Feb 08, 2022 Council Meeting

Agenda (click to open)

View the meeting (click to open)

Item H (Organic Recycling)

Hennepin County has created a requirement that all cities create some form of organics recycling program. Our options are detailed in the Agenda, but as can be expected, this is a mandate that can (and likely will) get expensive at some point.

The end result was we chose the option (creating a drop-off site) that allows us time to get a better idea of where we want to go with this in the future. So expect to see information in the coming months from city hall as to how to access the drop off site.

Item I (Fee study)

I've had concerns about our permit / planning fees for years. State law requires fees (any fees) to cover the cost of the service and that's it. Fees are not supposed to be revenue generators. At the same time, fee costs are often hard to predict, especially when there are significant variables involved. Unfortunately, our building permit and plan fees fell into that category. This isn't as simple a topic as it seems due to the state statute we have to follow. The city expenses for these fees don't scale very well for the amount or value of the housing happening in our city. In other words, a house that is twice as valuable as another one won't cost the city twice as much to administer even though the fees will be twice as high. So if there are more homes than planned, or the homes are more valuable than planned, the fees will be too high.

Late last year, it was obvious to me that we needed to account for this, so we reduced our fees by roughly 30%. Earlier this year we hired a firm to take a more thorough look and see where we were at. They could only use the previous years numbers and came up with results that showed about what I suspected when we reduced them. More importantly, they came up with a recipe to help guide us in the future.

Item J (Strategic Plan)

Every year the council and staff try to synchronize goals. And every year, it's a mess. It's a mess because there are always LOTS of things individual members want to see, especially when there's a large change in members. Some are more important than others, some are significantly easier to achieve than others, and some don't reach the point where at least 3 members are in favor of them.

This year we started with the list of goals created for 2021. I wasn't impressed with this list of 16 goals, but there was a lot of turmoil about that time last year and it wasn't a battle I wanted to put energy into.

For my part I pointed out that, of all the goals listed, not one was aimed at reducing the cost of city government. My number one goal is reducing the city's tax burden to at least a reasonable level. My number two goal is getting control of our build rate. While our current build rate is currently at the mercy of what previous councils did, soon those decisions will lose impact and we'll have more control. At that point I'd like to have some plan in place so what we plan on is what occurs.

The end result for our goals settled on tax reduction, residential development reduction, looking at various aspects on our park system, and getting more detail into what we want to do with some of the city's major roads.

As usual feel very free to contact me with questions you have.