Failure to communicate

A posting on Minneapolis e-democracy list on October 19, 2009

“Larry Ludeman owns five buildings on Garfield Avenue South. He is paying a total of $21,000 a year in real estate taxes - twice what he paid in 2005. Garfield Avenue was torn up in the fall of 2007 to install a storm sewer drain for a new apartment complex, the Murals apartment. A temporary concrete patch was placed over the torn-up street and, later, an asphalt patch over that. This area has become rough. A seal coating, originally promised, has not been made. The concrete alley to the west of Garfield Avenue, which was destroyed by construction of the apartment, has been replaced by an asphalt alley, with a shorter life. Already cracks have appeared. Property owners in the area were promised by city officials that the streets and alleys would be "made whole". This has not happened.

Mr. Ludeman is worried that replacement of the alley will bring special assessments to adjacent property owners although its destruction benefited a particular owner - the developer of the Murals apartment. Now over two years after the project began, the street has not been completely repaired. Ludeman has expressed his concerns to Council Member Lilligren in three voice mails and seven emails over a year-and-a-half period without resolution of the problem. Lately, there have been no responses. Ludeman has also begun to send emails to Mayor Rybak, again without response. The city has evidently exercised inadequate supervision over this project, and city officials don't want to talk about it.

Ludeman’s experience indicates that although property owners in Minneapolis are paying high property taxes, they are getting little in return. The idea of customer service is barely alive. Even in an election year, elected officials feel so secure that they don't bother to respond to inquiries from constituents. Does anyone care?

William McGaughey
Harrison, Minneapolis

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