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Responding To Criticisms

October 20, 2015
Emmetsburg News

Letter to the Editor

We would like to respond to the letters to the editor criticizing the actions of Pete Hamilton and the group, Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG). This can best be accomplished by providing some additional information regarding the points being made by these critics.

The community center can hardly be described as highly successful to date. Based on current operating expenditures only, it is experiencing a loss to a tune of approximately $40,000.00 plus. We expect that when a full accounting analysis is conducted the total loss could even be higher.

The community center is not being funded by purely private money. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have come from casino grant money. This is public money which has many other uses. Further, $250,000.00 is from Emmetsburg Municipal Utilities (EMU) which is funded by the citizens of Emmetsburg's utility bills. Another $350,000.00 was funded by the state's CAT grant program, more public money.

The CRG lawsuit against the city was not to stop the project but to trim it down. The city tried to borrow up to an additional $850,000.00 of utility money from EMU. CRG followed the law and gathered signatures to petition the city for a VOTE on the loan. The city refused to abide by the law and ignored the petition request for a VOTE. The CRG lawsuit was upheld twice in a court of law. The city then reduced the loan amount to $400,000.00, which is under the petition to vote code.

The school board election was totally lawful. If some people felt so strongly about the incumbents who lost, they should have expressed their sentiments with their votes.

Comments that Mr. Hamilton should not speak out or question current school board policy are utterly ridiculous and wrong. The implication that any new members should simply abide by past policy defeats the purpose of having an election. After all elections are about changes in policy and direction. Further, related discussions and questions should be in an open forum, not in private or secret meetings, as has been suggested by some of the remaining incumbents. Citizens have a right to know what is being discussed.


(Signed)Bertha and Steve Mathis

32455 480th Ave

Emmetsburg, IA 50536



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