Lake Elmo City Council
Welcome Lake Elmo’s Newest Neighbors!
This November, Lake Elmo has a long-awaited opportunity to move our city forward in a positive direction. We can choose to finally deal with the issues that face our citizens in a transparent, civil, and fiscally responsible manner; or choose to simply fall back to believing the Old Guard’s scare tactics about growth and how “it ruins our city.” We can choose to either permanently retire the negative rhetoric or continue to hear the same tired phrases about “the junk down on 94” (Anne Smith), or how City Council Candidate Ben Roth’s neighborhood had to be “sacrificed” for you to be allowed to move into your city, or finally, from Mayoral Candidate Julie Fliflet, how “the growth on I-94 is somewhat ruining our city”.
Lake Elmo has real issues!
Prior to 2015, Lake Elmo was commended for its open and transparent government. However, after the most recent election, many meetings which were previously recorded and broadcast were promptly closed in this public forum. I will restore the recording of ALL public meetings.
In 2015, the current council passed an ordinance allowing the Finance Director to deem what she considered to be “protected financial data”, essentially blocking citizens and fellow city employees from being able to legally review this data. Although the Court of Administrative Hearings ruled on this issue and the financial data was released, this ordinance was never rescinded. Finally, being able to access and review this critical data lead to my discovery of the $13 million shortfall.
When Mayor Pearson and I took office in 2012, we had the honor of presiding over and working with the longest-employed City Administrator since the late 90’s; sadly, that “record number” is only around two years. We have since had a 90% staff turnover within 6 months of the current council majority taking office, and have lost all of our front-end employees, with the exception of the aforementioned Finance Director. We need to provide a friendly, hassle free workplace for our employees, and I will do that again, as I did with the previous council.
We have heard loud and clear that you are upset with your sewer and water bills. Although you will not feel the effects of the $13 million shortfall (staff report) until 2022 [PIONEER PRESS ARTICLE], you are feeling the effects of the current policies every quarter when you pay your bills. Your water and sewer bills are dependent on how many users are on the system. The notion we are going to stop sewered development south of 10th street and replace it with large lots is misguided and irresponsible and costs you more of your hard-earned money. I will work with the Mayor and Council Member Nelson to institute sound fiscal policies for Lake Elmo.
One of the main tenants of local government is to provide public safety (police and fire protection) for its residents. Due to council inaction, twice in the last six months, calls to our fire department had to be sent to neighboring departments due to a lack of staffing. Our response times have also suffered to the point that our Fire Chief is asking for the approval to hire more staff. Over the last two years, the Mayor and I have requested the discussion on staffing and fire station locations(12/15/15 and 3/2/16) be brought to the floor for a vote. Every discussion has been tabled by the majority of Fliflet, Smith, and Lundgren. I will work to ensure our fire department is properly staffed and public safety is not a concern for any resident.
With staff turnover, an erosion of transparency, and irresponsible spending, the last two years have been tumultuous for the City of Lake Elmo. The restoration of these core values will allow the city to move forward, regain the respect within the County that we once held (just three short years ago), and quickly move back into the good graces with our insurance provider. If the current dysfunction at city hall calls my ability to lead into question, please look back to 2012 and 2013. We were winning awards, negotiating $3.5 million grants with the Governor, delivering new businesses and high paying jobs to Lake Elmo. This can all begin again after November.
Please consider supporting the Councilman who supports you,
This letter including additional facts and information can be viewed at: www.justinbloyer.com