Sep 14, 2021 Council Meeting Update

Agenda (click to open)

View the meeting

Item P (Pineview Lane Trail project)

For years the city has had a trail planned down Pineview between the River road and South Diamond Lake roads. The city currently owns the property needed to complete a trail on the east side of Pineview from South Diamond to 137th. Specifically, the 137th coming out of Pineview Meadows. (I have NO idea why that isn't 137 1/2).

Given, much of the trail traffic would be going through Pineview Meadows, both east and west sides were looked at.

East side trail:

  • The city owns more than enough land.
  • There are no utilities.
  • Price, roughly $200k (trail + engineering)
  • Would require a pedestrian crossing at 137th.

West side trail:

  • The city would need to purchase land for the entire length. This is significant since:
    • Given what the previous council did with regards to taking property (condemnation), at least 3 of the current members (me included) have no appetite for taking property.
    • The cost would then be what the property owner thought their land was worth (kinda weird huh?)
  • All of the utilities would need to be dealt with. (gas, electric, cable, phone, utility poles)
  • Price, unknown but would consist of:
    • Trail + engineering ($200k same as an east side trail)
    • Cost of dealing with all of the utilities (Based on the Pineview project to the south, I would guess about $90 per foot to bury the lines, so roughly $135k +)
    • Cost of the property (Likely the biggest cost)

For those of you that don't know where I live, my property is one of the west side properties. Had the council thought it would be worth exploring, I would have been fine with a trail on the west side, but... I wouldn't have been fine with condemnation, and it's likely I wouldn't have been fine with the cost.

Item Q (Transportation update)

This was a short discussion on some possible options to help mitigate the increased traffic at Dayton Parkway and 81 when 117th is connected and the CRG project is in place. At least a couple members (me included) are skeptical of putting TIF money into a county road. Especially given the county doesn't seem too concerned about. The original numbers were in the $7M-$9M range. This option would bring that number down to $1.5M and allow us to use more of that TIF on West French Lake road improvements.

I also have concerns about the Spetz property to the west. The improvements would require some of this property and I'd want to make sure they were appropriately compensated.

Item S-T-U (budget)

This was to finalize a PRELIMINARY tax levy that will be submitted to the state. This is NOT the final levy, but the final levy cannot be higher than this. In other words, we can (and I will) continue to try to reduce it...

While I'm still not convinced we've pulled out all the unnecessary spending, I think we've come a long way from what has been done in recent years. For the past 4 years, we've had about a 50% increase in housing. During that same time taxes went up by 80%.

More houses means more costs to the city but... those houses should be far more efficient to manage for the city. For me this means we should have no need to increase taxes more than the increase in houses, and given the past tax increases have GREATLY exceeded the housing increase, I believe there's a lot of room to bring it down significantly.

Just for a comparison, the average tax increase over the past 4 years was 16%. So far this budget (2022) is just under 10%.

Another tid-bit, previous tax rates were incorrectly calculated. The EDA levy was not being included, and so when the EDA levy was significantly increased in 2021, it didn't show up in the rate (even though it showed up in your taxes).


As always, contact me for any questions or comments.