Here is my quick review of the city of Fergus Falls budget in regard to: 

1. Total expenditures per capita.

2. Top five expense categories. 

Now, I am sure one could do a deep forensic accounting and find my quick analysis to be off $100,000 one way or another; as each city’s accounting may not totally be inclusive or the same by city. 

Although, it is obvious the other cities do not spend as much per capita as Fergus Falls. The city of Fergus Falls 2021 expenditures (excluding transfers, debt service, capital outlays) is $13,975,400 or roughly $1,020 per person (2019 population) verses other cities only spending $755 ( avg. ) per population. 

This represents a gross “over” spending by the city of Fergus Falls in the amount of $3.5 million per year. (This represents 25% of the city budget.) And note: This is before debt service and capital expenditures which increases spending from $13 million to $39 million. Now this represents $2,845 per capita. 

Seems there is a great deal this council needs to address in efforts to bring spending down: 

1. Operating expenditures. Including planned capital expenditures. 

This spending review must be more than “simply little or no increase in spending” but a real reduction in spending in efforts to reduce real estate taxes, plus, while they are at it, reduce burdensome regulations fees. This will be the best economic driver for Fergus Falls in comparison to other economic funding by the city. 

Here is where I would start:

1. Eliminate planned capital “dreams.” 

a. Bridges to nowhere.

b. Riverfront - master plan.

c. Aqua center.

2. Sell some park lands to private sector for development. I urge all taxpayers in the city of Fergus Falls to contact your council member and especially the mayor to express your thoughts as well. 

Remember, this city is “for the people, by the people” not “for the council’s wishes and wants.”

 

Mark Leighton

Fergus Falls

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