By Becky Hensley, Osakis Economic Development Corporation president
I debated writing a response to the letter to the editor (April 29) after being “called” out, but felt it was necessary as there are always two sides to every story.
First, I did not write the article in the paper. Second, the person who wrote the letter to the editor was not on the Osakis City Council Zoom meeting that took place in regards to the comments or the incidents that have taken place over the last few months. Third, they do not have all the facts.
Here are the facts:
The OEDC was established in 1982 and to date has contributed over $2.1 million dollars back into the community. The board members are all volunteers working to better our community and promote economic growth.
The OEDC has made rent payments to the “Muni” in excess of $69,000 since 2016.
According to data released by the Minnesota State Auditor, Liquor Store Report (available on-line):
Year – Muni Net Profit (Loss) – Rent Payment
2016 – ($46,239) – $16,303
2017 – ($14,419) – $15,593
2018 – $14,968 – $11,849
2019 – not available – $20,627
2020 – not available – $ 5,627
There are numerous instances over the years that have been difficult between the Muni and the OEDC. If you would like to know the facts since I have been on the board, please feel free to reach out to me personally.
In the viewpoint of a business owner and a taxpayer, how are the above figures helping our community tax dollars? Losses in 2016 and 2017, gains in 2018 with nearly all of those dollars as a result of the OEDC rent payment. Please realize that the Muni does not pay taxes, garbage, maintenance/upkeep, or any of the charges that you or I would pay as business owners. So if I can’t continue to operate a business and not be profitable, how does a city do so with tax dollars?
Gambling is suspended within bars due to the closings. The fact that they were trying to point out in the paper is that charitable gambling can’t continue without a gambling manager once bars/establishments reopen to the public. The OEDC gambling manager resigned due to conflicts with the municipal liquor store manager, that is a fact. The OEDC is now dissolving due to this ongoing conflict, which will result in thousands of dollars not given back into the community or being paid in rent to keep the Municipal Liquor Store afloat.
No drama; pure facts that our community will suffer from the results of these actions. Please feel to become a volunteer member on any board that you do not see is doing their job.