9/13/2007

Did Rich Ecke Misquote Her?

In Rich Ecke's article last Wednesday about the City's September 4, 2007, Commission meeting, he stated: "City fiscal officer Coleen Balzarini said the coal plant developer, Southern Montana Electric Generation & Transmission Cooperative, has agreed to make a payment in lieu of taxes to make up for the lack of annexation." (Better check the link quick, as we all know the Tribune doesn't keep 'em up for long.)


When I read that, I then requested copies of the 'agreement' made by SME whereby it agreed to make a payment in lieu of taxes. I received a response today:






The operative language? "To date, the contract has not yet been negotiated." In other words, there ain't no contract. SME has "agreed" to diddly.

Mr. Ecke, did you misquote her? Or did she really say that SME already had agreed to payments in lieu of taxes? Because a "contract" that still has terms undetermined, that "has not yet been negotiated," well, it's just not worth the paper that it's not written on. Because if she said that SME has "agreed" to do something, that's not quite true, is it?

Not all promises are legally enforceable. Without a written contract, SME's promises to do something for the next thirty years are worthless. I don't know what would be worse, if Ms. Balzarini doesn't realize that SME's simple, unsupported promise to do something is unenforceable, or if she does realize that and still said what Mr. Ecke reported.

This is not a new problem. Remember the Development Agreement between the City and SME that hasn't been completed? Is it just me or is anyone else nervous that we seem to have a helluva lot riding on a handshake?

And Mayor Stebbins gets angry when someone accuses City Management of "doubletalk?"

Hey, maybe this one will open the eyes of at least one City Commissioner? Staff is pushing an ordinance that will require the City to provide city services to landowners without annexation. The "payments in lieu of taxes" don't exist in a legally enforceable form. Do any Commissioners care?

Hey! There goes a flying monkey!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Contracts? We don't need no stinking contracts! Hey, if things don't go our way, we can cover it. That's what taxes are for, Right?

Sincerely,

Your Great Falls City Commission.
"Energy is our business, not yours"

Anonymous said...

What is the bag limit on flying monkeys and how do you cook them?

Anonymous said...

Shameless.

Why can't you just say she's lying?

Anonymous said...

Everybody breath. Here's the good news, handshakes work both ways.

Get a new, decent, non-criminal group in and they can ignore all the handshaking that went on and work on getting the 1.4 million back and ONLY that.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

When will 'Good Falls' wake up? When will the media ask the tough questions? Who will pay back the water 'subsidy' when the city'is completely 'written off' by SME as reported in the paper recently, as it seems SME perfectly will to 'throw the city under the bus'......those 'blueshirts' shouldn't even be allowed to enter the city limits.....

Anonymous said...

Look at from the City Commissioners' point of view...

So, they: break a few rules,
go against public contract statutes, refuse to make public documents available to the public, deny citizens their constitutional rights, ignore public competitive bidding processes, violate open meeting laws, illegally spend public taxpayers' money and.....

Yeah, so? "What's the penalty?"

Anonymous said...

And Gee Guy,

I know you aren't the playground babysitter, but how come LK is allowed to call our mayor, regardless of her worthiness, "deranged" and an "incompetent sicko"? The constant name calling seems to be generally accepted. Among a number of other inappropriate expressions, he also states "they're coming for you."

I'm not trying to take aim at LK and though I might choose different terms and expressions, I think I realize the core of his sentiment.

But how come..I mean, why, can't I post a two sentence comment disagreeing with two County Commissioners' decision on something? I thought it was tastefully stated, particularly compared to LK's style of expression.

No fair!

Im not trying to solicit some response or engage in an exchange of any sort. Generally, I really respect the opportunity that this forum extends. It's just that I could not resist speaking my mind about the matter.

GeeGuy said...

LK, I deleted that post. It was a little too...out there...even for you.

I hate to do it, but I don't want to be a party to inciting things.

GeeGuy said...

11:12 p.m. Anon: I actually deleted his post before I saw yours.

As far as the county, I do not recall deleting an earlier post about them.

I can tell you that I won't delete a post just because it's critical of the County. There must have been something else...

I just don't remember it. Remind me and I'll try to explain. I really don't like deleting any comments.

Anonymous said...

That's fine. I agree. It's out there, but some of us feel that attempting to have someone arrested for using the word "doublespeak" is even beyond anything I could possibly write. That's all I'm saying. And also, there really are people who take free speech seriously enough to test its limits. That's all I'm saying. Having people arrested and removed is for using a word like doublespeak is NOT tolerable in our town. And I believe that anyone using such methods needs to be educated that such Stalinist tactics will not be tolerated without resistance. The proper venue to determine whether or not free speech is being violated is NOT donna stebbins's mind, but the courts. So, how do we get the show on the road and get our rights returned to us? THAT is the question. And the answer is that when donna violates our rights, we push back. That's all. Will this post stay?

LK

GeeGuy said...

This post is entirely appropriate, in my mind, LK.

And I certainly cannot say that I disagree with all of your sentiments.

A government using the threat of force to limit the freedom of expression is something that is clearly frowned upon by our Constitutions.

mary jolley said...

At next city meeting Tuesday from the agenda meeting schedule is a proclamation. It is for Constitution Week. Isn't it ironic? It was not discussed at the meeting. I wonder if it will be canceled? To whom might it be presented?

Anonymous said...

I don't know, which Constitution. Maybe Cuba?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that is kinda the ultimate irony. Mayor donna, ms. stalin herself, presiding over a ceremony honoring the Constitution! Wonder if she'll have chief dorky there to remove and/or arrest anyone who coughs or farts during her presentation. For you see, coughing or farting could be annoying to donna I'm sure, and she might consider such behavior to be outside the Constitutionally protected action included in free speech! And we ALL know that donna has elevated herself to chief arbiter of what is and is not allowable under free speech! Hey, she's just like dorky. She's a chief too!

LK

Anonymous said...

GeeGuy -

Are you just behind on putting labels on coal plant related information or is this not part of the Coal Plant label?