Hell froze over last week at the Grand Forks City Council. Council member Terry Bjerke actually got his way and he didn’t even have to make a big speech.
It was some discussion about the two cops that’ll be patrolling at the airport. I confess I wasn’t really paying attention because it’s not really that big of a deal. The airport has a Transportation Security Administration grant and there’s something like $13,000 that the city was going to pay.
Terry said he’s fed up with the city being the source of funding for everybody else’s project. Council member Doug Christensen agreed, noting that the airport makes money from businesses at the airport and it collects property taxes.
Usually this is about the time when the council votes down whatever Terry suggested 6-1 or 5-2. But, this time, it was unanimous. Even Terry was surprised.
Terry may be on to something.
Just before this particular issue, the council spent an hour talking about a request from the Park District for help funding a bike path that went way over budget. They couldn’t decide and had to send the thing to committee, after which they decided they would lend, instead of give, a smaller amount than asked for.
These conflicts are so inside baseball that I hesitate to write about them — I’m trying to keep readers not drive them away — but they’re pretty important in city politics. (I’m only mentioning it now because, well, I don’t have a lot to blog about today and this post was already half written from last week.)
The city gets the most money of any local government and it’s often the focal point for state or federal aid, so it makes sense that some other local governments would approach it for help. Even Altru Health System uses the city’s bond rating to get better interest rates. Sometimes, these entities cross the line a little and you get conflict.