Fund SL United

by Art Cullen

We’re relieved that Mayor Mike Porsch wants to negotiate a new funding agreement with Storm Lake United after it was revealed that the city’s main economic development unit would take yet another $19,000 cut in appropriations. Three years of cuts in a row do not speak well for our commitment to growing The City Beautiful’s retail and industrial base, plus enhancing our quality of life. The bleeding should stop.

The biggest part of the problem is an agreement signed in the 1990s that caps Storm Lake United’s revenue from the motel-hotel sales tax at 20%. It should be viewed as a baseline and not a cap. Storm Lake United, incorporating the chamber of commerce and industrial development corporation, is an important driver of overall sales tax revenue.

SLU survives on member dues, revenues from events and local government support. It arranges to lobby for issues important to the city such as lake restoration. Those lobbying efforts identified Storm Lake as a progressive community interested in state partnerships. Hence, tens of millions in stormwater emergency funding. We submit that those seeds were planted by SLU’s director, Gary Lalone, and lobbyist Susan Cameron arguing for lake restoration. To the extent that we enjoy proceeds from a hotel-motel tax, give SLU credit for helping create and pass it — along with the one-cent local option sales tax that is vital to city operations.

Add it all up and Storm Lake United has been a pretty good investment for the city. King’s Pointe, concerts on the lakeshore, lobbying in the statehouse, support for new retail businesses, holding hands with existing employers and advocating for them. Showing new doctors around town and scouting homes for young professionals. All those big and little things that add up to a growing, vibrant community that supports progressive government.

Nobody else does that for Storm Lake.

Local government also is forced to pay its dues to the Iowa Lakes Corridor of Opportunity, which duplicates to less effect the efforts of Storm Lake United. Considering how we get treated by the other member counties in the organization, it makes us wonder whether we shouldn’t just direct all those funds to Storm Lake United or send half back to the property tax payers. They are not sticking up for Storm Lake. SLU is out there cheering us on every day, with every chamber coffee and every chain saw sculpture in the parks, promoting Buena Vista University and telling everyone how fantastic our lake is. Every time one of our neighbors runs us down we need Storm Lake United out there building us up. They can’t do it with pennies in a tin cup. Storm Lake United needs community support.

That starts with the city council. We hope Mayor Porsch, himself a longtime enthusiast for Storm Lake United, can reach a deal that helps Storm Lake grow and stops the slow starvation of this important community institution.


Snyder for supervisor

An answer to our prayer: Kelly Snyder, a retired Buena Vista County Sheriff’s deputy, is running as a Republican in a June primary against District 2 Supervisor Dale Arends, R-Newell. Snyder, of Marathon, is sweet to Arends’ sour. A nice guy. Even the fellows in jail could muster a smile for him. He is full of common sense. He understands every town in the county through his decades of public service. He knows the county employees, who respect and like him to a person. He knows how tough it is to pay the property taxes even in Marathon. Significantly, Kelly Snyder understands public safety. He knows what the sheriff has to deal with. He spent years working with his friends in the Storm Lake Police Department. He has put more miles on county roads, gravel and blacktop, than anyone but Doug Simons so he knows what shape they’re in. He is not the type of official who would advocate that everyone bring a shotgun to the courthouse to ensure safety, as Arends did.

He says if he loses the primary he may run as an independent.

Snyder’s most important quality is his character: his honesty, candor and integrity forged every day by pinning a badge on his shirt. When we called, he answered our every question. When he could not answer it, he found out or directed us to the best source or explained to us sensibly why he could not release that information. He believes that the board of supervisors’ business is the public’s business. That’s why we believe that Kelly Snyder will make a tremendous Buena Vista County supervisor.