Bill Droste - Mayor of Rosemount
What motivated you to run for mayor?
What motivated you to run for mayor?
Four years ago, when there was much conflict at city hall, little was being done regarding long-term issues facing Rosemount. We were the highest taxed city in Dakota County and yet we lack simple amenities like a library, pool, senior center, etc. when compared to cities of comparable size and our council at the time was having a difficult time working on citizen issues.
Over the last four years I have worked hard with two different councils focusing on Rosemount's future, on issues that directly impact residents that have made investments in our community. We have made significant progress improving public safety, dramatically improved economic development, added amenities and are progressing on downtown redevelopment. Elected officials are elected to do what's best for the city and residents do not want to see elected officials in personal arguments. I have a strong commitment to make Rosemount a great place to live, work and play building on our small town elements and historical past.
There has been an emphasis placed on attracting more commercial development to Rosemount in recent years. What is your opinion on how growth has been handled in Rosemount and in what areas might Rosemount still be lacking?
Generally, I believe housing growth has been handled well. Some of our older neighborhoods were built without connections to trails and sidewalks however we are making improvements as we work on street improvement projects. We must insure that new neighborhoods are well connected with great trails while sustaining and protecting natural areas.
We must do a better job with long range planning that looks at jobs and support services resident's desire. The past two years, we worked on the 42/52 corridor taking a long term look at the area that includes expanding the available land for industries and commercial services to locate. I have also been engaged on many transportation issues working towards solutions for many of the regional bottlenecks that Rosemount residents navigate on their daily commutes to work. Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) has Rosemount on its capital plan in 2011 for a Park & Ride facility subject to available funding. There is no single solution to our transportation problems, except that we must do a better job setting aside land for future corridors in the county, thus eliminating the land acquisition issues that occur with development. .
Commercial development aside, what do you see as the three most important issues facing the city of Rosemount?
I believe economic development, downtown revitalization, and public facilities are the three most important issues facing Rosemount. .
Dakota County will be adding approximately 120,000 people by 2030. Farmington, Lakeville and Rosemount will be three of the cities where much of that growth will occur. We must create an environment where Rosemount is one of the places where companies want to locate facilities and services to serve our growing population. We are in the initial phase on two such efforts that will require a significant amount of work to be successful. Those efforts are the international economic development zone (IDEDZ) and air cargo regional distribution center (RDC) and our recent Bioscience Zone initiative. Regarding services, we have been working for two years on the amount of available land for retail services, and marketing our needs to the development community. Over time we should begin to see more retail opportunities in Rosemount.
Downtown redevelopment has been an issue that has been talked about for decades with minimal results. The lack of results has impacted every resident in our community as we continually buy most of our household consumable goods and services in neighboring communities which contributes to the abnormal tax burden on residential properties. In 2003, we started a process from the ground, beginning with volunteers representing a cross section of residents, business and staff to develop a concept plan to guide us through redevelopment. The plan was supported unanimously by the downtown committee with large community support based on resident surveys. Although the process is slow we are continuing to move forward with the concept plan. Downtown's are the heart of communities and we must work toward having a vibrant downtown in Rosemount.
With significant residential growth the past six years, the primary issue regarding amenities is the need for a recreational complex. We have been spending significant time on this issue from many directions including legislative, community partners and options for purchasing land outright. As we receive answers to some of these efforts, we will need to work closely with our athletic groups, our Park and Recreation Commission and make decisions early next year. Whatever the decision, it will most likely require a vote of residents because of the dollars required to secure and build a complex.
Keeping taxes in check has been a focus of the city council in recent years. Do you feel the current Rosemount City Council has been fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars? Explain the reason for your answer.
Over the past four years we have continually worked at bringing our tax rate down to a reasonable competitive level. This was complicated when the state eliminated almost $900,000 of state aid to Rosemount because of state deficits in 2003. We have cut the tax rate 25% since 2002 and significantly reduced our overall debt. With continued growth, we need to continue these efforts and insure that the growth of government does not exceed our overall growth. We also need to improve on the delivery of services while reducing costs through automation and less labor-intensive processes.
What kind of preparation have you done as part of your candidacy for position of mayor?
I have a Masters of Science degree in Telecommunications from Saint Mary's University in Minneapolis, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Upper Iowa University in Des Moines, Iowa. I have 28 years experience in the communications industry of which 24 years were in management positions. During that time I also served seven years on the Rosemount Planning Commission. As mayor, I have been actively involved on county and regional issues serving on four boards representing Rosemount interests. They are the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, Dakota Communications Center, Southwest YMCA, and Dakota Future. I also serve on the National League of Cities Transportation Policy Committee and Cedar Avenue Advisory Group. Additionally, I have served as a coach with RAAA and participated on several citizen committees.
If you could bring one "personal" issue to the Rosemount City Council table, what would it be and how would you like to see it resolved?
I do not have any personal issues other than to make Rosemount a great place for families to live, work and play. How well we work together as a community in the next 20 plus years, as we nearly double in size, will be critical to what we eventually become as we near buildout. It will require a significant amount of cooperation and communication to understand the issues and decisions as we move through this growth period. If done well, I know we can retain that small town character so many residents refer to as the reason for moving to Rosemount. Thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you the past four years. I ask for your vote on November 7, 2006 and if re-elected, I pledge to continue to move Rosemount in a positive direction making it a great place to invest and live.