The Landfill (and our schools)
We have a unique opportunity to safeguard our water, spur incredible economic development, and improve our schools – and it all ties back to our landfill situation. The Old Freeway Landfill needs to be cleaned up, as it sits on top of our aquifer and is unlined. There are two solutions Minnesota Pollution Control and the State Legislature are looking at. One is to just dig up the garbage, put in a liner, and then put the garbage back in place. It’s expensive and has a single benefit – protecting our aquifer.
The second option is the one I’d like to explore as it protects our aquifer while making possible some exciting development such as the only marina on the Minnesota river in the Twin Cities. Even more exciting, the increased tax revenue from such an area would provide millions of dollars to our school district. A district which is in a budget shortfall and closing 3 schools and looking at selling off property.
This second option would remove the garbage, move it a lined landfill. Kraemer Mining is interested in mining the rock and remediating the rock if it is contaminated.
I have been a strong supporter of the second option and continue to push our legislators to vote yes.
Like you, I received a notice that my property taxes went up. I’m sure that news was just as welcome in your house as it was in mine. We also just quadrupled the franchise fee, which is a tax on your water and electric meters.
Instead of a constant increase on Property taxes, I’m looking for ways to keep the budget within our means and find ways to keep Burnsville tax dollars IN BURNSVILLE.
Currently, about 1/3 of the city portion of property tax is given to other cities due to Minnesota law. I asked staff to look into moving away from property tax and go to only using the franchise fee. This could mean Burnsville residents pay 30% less in tax than they currently do, but the city receives the same amount. We are just beginning to take a look at this, but I am always looking for new solutions to our challenges.
Allowing residents to be good residents
There are times that regulations and codes hamper residents from engaging in beneficial activities. When that happens, government needs to change. If residents or businesses wish to install grey water systems, which filter and recycle water which can then be used in toilets, they should be allowed to do so. Not only does this minimize water use, it cuts down on the wear and tear on our ailing water treatment facility. Likewise, if a neighborhood wishes to convert an unused volleyball sand pit into a community garden, and are willing to cover the costs, they should be allowed to submit a plan.
When I took office in 2016, Burnsville’s current zoning was out of date and was hurting our city. On top of that, excessive regulation discouraged businesses and developers from even looking at Burnsville. We were known as the “city of no.”
Since then we have modernized and simplified our zoning and removed much of the excessive regulations, keeping the focus on safety. Now Burnsville is entering an economic boom. New housing and business redevelopment is underway.
This shows we can revitalize our city without corporate welfare.