by Dennis Dalman
A Sartell resident expressed concerns and posed questions during an appearance before a recent Sartell City Council meeting.
Pat Kampa, who lives on 14th Street N., spoke to the council during its regularly scheduled Open Forum session, a chance for citizens to voice concerns at the beginning of every council meeting.
Kampa said she is concerned about the loss of taxes due to the demise of the Sartell paper mill. With a loss of tax revenue and a tight budget, Sartell must spend its money wisely, she said. A focus on police and fire services would be the best thing to do, without spending money on secondary kinds of items. Instead of focusing time and money on projects such as a library, the council should instead concentrate on road improvements, snow removal and street repairs, Kampa suggested.
The Great River Regional Library system has been reducing hours and staff, reflecting a move to digital services, she said. In light of that, Sartell should see if the high school would open its media center for public usage. An aquatics center would also be unwise, what with liability issues, she added. A partnership with St. Cloud and its planned aquatics center would be a better way to go, she told the council.
Traffic, especially by Sartell’s schools, has become so busy it’s sometimes very difficult to get to and from those schools, Kampa said. Pinecone Road should be developed into a four-lane roadway, with right- and left-turn lanes, she suggested.
Kampa also questioned the need to create a “downtown Sartell.” Current storefronts, in mini-malls, would be recognized for the unique locations they are, she said.
“Let’s take advantage of what we have,” Kampa commented.
The new minimum-wage law was also one of her concerns.
“How much will it affect the city and our staff?” she asked.
In closing, Kampa urged the council not to raise taxes and to keep costs reasonable. Many people such as senior citizens, she said, are living on fixed monthly incomes of $1,600 or less, and others are working two jobs to make ends meet.
“I just don’t see how we’re going to pay for everything,” Kampa told the council.
She then requested the council discuss those issues at its upcoming meetings.