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To the Editor,


Fri, Oct 11th, 2002
Posted in Letter to the Editor

The article, "The quest of a remodeled courthouse continues, written by Kimberly Barnhart stated, "Commission-ers approve TIF extension for Rushford" (September 30, 2002), "The city of Rushford is in trouble, facing a financial shortfall of almost one million dollars." The statement is inaccurate and completely mischaracterizes the situation. The city is not in trouble. I'm sure that line was an attention-getter but it's not true. Perhaps Ms. Barnhart should have asked to see a copy of our latest audit report before making a statement like that. I will be happy to send her one so she can have the facts.

The "shortfall" being addressed is $800,000 and is due entirely to the State of Minnesota's change in real estate tax property class rates and property tax reform. When the 1993 Tax Increment bond was issued there was a reasonable expectation that the tax income property tax collections would retire the bonds on schedule. The State changed the rules in the middle of the game and we will have to refinance part of the bond issue in 2005. I testified before one of the House committees and one committee in the Senate. Our bill was passed by the legislature, giving us permission, subject to County and School District agreement, to extend our Tax Increment district's life by two years. We project that this will raise about $100,000 per year to be applied to the outstanding bond. The remaining balance of the bond will be refinanced and things will go on as usual.

Mayor Ted Roberton

Rushford, MN

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