Mayor: Kurt Hansen
The development of UMore will be big job for the city council. What do you think of the proposed plan? How do you think the city should handle it?
The University of Minnesota Board of Regents announced in a news release in December, 2009 the establishment of UMore Park Development Company and approved nine board of governors.
Four from the university and five from the community. None were selected from the city of Rosemount. The board of governors will provide oversight and management of planning and development of the university's 5,000-acre property in Dakota County.
The vision for UMore Park is to create a sustainable community for 20,000 to 30,000 people over the next 25 to 30 years.
The university wants to sell sand and gravel before developing the land. Apple Valley has experienced sand and gravel mining for the last 20 years. Rosemount will likely experience similar over the next 20 years.
Rosemount has not collected taxes on the university land for more than 50 years. I would prefer that the university land be sold to a private entity who could bring the vision of a sustainable community to reality much faster and more efficiently than an institution like the University of Minnesota. Also, a private entity would bring tax dollars to the city of Rosemount. It does not appear to me that Rosemount will benefit from the university's current plan.
The next few years will continue to be challenging, financially. What would your priorities be when setting a budget?
We need to consolidate and be efficient. We have too many non-productive managers. We need to share resources and services across city limits. Merging city services may be an option to be explored. We can no longer afford to duplicate what others have already done. We can't afford to redo jobs that were not done correctly or waste money on unnecessary self-promotional pretty pictures. We need to cut all our local government waste. We need to consolidate, be efficient, look for alternative ways to deliver necessary services, reuse, and not just continue to throw away.
What is the role of the city in attracting development?
The city's role in development is to be ready to serve the needs of the people. Be able to streamline the process so that there is no waste of time.
Attracting development is like attracting people: if you can't treat people with respect and courtesy you can't attract development. It is important for our city to attract development, or rather attract businesses to come to our town. Unfortunately, we have seen more businesses leaving than coming to Rosemount in the last few years.
The fact is that some businesses that would be great for Rosemount are not even considering coming here. Others that do come are often discouraged, give up, and go elsewhere. This tells me that we need change at city hall. We can't afford to continue the current attitude at city hall.
What is the most important issue facing Rosemount and how do you hope to address it?
Property taxes are high because too small a percentage comes from business properties. There is too much non-taxable commercial land: refinery-donated land and Genz-Ryan properties. Rosemount is not attractive to new businesses. Many businesses have been lost that would have stayed with some positive encouragement.
I will create a friendly environment for new business owners to settle in Rosemount. I would accomplish this by investing in necessary infrastructure and energy-saving projects that vitalize and benefit our local economy and provide local jobs to get the unemployed back to work. We must postpone wants, focus on needs, and direct resources toward priorities of the public welfare.