Item O & R (2023 Finalized Budget)
As many of you know, my primary goal in the 2018 election was to do something about Dayton's crazy taxes. I had watched as our tax rate stayed in the mid 50s even though we had added a significant number of houses. I did get elected, but the majority of the council at that time had no intent to reduce taxes, so for the next 2 years I was out voted 4-1 on most of the large spending votes.
In 2020 I ran and was elected mayor on this issue. That year we were able to get a majority on the council that also believed in making taxes a priority. Our first budget for 2022 resulted in a decrease in the tax rate from 53% to 48% and we were able to fix the gutting of the pavement funding done by the previous council's 2021 budget. For the 2023 budget we approved at this meeting, we were able to take an even bigger bite out of taxes by paying attention to what was being spent. This budget will be the lowest tax rate Dayton has ever seen (that we could find records of) and brings us within a couple percent of most of our neighboring cities (actually lower than some of them). Back in September, we approved the preliminary budget at 38%, but this final number came in at 36%. So, we took the tax rate from 48% to 36% and still hired 3 people, 2 new police cars, a new snow plow, and 3 new utility pickups.
For those that prefer a graphic 🙂
Item P (Zanzibar Lane Pavement Plans and Specs)
This was authorization to create plans and specifications to pave the south side of Zanzibar. My current belief is this will result in a whole lot more traffic on 125th, West French Lake, and Fernbrook roads due to additional Elk River and Otsego traffic. I also have concerns about the bridge width and added stress, but the engineering done on it has cleared those issues. On the plus side it will also add an additional north-south path for some of Dayton's residents. At this point I could go either way on it.
Item Q (Brayburn Trails 2 Development)
This development will look quite a bit like the neighboring Brayburn Trails development on 117th. This development has been in the works for close to 3 years and was where the issue with the Comprehensive Transportation plan reared its ugly head. See here for details. This development won't be effected by any changes until phase 3 of this development which will be years out. The developer is aware of the possible change.
Item S (Long Term Plan)
This was an agreement to accept the 2023 Long Term Plan. At this time there were no changes made to it. While we do vote on this, the plan can be changed at any time as long as the majority agree to it. For details, see the agenda.
Item T (Accepting RFP for Transportation Plan Amendments)
The Transportation Plan changes to the Comprehensive Plan I mentioned in Item Q above will be done by an outside firm. Whenever we make Comprehensive Plan changes we typically go through a firm that has experience with it. In this case it's also the firm we're using to do our planning activities since they came in quite a bit lower than the others and they're obviously familiar with the city.
Item U (DDA staffing study)
This was an acceptance of the work we commissioned to look at staffing levels and needs within the city. Luckily we didn't pay much for this study because in my opinion we didn't get much. I had wanted a more comparative study between our city and similar cities as far as job descriptions, staffing requirements, etc. While they recommended adding staff, it didn't take into account those actions were approved months ago.