City column: Budget talk is already under way
We’ve all talked about the delayed spring and summer because of Minnesota’s weather this year. But at Rosemount City Hall, we’re already devoting a lot of work to a wintertime task: setting the budget and the property tax levy for next year.
Even though the final vote on the budget doesn’t come until December, it’s time for us to begin making some important choices. And while there will be an official public hearing just before the vote, we invite Rosemount residents to share their thoughts sooner.
We started the budget process this winter by revising the council goals for Rosemount. The city’s staff has provided the council with a preliminary budget that attempts to translate those goals into dollars and cents.
The budget comes at a time when we have ach-ieved five years of significant property tax cuts for the median-valued home in Rosemount. We’ve also cut the city’s debt.
That work was crucial in the depths of the recession, when money was tight for so many families and businesses. The recovery since then has been slow and uneven. But we are at the point that we can consider some of the amenities for the community that were deferred the last few years — features that residents have told us they want, and that make our community attractive for new development.
Those features include a senior center, tennis courts, a splash pad for water recreation, development of athletic fields on land donated by Flint Hills Resources, and improvements to facilities at Erickson Park. We have to plan for both construction costs and in some cases ongoing expenses to operate the facilities once they are built.
We believe we can achieve that without taking on any new debt and with tax bills to homeowners still far below how much they were five years ago. This preliminary budget includes some increased spending, but the change is about equal to the population growth Rosemount has experienced in the past year.
There’s much more work to be done on the budget. And this would be a good time for members of the public to let us know what they think about the issues. You can send an email message to all council members via firstname.lastname@example.org. And our phone numbers are on the city website via the “Contact us” link at the bottom of the page.
We remain committed to supporting and enhancing the quality of life that our citizens value and that make our community attractive to new residents and businesses while maintaining local taxes at a reasonable level. We invite your help and ideas in that work.