Letter to the Editor: Waiting for a change

To the Editor:

The election is getting close, so let’s review. From my experience first-hand, I know there needs to be a change.

I know I have been through this before, and probably think I should move on and get over it. The move I have done, but the lies, the unfairness of not being treated equal and the disrespect I received looking for true answers stays with me.

Sure, the loss of that 25x152-foot section of property was hurtful, but we are all going to end up with the same little piece of land in the end anyway. The dishonesty, the unfairness, the inequality and the disrespect, was this because I was a woman, alone or was it because I had the courage to approach them with questions, trying to find the truth?

At a Supervisors meeting I asked if the adjoining business was losing land, as they should have if we did. It was said that they are losing some. So, how can that be if the County paid them $15,000 an acre for two acres? So, I called that same person who told me that about the adjoining business’ loss, thinking maybe I could get a clear answer.

I was asked if I ever offered to buy some of that land. Why would I offer to buy something I thought I owned? Then he asked if I was still going to mow it. Would you call that harassment, or was that his defense because I caught him in a lie?

Calling a Supervisor about the harassment I received, he thought the question I was asked was funny. No respect from him for my concerns for honesty.

Calling one of the leaders of the adjoining business, I asked him who approached him about the subdivision of their property on Eighth Avenue. He told me it was the Waukon Economic Development Committee (WEDC). When I asked him which ones, he said he couldn’t remember - a convenient memory.

Then I called someone who I thought was on WEDC. When I asked, he said he was on WEDC in 2011 and had been on since it started. I asked if he knew where I lived, and he said yes. But when I asked him who approached the adjoining business about the subdivision on their property on Eight Avenue, his words were,

“We had nothing to do with it.” Another lie?

I let him know I knew different, because I had already talked to the adjoining business. But then, he didn’t remember who, either. Someone else with a convenient memory. Would you want someone making decisions with your money with that kind of memory?

Talking to someone from another business that built on that 25x152-foot section, he said to me that just because I mow someone’s lawn does not mean I own it. Was he not told the truth? Did he not know that our property line was the same for 112 years? We were supposed to mow it, it belonged to us. That is what you do, you pay and take care of what belongs to you. At least that is what I was taught.

I wrote Senator Grassley about everything that happened after September 19, 2011. Here is his reply:

“Thank you very much for contacting me regarding the difficulties you are experiencing. It’s important that I know your concerns. The subject you raise is a state issue and not within my jurisdiction as a federal legislative official. I would recommend that you contact your state Senator and Representative, if you have not done so already.”

So, taxpayers paid for the water and sewer for the adjoining business to relocate, gave them a 10-year tax rebate - 100% down to 10%. Then we paid them $30,000 for two acres, when the County should have claimed the loss from them from the same survey that was done to us. Was the $30,000 to compensate for the property tax they paid? Does that add up to be equal to the one-year abatement that we were offered when I informed them I was still taxed on the land that was taken from us and sold?

Now, there is the former Tierney building, a building that was gifted to the City. We spent $50,000 on a roof on a building that has sat empty for years. I called a city council member at that time to see why. He told me it was WEDC. When I asked if they have something going in there, his reply was that they say they do.

What has been the expense to taxpayers? We have the roof. Was there utilities, insurance, property tax? I hope they find a profitable solution for this building. If it has to be demolished that will be another big expense to taxpayers. We have spent a lot of money on emptiness.

All the phone calls and research, the time I spent looking for honest answers, and nothing made a difference. But I am proud that I had the courage to approach them, because I did discover the truth, the truth about why we need a change with those who spend our tax dollars. If they say they spend our tax dollars wisely, it probably is not true.

I’m waiting for a change, because we deserve honesty, fairness, respect and equality.

Mary Schulte
Waukon property owner
Denver, IA

 

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