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Letter - How to waste tax money

To the editor:

In 1915, the owner of the Millerville Flour Mill built a bridge and dam, designed with removable planks to control water flow to produce power for the mill. It was built without engineering or public money, just hard work and common sense.

In 2011, the county engineer said the bridge was unsafe and suggested the township use grant money to build a new one. However, the township needed to contribute $20,000. When told the township didn't have $20,000, he said that's an easy fix: Raise taxes. County commissioners approved the expenditure without closely reviewing the project. After the vote, three of them looked at the project, later admitting they should not have approved it.

Despite $90,000 in engineering costs, the contractor said the design wouldn't work. When the project was done, the pond started to overflow and wash across the road. If someone wouldn't have caught this, it could have been a disaster. A local excavator came and worked into the night to fix the problem.

Before a government body takes grant money, they should ask, "Would we do this project if we weren't getting grant money?" In this case, the answer would have been no. We would never spend $450,000 of township money for a bridge when all other bridges in this township cost $1,000-5,000 (culvert replacements). Their reasoning to take the grant was, "If we don't take it, someone else will."

Maybe we should consider the fact that others may need this money worse. It's a blow to taxpayers to put grant money toward a project that benefits nobody. This bridge leads to nowhere and is needed by no one.

Grant money isn't free money. This was state gas tax money. Would you want your tax money used for this? I couldn't find anyone who thought so.

Cletus Bitzan

Millerville, MN