In last week’s Union-Times Mayor Brad Schumacher attempted to justify the city council’s action to put a question on the Nov. 3 ballot to abolish the Princeton Public Utilities Commission.
(Letters, Page 4, ‘Mayor clarifies council position on PUC ballot decision.”)
It should be noted that action was not unanimous.
It was supported by the mayor, Councilor Jenny Gerold, and Councilor Jeff Reynolds. Councilor Jules Zimmer and I voted against that action.
It is no secret the mayor wants to destroy Princeton Public Utilities, not just its commission. That was one of his campaign promises.
Abolishing the Princeton Public Utilities Commission would be the first step in that process.
The mayor says the choice is either bureaucracy or democracy. The Princeton Public Utilities Commission by any definition is not a bureaucracy.
It is a three-member board appointed by the city council. Each member serves three-year, rotating terms.
It should be noted that all three of the current commissioners have either been endorsed or approved to seats by the mayor.
The payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) the mayor refers to has been suspended temporarily.
The financial impact to the city is minimal. The city has ample reserves to cover that shortfall. It should be noted that the PILOT is much more than a cash payment. Princeton Public Utilities performs many in-kind services that should be part of the PILOT.
The real question is this: Do Princeton Public Utilities customers want a city-appointed commission whose first priority is to customers and has no personal agenda or an elected body of self-serving politicians whose first priority is to get re-elected with the ability to set electric and water rates?
The choice is easy. A “No” vote on the Nov. 3 ballot question and electing Thom Walker as our next mayor would end all of this drama.
Jack Edmonds, Princeton
Editor’s Note: Jack Edmonds is a current Princeton City Council member. He is leaving office to run for another governmental post. Edmonds is running against incumbent Genny Reynolds in the Mille Lacs County District 1 commissioner race.