North Mankato touts Caswell Park as a regional, national and international facility. However, operating expenses have exceeded income by $50,000-$100,000 each year. That amount has been covered each year with taxpayer dollars, dollars that could have been spent on other infrastructure projects in our city.
In a June 5 Free Press article, North Mankato Administrator John Harrenstein states that the proposed additional 1/2 percent food-and-beverage tax would be an alternative to raising property taxes to cover those losses. As taxpayers have all ready been subsidizing this facility in the amount of $50,000-$100,000 each year, it is unclear why taxes would need to be raised further unless he is projecting the deficit will be doubled in the upcoming years.
It appears that North Mankato’s budgeting strategy is to find multiple ways to increase taxes for residents and businesses, including property, and food and beverage. If North Mankato has not been able to cover the cost of operations and depreciation for the current Caswell complex each year, why would taxpayers want to build another new facility which could only add to the annual deficit and potentially lead to increasing real estate and other taxes on residents and businesses?
The article closes quoting Harrenstein who encourages “residents and business leaders to contact Walz, House and Senate leaders to push for an additional new indoor court at Caswell.”
I would say, by all means, contact those leaders and tell them to not pay or support any additional projects at the Caswell complex as long as the existing facility continues to run a deficit that North Mankato taxpayers have to cover each year.
Phillip L. Henry