Saturday, October 31, 2009

The hard numbers

The new levy rate numbers are in, based on the dollars. As I reported before, we reduced our budget $933,000 for 2010. In fairness we increased the HRA levy an additional $100,000 for a net overall decrease of $833,000.
The decrease reduces taxes 9.8%. Our tax rate in 2009 was 39.264%, our 2010 tax rate is 37.686%.
I have become a little discouraged at the lack of reporting of this good news for Ramsey.
Some cities claim to have kept taxes the same, even fewer have reduced. Have they really kept them the same?
Many cities rely on franchise and other fees to make their bloated budgets. Our city has no franchise fees.
It is true we do have some fees such as, street lights, storm water and others, but we did not increase any of those in an effort to hide increased taxes.
Bottom line, we now have less taxes in Ramsey.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The positive news

It is good to see the news story in the startribune today.

It appears that the city of Ramsey is the clear leader in fiscal responsibility. The article is some what incorrect in saying that we are spending a bunch of reserves to accomplish the 9.8% decrease. The reality is that we are not.

1. 4 positions in building department have been eliminated (about $300,000 savings)

2. Street Reconstruction is being funded from TIF 4 instead of General Fund (TIF allows for capital expenditures only & not operating exp) - about $305,000 now TIF Funded.

3. Capital Equipment Expenditures for items such as 3 police squads & 2 pickups with plows are purchased through capital equipment fund. This fund has been used for several years to fund the City's capital equipment purchases-Used to purchase through capital equipment certificates and Levy debt service to taxpayer (about $225,000)

4. In the past three years the City has retained in the General Fund excess revenues over expenditures from annual adopted budgets to offset forecasted shortages in 2010 (about $230,000) This retainage is being used to offset the annual internal loan repayment to the City on the PW site & the Municipal Building

5. Staff line item cuts on supplies, training, etc was reduced by approximately $156,000 We are moving towards going paperless saving thousands, etc.

6. Park & Rec Seasonal - includes seasonal & County Work crew was reduced by $46,000

7. Municipal Center lease to Anoka County $35,000

8. Newsletter ad outsourcing will Generate about $35,000 (net $5,000 in savings)

In fairness the article does not shed light on the fact that we lowered the general fund levy, but we raised the HRA levy, which is a separate levy, by $100,000. The net reduction $833,000.

All of these figures are based on a budget that still needs to be approved by the council. Perhaps we can find other ways to cut more?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

2010 Levy

The preliminary 2010 levy has been set. As I indicated in my last post the council chose to REDUCE TAXES!!!
Our current levy for 2009 is $9,519,086. Our levy for 2010 will be $8,585,678 or less. This is a decrease of $933,408 or 9.8% from last year.
I cannot begin to tell everyone the amount of work that our city staff and the council have put into this reality. I commend our staff and my fellow council members for having the courage to make the tough decisions.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Getting going

The time has come to really make an effort to start this blog. I most likely will not have the time to write long in depth articles. My intent is to simply let everyone know what is going on in the city.
Please feel free to leave comments and email mail me with questions.

On Tuesday the city council settled on a tax rate for the 2010 budget. Formal action will take place at the Sept. 8th city council meeting. We are required to submit our maximum levy rate by Sept. 15th. The consensus is that we will select a levy of $7,485,899 for 2010. The levy for 2009 was $8,383,739. This means a tax cut on your city tax portion of your property taxes.
With various cost cutting measures and becoming more efficient, the council believes we can deliver the same level of service as this year with this rate.
Please pass the word around about this blog to other Ramsey residents.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Dear Citizens,
I have been contemplating for quite awhile now about creating a blog.  I have deceided to give it a try.  The challenge will be the time commitment necessary to maintain it.
Please come around and take a look from time to time and I will make an honest effort to keep you informed.