More hue, less cry regarding county’s decision

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 22, 2001

There was a lot of hue and cry after the Mower County Board of Commissioners voted to abandon plans for a multipurpose building at the fairgrounds in Austin.

Thursday, March 22, 2001

There was a lot of hue and cry after the Mower County Board of Commissioners voted to abandon plans for a multipurpose building at the fairgrounds in Austin.

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More hue, than cry to be sure, but still a lot of both.

People could not understand after three years of planning and $320,000 spent in engineering and architect fees why the county commissioners would suddenly say "no" to an idea they were promoting for so long.

Of course, anyone living outside the city limits of Austin didn’t mind the commissioners’ rejection of the multipurpose building.

It disturbs me that so many people are poking fun at the county commissioners again for their negative vote on the multipurpose project. I thought that was my job.

Some people are saying the county commissioners are wishy-washy or worse washy-wishy.

I say they are just following a long tradition of getting cold feet in the political world.

During a recent stop at the courthouse, I visited the men’s room – No. Not the commissioners’ meeting room, but a public restroom – and there stacked in a corner were minutes of county board meetings from God-only-knows-when.

I looked them over and found other instances where the county commissioners got a good idea, but couldn’t hold onto it.

Here is my top 10 list of public projects rejected by the Mower County Board of Commissioners:

No. 10 – Rural Elkton farmer Noah says a great flood is going to occur and wash away all of Mower County. He wants county board to help fund an ark. County board rejects idea saying it has flood insurance.

No. 9 – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asks county board for permission to build a canal from the Mississippi River to the Missouri River that would following the east-west County No. 3 road. The canal would serve grain farmers in the Upper Midwest. County board says "No" to idea, because it is waiting for the city of Austin to expand its airport runway and then it will move County No. 3.

No. 8 – Short, stocky man, wearing red suit appears before county board to ask permission to make Brownsdale base for new once-a-year distribution center for children around the world. Will employ more than 100 elves and needs tax increment financing assistance. County commissioners send request to County Planning commission and it is never heard of again.

No. 7 – Tiny Dexter realizes if it will survive it must make a name for itself as gambling capital of the world. City Council approves name change to "Las Dexter." but county commissioners say they’ve never heard of Dexter and developers move to Nevada.

No. 6 – In one of the cutest acts ever to take place in the county commissioners’ meeting room, Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy perform dance to announce Disney World will build a multibillion-dollar amusement park in Lodi Township. Group of school-age children are stunned to see Mower County Sheriff’s department Deputies swarm over cartoon characters and take them to jail. "There’ll be no rodents or ducks in my courthouse," shouts an obviously upset county commissioner from Lyle.

No. 5 – IBM announces it is looking for a southeastern Minnesota rural county that begins with an "M" and rhymes with shower to locate a plant that will build computers that every household will want. By unanimous vote, county commissioners vote to table their decision for further study, while they ask county attorney for a legal opinion on rhymes.

No. 4 – National Aeronautics and Space Administration reveals LeRoy is ideal place for a new space center to launch and retrieve communications satellites and space shuttles. County board upholds County Planning commission decision to deny conditional use permit based on the landmark Deer Creek Speedway "Noise reduces dairy production" ruling.

No. 3 – McDonald’s restaurants’ owners announce plans to build golden arches across Mower County and bring eighth wonder of the world to area. Deal is squashed when McDonald’s refuses to grant county board members a finders fee: a lifetime supply of cheeseburgers.

No. 2 – President Bush tells Congress he needs a special appropriation to build a duplicate White House at an undisclosed site in the upper Midwest, where he "plays President" when he is on vacation. When it is discovered Mower County commissioners have suddenly approved another multipurpose building project at the fairgrounds and the plans look curiously exactly like the White House, the deal quickly falls through.

And the No. 1 public project rejected by the Mower County Board of Commissioners is … Heaven on earth idea nixed. St. Peter told in no uncertain terms operating revenues will not cover expenses, plus county commissioners say they don’t like harp music.