Mayor looks on the bright side in State of the City
It's easy to get down on everything these days. But in his State of the City address Mayor Bill Droste encouraged residents to look at the bright side.
While not all is rosy on the city government front, Droste said some good things happened in 2009 and he expects more positives will come in 2010.
Droste gave his 2010 State of the City address Tuesday morning at the Rosemount Community Center. Sponsored by the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce the event drew a crowd of about 40 people.
Although the city's income went down in 2009, Droste said through careful planning the council was able to drop the tax rate for most homeowners in the city. He said the council was able to use surplus funds to pay down some debt, which has allowed the city to function with less income.
"Please remember, when you hear that government borrowing is out of control, it does not apply to Rosemount," said Droste.
While most neighboring cities have experienced little growth in 2009, Rosemount had more than $38 million dollars worth of new projects including 88 new houses, the Robert Trail Library, the Waterford Commons development and the new Fairview Health Clinic, Droste said.
The library has seen tremendous success in its first year, and so has the clinic. Waterford Commons, the controversial downtown commercial and residential complex completed last summer, has started to get more life to it. Droste said the apartments are 97 percent occupied and that several businesses have opened in the ground level commercial space.
Not all is rosy, though. Droste said the city council will start the budgeting process a month early this year to deal with what he called a very challenging budget process.
"Because of the way the property tax system works, even if the economy improves this year, the city budget will be difficult for at least the next couple years," said Droste.
Despite some gloom Droste said the future will bring positives as well. In the more immediate future Droste said the city has a number of projects planned to improve the quality of life in Rosemount. He said the council will continue to push to make the city a train quiet zone. Additionally, he said several road improvements planned for this summer, including work on Robert Trail, will increase safety in the city.
The former St. Joseph's Church building will get needed improvements this year as well so the historical landmark can open for public use.
Looking way out into the city's future, Droste said the council also will continue to work with the University of Minnesota on the UMore Park project. The university plans to build a large development on 5,000 acres of property it owns, part of which is in Rosemount. If built the project could bring 25,000 to 30,000 people to the city over the next 25 years.
Droste ended his 30-minute speech saying that the state of Rosemount is "good with tremendous opportunities for future generations."