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Letter: City Hall should live within its means

Prior Lake has a critical morale problem. Trust in city management is nonexistent, everything the city and council does is coming under close scrutiny, meetings are met with sarcasm, misrepresentations are being told on all sides, and it’s tearing our city apart.

We’re faced with a proposed 11.5-percent tax increase on top of a recent 10-percent increase. Add the Scott County increase to that, and now the school district wants a referendum for even more money to build a new school. Many in our community, including families with growing children and seniors on incredibly fixed income, are forced to make a serious decision to move away from where they’ve lived their entire lives because they can no longer afford to call Prior Lake home. It’s becoming an expensive place to live and raise a family, and with no relief in site. How long do you think it will take before people say enough is enough and move elsewhere? A recent issue of Livability magazine says as much, with Elko New Market far outshining Prior Lake as the place to build a home and community in the south metro area.

The city needs to reset and switch from a “growth at all costs” mindset to one of “sustain and preserve.” The communities around us are striving to preserve and maintain what they have, while Prior Lake seems to be on a never-ending quest to erase every trace of its history and every indication of where we as a city came from. The city needs to step back and start taking care of what we have, and not get sucked in to the “Go!” fever of nonstop growth and expansion for people that may not come because it will cost too much to live here.

Not everyone is a corporate executive with unlimited income, living in lake homes, driving corvettes and BMWs. It seems like only a few years ago when the city got “Go!” fever and the chant at City Hall was luxury executive town homes, premium high-end restaurants and state-of-the-art city buildings. It was an “If we build it they will come” mentality, only the world changed and the people didn’t come.

I’m afraid that we are at that point once again. Look closely at what is happening around us. The signs are all there to be careful.

The city council members are facing some serious decisions. I would like to remind them that they were elected by the people of Prior Lake because we felt that they would do what’s best for our city, within the finances and capabilities of our residents. Right now, the people of Prior Lake don’t have the finances to afford such a tax increase.

Please do the right thing and say no to the 2016 budget and 11.5-percent tax increase, and let’s get back on track to taking care of and maintaining what we currently have.

Bottom line is, being fiscally responsible is not “kicking the can down the road.” It’s called “living within your means” and is something that the majority of Prior Lake residents have no choice but to do right now. The city should do the same.

Kevin Busse
Prior Lake

Posted in the Prior Lake American: Friday, November 27, 2015 2:38 pm, please read more.