth. I attended City Council meetings, and members pledged the MAC organization would donate $1 million to the city to help offset the cost of building the pool, a non-binding, non-enforceable pledge from members of MAC, and $1 million from BID (a room fee or tax) with the hotels in Mitchell. It was not cash-in-the-bank or a letter of credit.

The city is doing two lease purchase bonds for $1 million each. One to cover the MAC pledge, and one to cover the BID pledge. The city will pay the interest on the total $2 million, estimated to be anywhere between $400,000 to $500,000 over the next 15 years, approximately, to pay off those two bonds.

That interest is taxpayer dollars - the $6 million the city now has is also taxpayer dollars. MAC says there will be no tax increases for this pool. Where do they think the $6 million came from? It is taxpayer dollars already collected. There will be more tax dollars collected to pay for the annual operational cost, estimated to be $86,620, with some estimates being as high as $165,000.

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The chamber says the indoor aquatic facility "will enhance the business environment and the quality of life in the Mitchell area," and has endorsed the plan for the aquatic facility. But the MAC membership has dropped over the past four years from 185 to 50. When former Mayor Ken Tracy cast the deciding vote for the aquatic center, he did a disservice for the residents of Mitchell. Now Mitchell can rectify it by voting "no" on Dec. 8.

Dale Houchin

Mitchell

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