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Letter: Administrator sets record straight on city decisions

By Steve Robinson, Worthington City Administrator

A recent letter to the editor took the city to task with the writer’s opinion that our elected officials are making bad choices with tax dollars. The letter contained inaccuracies and misperceptions.

The writer states that the city has proposed a six-plex movie theater and opines that it would be a better idea to build a three- or four-screen theater. The city has not proposed any movie theater. Not one of three, four or six screens. However, in meetings with many citizens, the absence of a movie theater always was at the top of the list of desired amenities. Your elected officials have listened to their constituents and will continue to explore opportunities to either assist or participate in a public-private partnership to get a multi-screen theater back in Worthington. Last month the Worthington City Council directed staff to issue a Request for Proposal for the development of a new, first-run, multi-screen theater operating seven days each week. Proposals are due at the end of the month.

The new city-owned liquor store is scheduled to open in mid-July. Purchasing the former retail store on Ryan’s Road and the renovations will cost more than $2.5 million — not a penny of which came from the taxpayers. In fact, the liquor store annually transfers $225,000 to the general fund, thereby reducing the tax burden of all property owners. But the liquor store profits have not been limited to the amount transferred back to the city. Profits above the transfer amount — $1.4 million over the last six years — have been saved and placed in reserves for the purpose of funding a new liquor store. The new liquor store will be paid for from these profits. Again, not a penny of taxpayer funds will be used for the new store. Once the new store is paid off, those additional profits could be used for further tax relief.

I welcome the opportunity to talk to anyone that has directions about the direction in which the city is going. I can be reached at 372-8622.