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home : columns : rahn larson
April 24, 2019

Tax base, streets, and a pool
Recently, I heard someone say the Cemstone housing development isn't important to Windom.
People are entitled to their opinion.
A second later, the same person said, "The city council should focus on fixing streets and updating the pool."
The lone solution, without a stronger tax base, is to raise taxes - dramatically. In fact, Windom is at a crossroads regarding streets and the 50-year-old pool - expect nothing to change unless one of two things happen:
• Windom residents fork out huge tax increases.
• Windom sees a dramatic increase in tax base.
The streets
For years, the city's system for improving streets has been to simply replace street improvement bonds as they expire. That's why we see a major street project every three years.
The problem is, as street-building costs keep rising, this system simply cannot stay ahead of deteriorating streets. It is purely a financial problem.
Until Windom pours more money into street projects, motorists will continue to face frustrations with potholes and embarrassingly substandard streets.
The pool
Bring up the aging swimming pool to council members and you receive a pause or sigh.
They know the pool situation is not good. But the best long-term fix is a referendum.
How do we simultaneously pass a pool referendum and raise taxes to fix streets? How would our home and business taxes look if that were to occur?
Tax base
This brings us back to Cemstone and our tax base.
We can all cavalierly say we can blow off a $5 million apartment developer and the Cemstone housing development isn't needed. But in doing so, we invite higher taxes and ignore the pleas of Windom's top employers which have literally begged for housing solutions.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019
The flood aftermath of 1969
A few weeks ago, readers got a taste of what Windom was like in 1969, the year of the record Des Moines River flood.
One thing we didn't spend much time on was the aftermath. As you can imagine, city leaders spent considerable time on the "what we would do differently" conversation.
Those conversations apparently occurred 50 years ago this week.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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