Feb 13th, 2024 Council Meeting and Work Session

Agenda (click to open)

View the meeting (click to open)

Current Events

  • If you or people in your area want to meet and discuss any topics on your mind, reach out to me and we will set up a time to visit.
  • If you hear something you're curious to know more about, feel free to contact me (email, phone call, or in person is fine) !
  • As you're driving on the river road by Stephen's park you'll notice construction on the south side of the road. That's the new central water system treatment facility in progress.
  • Many of you are familiar with the phrase "rural look and feel" or "rural character." Dayton residents have said this is important to them and I agree. It's even in our mission statement. Unfortunately, our history over the past 20 years doesn't reflect it very well. We had a work session on the topic, but it wasn't very productive. We'll likely have another. Feel free to send me your comments on it!

Work session on Rural Character

Unfortunately, this didn't go the direction I had hoped.

Staff presented pictures to evaluate and rate as to whether or not we wanted to be presented more of that type of"rural feel". It seemed like it was better aimed at how to make our residential developments better. A good topic, but nothing to do with any rural aspect of the city.

We did talk some about large lot opportunity. There's two things at play here; lot size and land guidence use (how land will ultimately be used). The Met Council likes 40 acre minimums because it makes it almost impossible, due to price, for someone to buy a 40 acre lot and put a house on it. The current land owner HAS NO CHOICE but to try to continue farming it, even if they can't make money at it or want to keep their children on it by splitting it up between them (feel free to insert any version of your eye roll here).

Land use (guidance) is how the city says the land will be used in the future. That use is also spelled out in the Comprehensive Plan the city submits and gets approved by the Met Council every 10 years.

Say you have an 80 acre piece of land. The city has it "guided" for 3 houses per acre. The owner CAN split it into two 40 acre pieces and put a house on each piece. The guidance hasn't changed, because in the final buildout, it is planned to have 3 houses per acre once sewer is run to the property. My question has always been "where is 40 written into statute?" Or 10? or 5 even?

The Met Council even has a document that shows how to split land into 2.5 acre lots using ghost platting so it can be used when sewer is a long ways off. Unfortunately, the council is constantly hit with the "Met Council won't let you do that" comments. While I know they certainly don't want anything that will hinder packing houses in, I have yet to hear HOW they have that control.

Item K (Pavement Management Plan)

Earlier this year we approved a pavement management study. This was to discuss the results of that study. Roads are graded from a 0 (totally shot) to 100 (brand new). The study showed Dayton roads average about 50. 70 is the goal since that seems to keep the maintenance costs at a good point.

In order to get our roads up to 70, the study showed we would need to be putting in about $2M a year into pavement. That may seem like a lot, but we're almost there.

One of my budget goals when I first ran for city council was to correct the amount the city puts into the road fund every year. Over many years the city was putting in $250k per year which everyone knew was too low. The year the interchange was built that value was raised to $800k to make the numbers work (and we got the franchise fee, which I believed was a dishonest way to get revenue). Unfortunately, the next year was an election year and that infected the process so the pavement budget was slashed to $200k over my objection. On top of that, they took out a loan against our MSA funds to pay for the gold plating on the Pineview rebuild (the project that went from $2M to $4M in city funds).

So while we were able to significantly correct Dayton's nasty tax rate from 55% to 36% over the past few years, we also adjusted the amount of revenue into the pavement fund to $600k. The franchise fees brings in roughly $500k. The MSA loan is about done so that will bring in about $300k. In rough numbers we're at about $1.4M. That will improve the roads, but more would improve the trajectory.

It is likely the city wil have a good amount of budget capacity increase next year and adding money to the pavement fund will be a priority I suspect. The council will have to balance other wants with that while keeping an eye on our tax rate. Unfortunately, there are 2 members that don't seem to have a problem putting Dayton back on the list of high tax cities... so 2025 budget discussions will be interesting.

As always contact me for opinions and questions.