by Dennis Dalman
Four previous members of the Sartell City Council and many other residents are pushing back on a plan to sell city property to a private party.
At the May 8 city council meeting, members voted 3-2 to table the plan until the next meeting, May 22. Those who voted to table the plan were Mayor Ryan Fitzthum and council members Jed Meyer and Tim Elness.
Three former council members who are strongly opposing the plan are former Sartell Mayor Sarah Jane Nicoll and former council members Steve Hennes, Pat Lynch and Joe Perske. Hennes, Lynch and Nicolls signed a detailed open letter to the city council describing their strong opposition to the plan. Perske also sent a letter to the council.
The proposal is the city’s years-long lease agreement with managers/operators of Pine Ridge Golf Course will be terminated and the sale of that city-owned land be approved for a private purchaser.
Four previous members of the Sartell City Council and many other residents are pushing back on a plan to sell city property to a private party. Opponents of the plan claim the entire process lacked transparency and public scrutiny. They also assert when the city purchased that land (Sartell Golf Course) some years ago, it was with regional half-cent sale-tax dollars that made that purchase possible. Therefore, opponents of the current proposed sale of that land insist the acreage remain city-owned either as park land or some other future public, city/regional use. One of the requirements of spending regional half-cent sales-tax revenue is the money must be spent on projects that have regional significance and that can be used by people within the Greater St. Cloud/Central Minnesota area. That requirement is central to the argument of the opponents of the sale proposal.
This is a quickly developing story. For details, read more in the coming days on this website and in the Friday, May 19 printed edition of the Sartell-St. Stephen Newsleader.