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 what kind of promises they're making.
If a candidate knocks on your door offering gold rainbows, they're likely NOT telling you what it'll cost you (hint: a new fire station at this time will result in a 34% increase in taxes). Ask them how they'll pay for it and be prepared for silence.
In 5-6 years we'll have a LOT of revenue coming in from the commercial/industrial areas and it'll be MUCH more affordable.
Another hint? Who's backing that candidate?
Ask deliberate questions and wait for clear answers!
If you (or your group) want to talk to me about the election, feel free to email or call and I'll come to you.
Item M (water treatment costs)
I know I've mentioned this in the past, but when the city (or me) refers to "treatment", it just refers to iron and manganese removal. The water would still need to be softened (which removes calcium and magnesium) unless you like replacing dish and clothes washers every 5-10 years.
Some of this was repeat information from the previous meeting on costs. We were originally given an estimate of $4M for each treatment facility (old village and central system). Those estimates turned out to be wildly inaccurate.
At our last design discussion, the central system was priced out at $7.5M. We were able to remove $1.5M worth of equipment not needed at this time. When we need it years from now, we could add it back in. So it's looking like $6M for the central treatment facility. Since we received a $4M grant we'll need to use $2M from the water fund reserves which we have.
So, unless we get another surprise, it looks like our central system will get a water treatment facility. It'll take a couple years to complete...
And onto the old village system...
From our previous meeting on approving the start of a design for the old village, I was fairly frustrated that the council only wanted to look at the $4M solution. That solution would have been $20K PER HOUSE. Government at its finest. That didn't seem to phase the majority.
It's also worth mentioning that staff had tested 12 (I believe) homes at the faucet and all of them had very low levels of iron and manganese. Not a surprise since typical water softeners/filters provide a good level of treatment.
And then we were given the updated costs for the old village treatment facility; Just above $6M. That got some attention from the majority. $30k per house was too much but somehow $20k wasn't. Regardless, some sanity crept in and our new instructions to our consultant was to find a different solution.
More to come on that in the near future.
Item N (Dominium apartments)
Roughly a year ago we started getting the zoning ready for the 160 acres on the south side of the freeway surrounding Dayton Parkway. That zoning is Mixed Use and allows high density homes (apartments) along with various types of commercial uses.
I have always maintained we should have high density residential near our connections to main roads in order to reduce density within the city.
This concept plan was for an area that is going to be hard to get commercial into, due to the topography and wetlands. Our planning commission went through it and made some recommendations and it was our turn. There was an overall consensus that this was a good location, the entire design looked good, the buildings, and layout looked good.
What the developer was providing was low income housing, and in order to make it work they require the city to TIF the project for 27 years to cover roughly half the rent. Our consultant found a way to do it for 15, but that didn't help.
There are basically two uses for TIF; A legal gift given to the developer, or paying for infrastructure in the immediate area (off the property). In this case, it would have been the gift version, and none of us were even close to ok with that.
I was aware of this when they submitted it to the planning commission, and asked Staff to let the developer know that the council likely would have no appetite for any subsidy. They decided to put the work in and present it to us regardless. I believe the lack of TIF will kill the project.
Item O (long term plan)
This ended up being a discussion about the amount of housing the long term plan assumes. I understand that plans should include inputs that are realistic, but I also know how government works. It's far easier to add expenditures if there's extra money (i.e. we built more houses than planned) than it is to remove expenditures if there's a shortfall. The long term plan assumed 140 new houses and it was adjusted it to 200.
Item P (Police Body Cameras)
This was a continuation of the public meeting started at the last meeting. If you have any questions / concerns feel free to ask the chief or myself. The adopted policy is in the agenda.
Item Q (Goat and Sheep Ordinance)
Yep, if you want a pet for a couple of weeks to eat down some of that Buckthorn or Prickly Ash on your residential property, you can now legally do it. You'll just need to have a fencing plan and a permit from the city. Companies that offer this service will be able to provide the fencing.
The only change I requested was that sheep and goat fence doesn't come in 5 feet sizes so we adjusted the fence height down to 4 feet.
Item R (Zanzibar preliminary design)
Well, here I am again on the losing side of a vote. It's starting to feel like the old days...
At the last meeting, the question came up about authorizing a design on paving the south side of Zanzibar.
Here's why I'm against it at this time:
- We have other roads that should take higher priority.
- There will be little left in the fund after this, and due to the previous council borrowing the full amount against our state aid money, no state aid for state aid roads.
- Why would we want to amplify, by a large amount, the traffic on this road with its narrow and very old bridge? What is the risk the bridge fails in the next 10-20 years and FORCES us to put substantial money into it before we're ready?
- I see too many dynamics in play for that entire area to commit to paving it at this time.
- Almost all of the traffic will NOT be Dayton traffic.
- If you think Fernbrook traffic is bad today, what do you think this will do to it?
By the way, I live on Pineview and it'll likely cut that traffic, but I still think it's a bad idea.
At the last meeting one of the members wanted to wait and get the fire chief's input. He provided his input... and said he'd rather go from station 2 to Fernbrook via Zanzibar than Pineview.
I just measured it. The Zanzibar path is 5 miles and has 3 sharp 90 degree turns. The Pineview path is 2.5 miles and has 1 sharp and 2 sweeping 90 degree turns. Even to Brayburn Trails it's 6 miles and 4 sharp 90s via Zanzibar or 4.3 miles, 2 sharp 90s, and 2 sweeping 90s via Pineview. Frustrating. I'm chalking it up to a misunderstanding, but at a predicted cost of $1.4M (we'll see if this estimate holds up), it would be nice to get some clarity.
Regardless, the decision to spend $70k on a preliminary design was approved 3-2 (Scott and I were in the minority).
Item S (Cluster Zoning)
This was a continuation of a discussion that was started last year. We're trying to find SOME way to add some diversity to our residential areas. Unfortunately, staff positions (previously) and much of our current planning commission wants a continuation of business as usual. The cluster zoning wasn't very well thought out regardless. The planning commission didn't like it and I didn't either. The only issue it fixes is to allow land to be used for residential while that land is waiting to get sewer, but even then it allows 4 houses instead of 1, and it heavily restricts (to the point of being useless) how that happens.
The only route that seems like a workable path is the RE zoning. That zoning assumes an area is not planned for sewer, which means we'd need to plan it out such that it doesn't impact the areas that WILL get sewer.
More to come...
This session was to discuss negotiations with the city staff unions.
Again, feel free to contact me!