There is an important election coming up for our city! If you like the direction it's going, pay attention to who's on the ballet and research their positions (you may find what they're pushing for WILL cost you a great deal)
Item J (Officer body cameras)
Not much to say here. If you have any comments regarding the policy, feel free to contact Chief Enga.
Item K (Water trails study)
Not much here either. The study is really a stepping stone to grant money to improve some of our river access.
Item L (Zanzibar Improvement project)
This was a discussion on approving preliminary design work on the upgrading of south Zanzibar, which is currently a dirt road. Up until sometime last year (or earlier), this project was set somewhere out a few years. And that's where I thought it should be. Without the councils approval it was pulled in to next year.
Regardless, I see no reason to pave it anytime soon. All it will do is increase the traffic from the west side of our city (North and South Diamond and Brockton) and GREATLY increase the traffic on Fernbrook because it'll provide a direct route between those points. Anybody coming in our western boarder will have a direct shot to Maple Grove. Currently that traffic would have to take Pineview and then backtrack on 129th (unless they take the dirt road).
We ended up tabling the discussion because one of the council wanted our Fire Chief's input.
Item M (Preliminary Levy)
This item sets the maximum amount the city can levy for 2023. This caps the overall levy increase to 3.87%. December we'll set the final value which, by state statute, can only get smaller.
This was painful to get to but after watching this city's budgets over the years it was very obvious to me that we needed to get some sanity back into our taxes. In 2 years we took our tax rate from 54% to 38%. As a side note, the previous council had a goal of getting to 38% in 2030 (except they were taking NO steps to get there). We still hired 4-5 people, 2 new police cars, a new snow plow, 3 new utility pick ups, etc.
A significant help is setting next year's levy was (among other things) we had a debt expire being paid out of taxes. That meant we had some room to pay for ongoing costs (such as new employees) without additional taxes. Previous councils not only filled those expiring debt payments with spending but ALSO raised taxes for even more spending (the 2020 budget had a 27% increase in spending!).
Another point for comparison, Corcoran is a similar size city, similar population, similar growth (almost no debt). Their spending increase this year will be 22%.
Sorry... I'm done 🙂
Almost. Here's this (I couldn't resist):
Item N, O, and P
These were items related to various zoning ordinances. The accessory change was to allow a smaller structure (under 200 sq. ft.) for properties up against their maximum accessory structures.
As always, feel free to contact me for any comments or questions.