(Click on issue to read more.)
Protecting Health, Safety, and Welfare
Preserving our Environment
Understanding Grass Roots Government
Encouraging Citizen Participation and Collaboration
Enhancing and Protecting Neighborhoods
Calming Residential Traffic
Supporting Local Business
Programming for Seniors
Ensuring Stable Affordable Housing
Demanding Fiscal Responsibility
Planning for Sustainable Amenities
During the last survey a new trend has emerged. Almost fifty percent of residents are willing to reduce amenities to hold down taxes. This is not a surprising change since 2013 the City levy has increased about 39%, 15% alone due to the bonding for parks and the fire station. Over two years during that period the base fee for residential water and sewer went up 60%. Last year residents voted overwhelmingly, and I supported, a referendum proposed by the school district increasing the school levy by $400.00 annually for the median priced home. These are significant increases and many of the residents of Roseville are on fixed incomes. And, even if your income is not fixed, wage increases have been stagnant for over two decades and clearly not keeping up with these increases.
We need to convene citizen groups to work together and suggest ideas and methods for supporting our existing amenities without raising taxes. Other groups could be convened to identify specific amenities that might be eliminated and analyze the potential savings. A third group could evaluate the potential pros and cons of more partnerships with surrounding communities. Yet another group could review and recommend areas in which efficiencies or financial savings could be achieved through contracting for service rather than having permanent staff doing some jobs. Once again, I see the key to solving problems as collaboration with the residents. No one person or small group has a corner on all the good ideas! We need to work together.
Separating Needs from Wants: Cities are not in the business of making money, but they should be in the business of balancing resident needs and resident wants. If we “need” a new building, such as a fire station, we should be absolutely sure that the building is well built, energy efficient, and no larger than what is needed. We should have external review of plans to be sure that we provide the best result for the residents at the best price point. When it comes to “wants,” the government should have a clear plan for sustaining the asset without excessive charges to the levy and a strong mandate to satisfy the “want” from a referendum. I believe to do otherwise is a violation of the public’s trust.
Volunteers: Our Roseville volunteers are the best! They plant flowers, run programs, help in our schools, and deliver meals… What we need to do is find even more ways to engage volunteers to cut some expenses while still providing essential government services.