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Shelter decision bad for Superior

After watching the mayor’s March 18 fact-based presentation on the proposed new animal shelter fall on deaf ears, he did the unthinkable. “I’m capitulating to the power of passion and the anger of the people to not make a good business decision,” he said

No jubilation came from anyone, probably because no one understood what he said. For the other 27,000 people of Superior, it means you bought a brand-new animal shelter for about $2.4 million. Nobody ever said there were only 12 animals already in a clean and appropriately sized shelter the city owns free and clear.

Well, if you had listened to the passion of the crowd and councilors, you’d think these animals are living in filth, starving to death and needs were not addressed in the existing shelter. In fact, it’s the opposite. The animals are well cared for; it’s the cleanest shelter I’ve ever been in, and with reduced demand, it’s more than adequately sized for a city this size. Not only that, when I was there, a very kind worker came down the row, entered each cage and hugged, scratched and loved each dog there.

I’m obviously missing the case for a new animal shelter. It is not a huge shelter, but it does satisfy the needs of strays in the city. Yes, there are several issues that need to be addressed, but our already budgeted city work force could handle it. Instead of city crews continuing the war on snowbanks, we could have them begin the fixes immediately.

There is no reason to build a new animal shelter larger than the adequate facility on Hill Avenue. Almost nothing in this proposal has been justified, including the issue of who’s paying for annual operating costs. Judging from the motion —let’s go with it because a lot of people are going to build it — it’s obvious, the council doesn’t care how any of this is going to be paid.

Anyone could spend taxpayer money without concern. This is no achievement to be proud about. I’m embarrassed for the council for its lack of fiscal responsibly. Councilors are supposed to be good stewards with our money. It’s the No. 1 duty of elected officials. If this is the best representation that majority Democrats in Superior habitually elect, then we are all in for financial pain.

Thanks Mayor Bruce Hagen for doing your part, but to avoid sharing the future consequences for this poor decision, I would ask that you put your veto powers to work and let the council own this entirely. There is simply no place in government for irresponsible spending at any level.