More letters to the editor Stone: Support city council's decisions
To the editor:
I feel the need to respond to several points in Bill Willroth's letter to the editor concerning Chestnut Street. I am one of the property owners he referred to in his letter.
He says in his letter that I was "among those approaching the combined tax evaluation boards in the past to reduce (my) bluff side properties to a "0" taxable rating." If there were property owners who did this, I was not among them. I have never protested the tax valuation on my personal residence.
The city made an offer to purchase my land, and I made a counter offer. Mr. Willroth, unfortunately, chose to share with you only a small fraction of the information he had available. The offer from the city was based on a per-square-foot price determined by the city's appraiser for ONLY the value of the land that would have been taken.
The city had not yet addressed damage to the remaining property value and asked that we do so in our counter offers.
I have offered to give the city the land they need south of Chestnut Street to improve the road to federal specifications. City staff knew this in the fall of 2000 when we first discussed lot lines.
Mr. Willroth used the phrase that in the $1.3 million plan "it has to be kept in mind that the railroad is responsible for $900,000 of these costs." The railroad is NOT paying these costs.
They are "responsible" in that they were requiring a huge retaining wall if the city was actually going to try and build a road where there wasn't room for one. But, they are not paying for it. You are. All of us are.
Right now the city has two plans in front of them for the improvement of Chestnut Street � one for approximately $275,000 and one for $1.3 million. It is likely that both of these estimates will go up somewhat, but they will go up proportionally.
The city has the opportunity to save us over $1 million. We can use every cent of that elsewhere on needed city projects. Mr. Willroth says that the larger plan should be implemented, "No matter the cost." I think we very much have to "matter the cost," especially when the city is saying that Vermillion may need to opt out of the state property tax limits because we will face a shortfall in the near future.
When families face a budget shortfall, they don't do things "no matter the cost." They try to save money where possible. We should expect no less from our elected city officials.
The city has the opportunity to improve Chestnut Street to federal specifications at a reasonable cost for its taxpayers. Please support the sound decision that they have made in their recent unanimous votes.
Apology offered for wrong assumption
To the editor:
On last week's Plain Talk editorial page in a letter I wrote concerning the Chestnut Street construction, it was alluded to that all the landowners in question along the bluff had offered the city of Vermillion a counter offer for the property needed to construct the street. On the newspaper's front page, a news story followed those same lines.
Mr. and Mrs. James Johnson, owners of one of the bluff properties, objected to this statement, saying that their letter returned to the city was not a counter offer. This is true. The Johnson letter never did say anything about it being a counter offer. The letter submitted, raised fears of possible expenses arising from stabilization processes that may occur due to the road construction cutting into their bluff property.
The couple had spent some time looking at like properties in Yankton, according to their letter to the city, and $25,000 was the figure they had been given by the Yankton people of the costs to do the stabilization.
Their letter to the city was included with the counter offers of the other parties and I, as well as David Lias, editor of the Plain Talk, assumed they would accept this figure should the city of Vermillion decide to meet the requirements of the other parties discussed. This assumption was not correct, according to the Johnsons, and for this action both David Lias and myself offer an apology to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson for this thinking.
In further checking with one of the city council members, I also discovered that the Johnsons had never appeared before the council with any other objections to the road construction being considered.
Bill Willroth Sr.
Vote against dissolving district
To the editor:
We would like to urge voters in the Wakonda District to vote against the proposed plan to dissolve our district. Voting against this plan would:
* Keep our school open.
* Keep our kids in Wakonda.
* Keep the small classroom size.
* Keep our kids from being bused to Vermillion.
* Keep our community growing.
* Keep our kids safe from the "big" school atmosphere.
* Keep our children from getting "lost in the shuffle" of a big school.
* Keep Wakonda School District open.
Vote against the proposed plan on Feb. 12.
The bottom line to this issue is: do we want our school in Wakonda? For the majority of us: We need/want our school to stay in this great town of Wakonda. Show your pride in our children, our community, our neighbors. Please vote against the proposed plan to dissolve our school on Feb. 12.
Roger and Marsha Steffen