I wanted to give you an advance copy of the budget I will be on 9/15/2014. This one-page summary outlines the four principles underlying my budget proposals, gives a brief highlight of the most vital line items, and provides instructions on how to read my attached budget. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions at MayorMattLittle@gmail.com.
More people are coming to Lakeville. For the last year and a half, Lakeville has had more single family home building activity than ANY OTHER CITY in the entire state of Minnesota. This provides new energy to our community, more jobs in our community, and healthy student populations for our great schools. But this also means more roads, sewer and water piping, and more families for our police and fire departments to protect. To help with this, my budget includes an Assistant Fire Chief to train, organize, and operate "duty crews." Despite our large city size, Lakeville is able to use a voluntary fire fighting force and the duty crews will help to ensure we have shorter response times while keeping costs down. These men and women get paid minimally when putting themselves at risk ... it is important we support them to the fullest.
Reducing debt for future generations. Putting everything on your credit card and then only making the minimum payments is not sound fiscal management for a family. It's also not sound fiscal management for a city. Continued reliance on debt will saddle future generations with a pile of debt that will be insurmountable. Today, 21% of your city taxes goes directly to paying debt. This is not sustainable. It is time our city begins to convert to a "pay-as-you-go" system for our major infrastructure projects. As such, I've included $125,000 dollars to be set aside to begin paying down our debt. Each year I'm on the council, I will propose an increase in this amount until we are paying for infrastructure in full, up front. This plan will likely take more than two decades and will require leaders in the future to be responsible and have the fiscal fortitude to continue this program. This pay as you go program will reduce costs in the future by partially eliminating interest payments.
Catching up on maintenance after the recession. During the recession, maintenance on our parks and roads fell behind. My budget includes continued acceleration of our road maintenance and reconstruction program which will result in long term savings from reduced road maintenance in the future. Additionally, it is time we begin to revitalize our park system. Our high ranking as a best place to live by Money Magazine mentioned our great parks system as one of the reasons we were chosen. My budget includes a large allocation to ensure we can renew and revitalize our greatest parks, such as Land of Amazement at Michaud Park.
Costs are increasing. As you sit down to do your family budget, you've noticed that costs are increasing on food, heating, and other needed items. To deal with it, you have to cut the "fun" budget or you have to work more hours ... or both. The same applies to a city budget. Costs have increased on vehicles, healthcare, and even salt prices fluctuate. To deal with last year's 2% inflation we've made numerous budget adjustments but we also need to increase our levy slightly to handle rising costs.
Mayor Matt Little