Small Anoka County city struggles with high costs of thinking big

  • Article by: Shannon Prather , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 17, 2014 - 10:57 AM

East Bethel built $50 million project expecting hefty development.

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julieannemFeb. 16, 14 9:16 AM

I am a former East Bethel resident who smelled disaster all over this overly-optimistic project, railroaded through by the former mayor and city council, some of whom owned property and had financial interests in the affected area. We were summarily dismissed as know nothings by those folks, all of whom lost their seats due to their votes on this project. The recession, $4 a gallon gasoline and plummeting property values (my former home lost $100,000 in value from the 2006 purchase price) should have been taken into consideration when looking at the long-term economic future. Other nearby cities had similar disasters. The City of Cambridge had the highest foreclosure rate in the state during the same time period. They had also pushed through public works development projects that couldn't be paid for. As did Harris, MN with their over-ambitious water project. So check around. There was history here. Also, the City Council and Mayor assured the EB taxpayers that they would not be paying for the bonds if the project failed, then did a bait and switch and sold bonds that were backed by the full faith and credit of the taxpayers. Otherwise, the bonds would have NEVER sold. Nice commissions all around for the bond lawyers and sellers. I no longer live in EB, but hope the current administration and residents can dig themselves out of this mess. Increasing taxes alone on devalued properties probably won't solve the debt crisis.

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winb0016Feb. 16, 14 9:19 AM

Another failed MET COUNCIL plan, The Met Council needs to be abolished, it is a waste of tax payer money. Yes, I know they run the buses and process our wastewater but those can be run without having an Aristocracy running the rest of the metro area.

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chuckdancerFeb. 16, 14 9:35 AM

..."The Council is not regulatory, but its role is to work collaboratively with communities to ensure that infrastructure and growth are synchronized,” Kollodge wrote.".. ************************************* And that is exactly why the urban sprawl here is about the worst in the country. What exactly was "synchronized" here? Apparently the only businesses moved from an area of services to this hayfield. Somebody stuffed a bunch of money in his pockets and everybody else holds the debt.

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BlueCrew21Feb. 16, 1410:06 AM

East Bethel is a joke I'm embarrassed to have moved here. First this debacle with this water and sewer mess, then a mayor who's fired because he moved out of the city after being foreclosed on and tried to claim a seasonal campground counts as a residence, and finally a childish fight over a supposed felony charge accusation from removed mayor on one of the other council members. The whole thing is a joke and embarrassment

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ldahlkeFeb. 16, 1410:37 AM

Kind of reminds me of the Electronic pull tab debacle. I feel sorry for those who have to clean up this mess now.

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reader2580Feb. 16, 1411:22 AM

I have looked at moving to East Bethel to have a large multi-acre lot. All of the home lots with sewer are typical suburban postage stamp sized lots. Who would move all the way to East Bethel to live on a tiny little lot? They might do better by having large lots served by sewer. I would certainly be attracted by not having to spend $15,000 to $20,000 on a septic system and not having to spend that much again when the system fails in 30 years or so.

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conniemercerFeb. 16, 1411:22 AM

Social engineering. It doesn't work.

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regionguyFeb. 16, 1411:45 AM

Plenty of blame to go around here, and perhaps in the long run the project will pay off. But it is astonishing to hear a Met Council spokesperson now cite a growth rate for the period 1980-2005 to somehow help justify a decision made in the midst of the worst recession since the early 1970's.

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ddellwoFeb. 16, 1411:50 AM

Hindsight is always 20-20, but it's hard to imagine how in 2010 (well within the throes of a stagnant Minnesota building economy) anyone would have considered it wise to make such a huge investment on little more than a wing and a prayer! It's not like the facilities couldn't have been built just a few years later once economic conditions improved. I guess it just goes to show you that it's always easy to place a bet with someone else's money, which seems to be the modus operandi of government from a local level right on up to Washington......:(

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cookingalFeb. 16, 1411:53 AM

Hope Rochester isn't heading down this same road.

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