Friday, October 23, 2009

Carver County misuse of Taxpayer money

This morning I am switching my focus from the national scene to the local scene. Earlier this month Janet and Lowell Carlson faced jail time for not complying with Carver County's assessment that their septic system needed upgrading. The repair costs are estimated to be $10,000 which the couple has placed in escrow. The Carlson's have agreed to repair their septic system. Janet Carlson said, "Although we didn't want to cave in to the county's pressure, due to Lowell's health issues [and] the need for me to care for him, being in jail was not in our personal best interest" (http://www.startribune.com/local/west/63568787.html?elr=KArksUUUoDEy3LGDiO7aiU). Part of the Carlson's argument was that Carver County property, the old Waconia Ballroom, had a similar septic system that was not in compliance even though Carver County officials contend the septic system is in compliance.

Since the dust up, the Carver County Board decided last Tuesday to hire two separate inspectors to check the septic system at the Waconia Event Center. County Commissioner Tom Workman has been a supporter of the Carlson's and pushed for additional inspections of the Waconia Event Center. A question needs to be asked here; why wasn't an independent inspector not used when the Waconia Ballroom was purchased last year instead the county took the word of an inspector hired by the seller (http://www.startribune.com/local/west/64860922.html?page=1&c=y). Where was the Carver County Board when they shelled out about $2.5M for the site?

Carver County must now, per the order by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), complete the inspections by October 28th and then submit the findings to the MPCA by November 3rd. Okay, but why do taxpayers of Carver County need to pay for two separate inspectors? What if the results differ between the inspectors? County Commissioner Workman been given a gag order by the MPCA because, "He crossed the line. He was acting like a licensed inspector, passing judgment on a [septic] system, which only a licensed inspector can do" (http://www.startribune.com/local/west/64860922.html?page=1&c=y). The gag order appears to be due to Carver County Commissioner Workman's "public stint", with media present, to show that a pipe in the septic system's distribution box was not located as the seller's inspector had claimed.

What does the MPCA have to hide? What is wrong with an elected official bringing to light an issue? Personally, I have experienced the wrath of questioning the MPCA. After several phone conversations and being asked if I was on the Hamburg City Council by the MPCA on Hamburg's I/I problem, MPCA representatives came to explain why Hamburg lost 20 points on their score for assistance with the I/I project. Read the minutes from the Hamburg City Council meeting held on August 25th on my blog site to see the conversation and explanation. Putting aside the issue of the MPCA heavy handedness in handling Carver County Commissioner Workman, why did Carver County Board approve the purchase of the Waconia Ballroom without inspecting the property themselves and why do we need two separate inspectors now? Taxpayers of Carver County need to know.