May I offer up a quote from a report of the Little Falls City Council in this week’s Morrison County Record?

From Council Chair Michael LeMieur in relation to improving the new 34th Infantry Red Bull Division parking lot:

“We can’t afford these niceties.”

The niceties we can’t afford are the metal railings, concrete columns, and lights, so that the parking lot will match the look of the Little Pig Market parking lot across the street.  The cost?  A measly $7,228.

It has taken years of consistent effort to improve the appearance of Little Falls, including the acquisition of property for river-side parks, handsome railings, the return of the “White Way” lighting, the restoration of downtown buildings, and the “niceties” of attractive parking lots with historic names.  All of this work has been critical to creating a distinct personality for the community, giving Little Falls a way to stand apart from other cities.  Little Falls appreciates its history and is pretty.  Not every city can say that.

I realize that this particular City Council is risk averse.  If I hear one more time that they don’t want to take on any debt, I think I’ll gurgle out a scream – at least I’ll attempt one through my fishy lips.  There’s debt and then there’s debt.  Not all debt is bad.  Some debt, like a house loan, is good in that it gets you something much more valuable in the long term.  If the debt is short-term and you’ll be reimbursed for it in the near future, then it’s also acceptable to take the risk.  This doesn’t mean that I think money should be thrown around without thought, or that I think all debt is worthwhile.  Au contraire!  I’m as tight-finned as the next fish in the pond,  but the City Council should be aware that it may be reversing years of progress because it refuses to rub two nickels together.

I agree with Council member Mike Doucette on this one.  He said, “I would like to see it all get done at one time.  I hate to do half a job.”

Fork over the money and do the parking lot job right.  Sheesh!  – P.F.A.P.

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