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An Open Letter To Citizens Of The Emmetsburg Community

October 24, 2013
Emmetsburg News

Open letter to the citizens:

On Tuesday, November 5th, in addition to casting your respective votes for city council representatives, you will have the opportunity to help decide whether Emmetsburg will construct and operate a state-of-the-art, fiber-to-the-home communications utility. Thirteen years ago, Emmetsburg's voters granted the city the authority to create such a utility. However, the city council and board of trustees, for a number of reasons, decided not to proceed with the project at that time. We believe now is the time to move forward, but we cannot and will not without first obtaining super majority (60%>) approval of the voters.

This endeavor, like any large project proposed and/or undertaken by the City or Utilities, has the strong support of some and is opposed by others. This is not unique to Emmetsburg but, rather, is common in communities throughout the world and throughout history. That being the case, we do not intend to use this space to press for affirmative votes. Rather, we wish to merely share with you those factors we considered with the Board of Trustees before we decided to commission the study into the feasibility of constructing and operating a municipal communications utility. We hope that you, too, will consider these factors as you formulate your respective decisions and prepare to cast votes.

As residents of Emmetsburg, we enjoy the benefits that municipal ownership of our natural gas, water and wastewater utilities bring to our community. Particularly, where the natural gas utility is concerned, the rates we pay for service are among the lowest in the State of Iowa and that has been the case for many, many years. At the same time, our crew's response times to calls for service, whether those calls involve an emergency or are routine in nature, are always prompt. And, what truly is important to us, the people responding to our calls for service - they are our neighbors, our friends, in some cases parents of our children's classmates, in others, fellow members of our religious congregations. In addition to serving us as public utility employees, they serve us as volunteer firemen and EMT's, as school board members, and as gracious servants when community projects are in need of volunteers.

Additionally, any profits generated by the operation of our municipal utilities remain in and are invested back into our community. Some of these profits have been invested in the quality of life assets we enjoy today. The communications services you and we receive today are delivered by companies and via facilities that are owned by people who, to us, are largely unknown. How well have they stepped up to the plate where helping to fund these amenities is concerned? How well have they delivered the communications services you desire and need? How have they responded to your requests for service or rate considerations? And, perhaps most importantly, how many of the dollars you've spent on television, internet and telephone services over the past year, the past decade, or the past quarter century have remained in Emmetsburg?

We encourage each and every eligible voter in Emmetsburg to take the time to cast your respective vote on November 5th. This is a very important decision and is one that we should make as a community. Together, we've accomplished many great things in the past. We look forward to continuing to do more of the same in the future.


(signed) Mayor Myrna Heddinger

Councilmen Brian Campbell,

Steve Finer,

Corey Gramowski,

Tony Kauten,

Brian Malm



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