The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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December 14, 2012

Your View: Nonprofits shouldn’t pay street light fee

In response to Tuesday’s article “City Council passes street light fee”: It is wrong for the city of Mankato to impose the street light fee on nonprofit organizations.

When the $450,000 cost was imbedded in property taxes, they did not burden organizations who were exempt from property taxes. Those who will be most affected by this tax are commercial and industrial properties; many nonprofits fall under this category due to their facility sizes. With the new street light fee, they will have to pay 5 cents per linear foot of frontage. This is absurd; many nonprofits and donation-based organizations have tight budgets to begin with.

The Red Cross and the Boy Scouts of America have high fees, which could jeopardize their ability to do all their good work in the future.

VINE Faith in Action says “every dollar counts.” So, taking $960 out of their yearly budget for one of their many locations would mean less money to give back to the community.

The cost of a hot meal is $3 at VINE, but the cost in the future will likely rise. For those who can hardly afford food, this will affect them, too.

Ninety five Mankato nonprofits are members of the council, and as the article reports, many worry what fees will come next. No doubt, if Mankato can vote to force nonprofits to pay for public electricity, there is nothing stopping them from charging for other public resources.

Mankato should exempt the nonprofits from paying the street light fee, because they are the organizations that lift the Mankato community up.

In the aftermath of the recession, we need nonprofit resources more than ever.

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