By Jennifer Kotila
KINGSTON, MN The residents of the city of Kingston cast their ballots Tuesday to decide the fate of the city, with 36 of them voting “no” on the question of dissolution.
The city of Kingston shall remain a city for the foreseeable future. Of the 59 total voters, 23 cast their ballot in favor of dissolution.
“I’m pleased,” said Kingston Mayor Jim Herda. “I hope that we don’t have to face this again.”
However, Laurie Wells, the resident who started the petition raising the question of dissolution, said she plans to bring the issue forward again in the future.
The petition that brought about this special election was signed by 32 qualified voters, or 49 percent of the voting population of Kingston.
The 2010 census showed 65 voters within the city limits, according to the findings of fact by the Minnesota’s Municipal Boundary Adjustment unit.
This was the second time in 10 years residents of Kingston have been asked whether or not to dissolve the city, and each time it costs the small town about $3,000, according to Herda.
The city of 161 residents has an annual budget of $33,979 for 2013.
Although Wells thinks it is worth the $3,000 cost to taxpayers, she said she would do more homework before going around with a petition for dissolution in the future.
“There should be more transparency, and I will search more for the facts,” Wells said, noting a pro-and-con sheet regarding dissolution should be distributed to the taxpayers. “I would like to know more answers myself, and I just got brief answers across the board.”
She noted that maybe if everything was written out clearly about how taxes would be affected if the city were to dissolve, residents would agree with dissolution.
“I know the mayor’s upset with me, but I love him dearly,” Wells said, noting she and her husband are close friends with the mayor and his wife.
Wells noted that her husband and other friends are also on opposite sides of the issue than she, but she thinks a lot of people want Kingston to remain a town for sentimental reasons.
Only three towns have dissolved since Minnesota passed a law governing dissolution in 1949. Island View near International Falls dissolved in 1992; Ronneby near St. Cloud dissolved in 2009; and, most recently, Tenney in Wilkin County dissolved in 2011.