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Editorial: Perham city leaders show outside-the-box thinking

Those who work in the City of Perham offices should be commended for their innovative thought processes.

In the last month, city leaders have saved taxpayers around $80,000, simply because they've refused to accept the 'normal' way of doing business.

At a Feb. 15 city council meeting, a motion was approved to charge Otter Tail Power Company with a franchise fee. Income generated through that fee - roughly $60,000 in a year - matches the amount the city pays annually to light the town.

The city will begin to collect the franchise fee in July.

The second example this month of outside-the-box thinking came on the heels of an engineer's report that called for the demolition of Krueger Grandstand.

The city initially received a low bid of $7,800, a cost the city hadn't necessarily budgeted for. Rather than accepting this and moving on, City Manager Kelcey Klemm caught wind of another option: the Amish.

Through various modes of non-standard communication, a deal was made.

Instead of paying nearly $8,000 for someone to take the grandstand down, the city is now accepting a payment of $10 from an Amish community interested in the material.

Before the agreement was locked, Klemm took the issue of liability into consideration - the Amish do not carry insurance. To get around this issue, the grandstand was sold to the Amish for $10, which means it's now their property - any harm incurred during the demolition process is no longer the concern of the city, legally.

In this situation, both parties benefited from the transaction, and taxpayers didn't have to carry the cost.

During a time when many cities are struggling with dwindling budgets, it's encouraging to see that Perham city leaders are taking the task of wisely using taxpayers' money seriously. Perham residents are fortunate to have such competent and innovative leaders.