Dear Citizens of Cedar Springs,
I have been looking though the council minutes all the way back to 2009, and what I have seen is disturbing. Time and again, citizens showed up and voiced their objections to proposed changes in ordinances, and despite that, the council went ahead with no documented public support and changed them. People were being ticketed for parking on their own property. It is my understanding that if I wish to put up a tent in my backyard, I must first secure a permit. Why does the council feel that they have the right to dictate to us what we may or may not do on property that we pay taxes on? Cars parked in public lots have been vandalized. Citizens have told me that when they have spoken out in a way that the city did not like, code enforcement showed up at their door. To say that if they have done nothing wrong, they have nothing to fear is untrue. My next door neighbor parked 23 ft from the side walk and 60 ft from the center of the street. The car was in front of her own garage, and was ticketed. She had to fight it all the way to the doors of court, despite talking to city hall.
Another matter I would like to call to the attention of the public is the city’s purchase of 95 N. Main. *In council member Fahl’s own words: “It’s a mess.” “The city can’t make money off of it.” “We paid like $19,000 for the entire property, it’s actually 3 lots and a building, and the reason we paid that is because that’s what the IRS…was owed on the back taxes. So we picked it up because it was actually a really good deal, at the time.” She also explains the city can only sell the property for the original purchase price, plus any upkeep. I wonder who was this a good deal for? If the city legally is not allowed to make money off of it, why did we enter the real estate business? According to the council minutes from 3/08/12, “City Manager Christine Burns stated that the buyer for 95 N. Main St. had rescinded his offer and had presented another offer due to the discovery of asbestos contamination during a property inspection. The buyer now only wanted to purchase the two vacant parcels associated with the property.” The council voted to not allow this sale, but rather demolish the building and sell the property as a whole. According to council member Fahl, “There is a fuel tank that’s underneath that building…and that was one of the city’s requests that whoever buys that building remove the fuel tank due to … possible contamination.” She continues that removing just the asbestos from the building was estimated to “cost us close to $80,000.” She states that if the building did not have so many issues “somebody could have made good money off of it.” So, if I understand, the city legally cannot make a profit, and we now own an asbestos contaminated building sitting on top of a fuel tank that could potentially be a source of contamination? We bought it because it was a good deal?
Christine Fahl, Bob Truesdale, and Patty Troost are all on the November ballot for City council. Christine Fahl was the only one of them on the council in 2009 when we bought this poisonous building. I don’t know about the rest of Cedar Springs, but Christine Fahl will not get my vote.
City of Cedar Springs
*The quotes from Mayor Pro Tem Christine Fahl were from a private meeting in Ms. Nixon’s home, which Ms. Nixon videotaped, without Ms. Fahl’s knowledge.