Good evening -
Tonight was a great Shakopee City Council meeting with some wonderful, passionate discussions. Can’t believe I get excited over these things…who knew?!
Here’s what we accomplished together:
4] Consent Agenda
- Awarded contract for street overlays (presidential streets, 13th, SW of 10th x Spencer, Barrington Dr area) for $695,000 – overall $170,000 below estimate.
- Awarded contract for Vierling Drive Overlay for $428,000 – $14,000 below estimate.
- Awarded contract for Main Street Utility Improvements for $153,800 – $40,000 below estimate.
- Multiple hires to fill vacant positions
- Resolution of Appreciation for Sgt Bob Forberg on his retirement.
7] Annual Financial Report
- Annual Financial Report from our auditors. We’re in good shape. (Actually very interesting and good to check out. Click here and go to page 239 of the May 15, 2012 meeting. (Yes — I know — we need a new website!)
8] $445,000 in taxpayer savings!
- The extraordinary Julie Linnihan (Finance Director) put together a plan to refund bonds that saved the taxpayers $445,000 in interest payments!!
10] Finish Vierling Drive from Taylor to 69
Those of you that live on the west side of town will appreciate this.
- The impressive Mr. Bruce Loney (Public Works Director) is working to finish Vierling drive from Taylor through to 69 via a Cooperative Agreement with MnDOT.
- City Council also authorized researching the value of the surrounding land to purchase it from MnDot for development. The city has never really purchased land for development in the past, but I’m excited about the possibility and the potential of this test project.
14] Discussion of Finance and Budget Issues
This was the start of having big discussions as a city council that have been avoided in the past. We thought it prudent to give city staff an idea of council’s thoughts on the 2013 tax rates for Shakopee.
My focus is always on the long-term health of our city. Our tax levy has remained flat since 2009 and we have a major infrastructure need in the coming years. A significant investment will be needed to replace/repair roads that were built during the major city expansion.
Getting to work with our great city staff has been a pleasure. I believe our staffing has been reduced and stretched to the point where it is a detriment to the residents of Shakopee. We are at a time when we must invest in our future to maintain our competitiveness with other communities, keep our infrastructure solid and provide the services needed by you, our residents.
This all takes money. City Council gave direction tonight that:
- A majority of Council is willing to look at major cuts in city services to continue our low tax rate
- A majority of Council is willing to look at personnel cuts if private business can provide cheaper/better services
- A majority of Council is willing to vote for revenue (taxes, fees, etc.) increases to meet our needs and future progress
To be clear, I am in the majority on all three items. I believe we can make cuts in services that aren’t providing return to our residents or can be better performed by private business. I also believe that we need to make an investment in our economic development processes, infrastructure, communication with residents while maintaining our exemplary public safety record.
You can watch the meeting here and I encourage you to watch item #14 (you can skip to it) where we have a very good discussion and illustrates the differing views on the future of our community. Smart business plans for the future while striving to be as efficient as possible delivering current services. It is time for Shakopee to invest. I said tonight that I am willing to vote for an increase in revenue that come with added efficiencies, service cuts and improving the way our government serves Shakopee. My target is a 2% reduction from the 2012 budget + specific, necessary staff/projects that focus on our future.
It won’t be easy, but there is a lot of common ground in our views and we will work toward reaching it throughout the budget process.
What do you think we can cut? Where should we invest? What creative ideas do you have to increasing the city’s revenue? Thank you very much and I look forward to your comments.
Have a great day!
Link to Agenda
Link to City Council Packet