By Tom Steward | Watchdog Minnesota
Bill McKenzie’s email was short and to the point.
“I am (an) individual bondholder. Why doesn’t the city go to the reserve funds and pay the bond interest due on these bonds? You are hurting bondholders who loaned the city this money,” McKenzie wrote in frustration.
The plea went out last week from the 70-year-Tucson retiree who with his wife lives more than 1,700 miles from the Monticello, Minn., City Council members he attempted to contact.
City officials’ response? No reply— same as before, he said.
McKenzie may live across the country, but he’s become part of this Twin Cities bedroom community of necessity, following City Council meetings online and tracking its finances more closely than many of Monticello’s 13,000 residents. He reached out to Watchdog Minnesota after reading several online investigative reports on Fibernet Monticello.
“This is one of my investments,” McKenzie said. “They were rated very high at the time of purchase by Standard and Poor’s. So we made the buy.”
Some $26 million in revenue bonds were used to build the Monticello fiber opticbroadband network that offers high speed Internet, cable television and telephone. Touted as a national model for local governments not so long ago, Fibernet faced fierce competition from private providers from the get-go.