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Guest Commentary: Liquor store, new city building, or money pit

By Brett Kues

Fri, Mar 22nd, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

By Brett Kues

I recently watched a speech given at the Fellowship Foundation National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. by Dr Benjamin Carson. He told a story about a friend who loved to buy his mom expensive and extravagant Christmas gifts. On one memorable Christmas, he found some amazing birds that could talk, and sing and cost $5000 apiece. He sent his mom two. On Christmas day, he called his mom and asked how she liked the birds, to which she responded, they were delicious. The friend got upset and said they weren’t to eat; they were amazing beautiful birds that could sing, and that could talk. The mom simply replied that if that was the case they should have spoken up.

Currently, our small town of 1731 people ( has a debt load of around $10.5 million. This equates to $6065.85 per resident. This number is going to increase shortly when the city pays around $1.75 million for the highway project going from bridge to bridge down Main Street. When this project is complete, every person in town will then owe an additional $1000.00, bringing your debt load to nearly $7100.00 for every man, woman, and child, or around $17,000.00 per household. I am not complaining about the highway project. Our town needs good infrastructure if it is to continue.

What I am concerned about is the big picture, the $17,000.00 big picture. Recently, there was an article on discussing the debt crisis Rhode Island is in because of the debt-laden communities. This article says that Rhode Island towns have an average debt per resident of $2,344 per resident with the most debt-laden towns approaching an alarming $5000. If experts consider $2300 per resident a debt crisis, what would they say about a town carrying over three times that?

Next week the city council is going to vote on whether or not to spend over $200,000 to remodel the liquor store for use as a new city hall. If they approve this spending, how are they going to pay for it? Do they have the cash in the bank? Or, more likely, are they going to borrow the money in our names and add the bill to our debt load? Either way, I must say I strongly oppose this plan. Is the building condemned? Is it crumbling down? No. So why can’t the city move into it the way it is, make some minor renovations like adding phone lines, and computer connections, and get by? That is what we are all doing.

I love this town, and there is no way I am going to have the same fate as the parrots. I am speaking up, and ask that you do the same.


Your comment submission is also an acknowledgement that this information may be reprinted in other formats such as the newspaper.


2:51:36, Mar 23rd 2013

MnFarmBoy1976 says:
Mr. Kues, my opinion of you is that you think of yourself as a really big fish in a really small pond. You use a website,, to get the population of Rushford. To me, that's just plain lazy. How hard would it have been to just call City Hall and ask what the population is? Are you one of those people that use the internet for every single bit of information, even if it comes from a third-party source, instead of just making a phone call to the place directly? You mention a website called That is a website based out of Providence, Rhode Island. How many people in Rushford have even heard of that website, a site that deals with issues in Rhode Island? I don't think you should really be comparing the issues of Rushford with those of towns in Rhode Island. It's like comparing apples to oranges. I'm sure there are other towns, cities, states that have higher debt per resident figures then what Rushford has or would have if the council votes for moving city hall into the former liquor store. You don't even get the name of your town, Rushford, in the letter right. You put it as Preston. The layout of the building, the City's former liquor store, has coolers and other features that don't quite for the city to quickly come in and start using it as a city hall by just adding phone lines and computer connections. Mr. Kues, when you and your wife moved to town, was the house you bought in "move-in ready" condition and to your liking or have you remodeled the house to be more accomodating?

Where did you come up with your debt load figures in your article? Did you go to City Hall to get that information or did you just make-up those figures. I only ask as you don't list the source.

In another letter regarding the Rushford Public Library's plan for a new library, in which you suggest the city of Rushford should take the $2 million for a new library and instead give every household a Kindle reader. Where would those people go to download books,as not every household has internet access,especially thost that don't have a computer? Would the city of Rushford have to have a wireless network available so that people could download e-books? Granted, devices like the Kindle have their advantages but not every book published is available in e-book form.And, you make this statement: "I would be willing to bet that even the most computer challenged of our citizens have turned to their computer for information recently instead of to our local library."

I won't even touch your opposition to the Rushford-Peterson Schools referendum that failed in December.


12:04:07, Mar 24th 2013

herewegoagain says:

Did you call the Journal and ask if "Preston" was an error on their part? Or were you to lazy and just assumed that no newspaper would make an error like that and just take the easy route and blame the author of the article?

Also, atleast Mr. Kues had enough courage to voice his opinion for everyone to read, and criticize, unlike yourself. As for his views on the school he also had the courage to make his own decisions about what they could do. He didn't just sit back and let the administration butter him up and tell him what to believe.

Mr. Kues, keep speaking up and let those who are to afraid do their criticizing of you.


11:11:00, Mar 24th 2013

Jason Sethre, Publisher of Fillmore County Journal says:
My apologies to the author of this Guest Commentary. Since Brett Kues did not include a reference to a town in the first sentence of the second paragraph, someone in the proofing process from our staff assumed it was Preston. Brett Kues resides in the Rushford area.

Please note that Brett Kues did NOT make this error. This was our error at the Fillmore County Journal.

I will be correcting this in our online edition, and a correction will be printed in the April 1, 2013 edition of the Fillmore County Journal to clarify the error.

Thank you for your understanding.

Jason Sethre
Fillmore County Journal

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