The city of Red Wing has argued that the legislation on its way to the Governor is merely a “clarification” of their ability to sell MNGL. In doing so, they try to minimize the importance of this bill in terms of protecting the public’s interest in this valuable recreational space.
In the Kronschnabel case, the Minnesota Supreme Court held, “Since the legislature has imposed a governmental purpose upon the use of the property, the city is not permitted to use it otherwise or redelegate the use except by legislative authority. …The property in question is held by the city for a governmental purpose and…the city must have legislative authority to transfer it.” State v. Kronschnabel, 137 N.W.2d 200, 203. (1965)
The bill doesn’t clarify the City’s authority to sell, as if they might have the authority but it’s unclear; it grants the authority to sell. Under Kronschnabel, absent legislative authority, the City can’t sell the property. It’s that simple.
Why does this matter? It matters because we have been denied by the City Council the opportunity to weigh in on what requirements should be included in the legislation prior to legislative action, such as deed restrictions, enforcement provisions, reversion clauses, etc.
It’s true the Council has to ratify the legislation in order for it to become law, but the Council is now free to proceed with the sale without any additional protection of the public’s interest than what is contained in the bill.
Ask yourself this, if the legislation really was merely a clarification, then why didn’t the Council put it on the agenda for approval?