2021 State of the City, Mantorville Minnesota
Last year I started my State of the City with “Twenty-Nineteen is finally over and most of you are probably saying hooray”, little did we know what 2020 had in store for us. I attended the Chambers 2019 annual dinner (we canceled the 2020 meeting) and since that year was so challenging, I was asked to share something good about 2019. Mantorville saw historic flooding, wind damage and large hail damage, personally I had some challenges as well. When it came to my turn I said that my initial reaction to what was good about 2019 was that it was over! I then went on to say that if I had left my answer like that it would have been short sighted. With the Flooding the high winds and record-setting hail damage what I saw each time was our community coming together and neighbors helping neighbors. In my personal challenges too I have seen the true strength of a community like Mantorville with so many offers of help, support and prayers. Thank you one and all for everything you helped out with and the great offers of support, those have meant a great deal to my family.
The new year of 2020 brought hope and then almost immediately we were hit by both a pandemic and a heavy handed response to that virus that closed small businesses (some permanently) while the big box stores were exempted. We saw our neighbors struggling to save their small businesses while others lost their jobs outright because of the Governor's mandates. Just like in 2019, our community rallied together, offered help and support where they could and the City and EDA followed suit. The City offered deferments on water bills, the EDA obtained grant dollars to help our local community, the Fire Department had several programs to offer help and I had several correspondences with the Governors office regarding the impact of his emergency declarations. In one of those correspondences, I asked the Governor to consider pushing school decisions down to the local school board. Many other Mayors wrote similar letters and when the school impact was announced, the local advisory board approach was the one brought forward. I was asked to serve on the KM Advisory board and I agreed. The Advisory board has had several meetings and have been able to make decisions based on real data for our school environment. The ability for us to make these decisions at the local level has been instrumental in retaining our schools focus on quality education.
Continued effort of Investment
The city was able to continue working the street improvement plan, we had a record number of new building permits and were able to support those building efforts with infrastructure investments. The city is moving forward with a planning committee on the execution of the hiway 57 upgrade as it runs through Mantorville. The City started upgrades to our phone system and office space which will be completed in 2021. The city retired some older equipment as it reached it's end of life and has secured replacements to ensure uninterrupted service for our citizens.
The EDA secured a CEDA person to help write grants. We received the latest award letter of $5K from the SMIF grant in September and look forward to additional awards this year as well.
Commitment to Lower Taxes
The City is allowed to charge up to 1% of the taxable market value of a home. If the City were to charge the entire 1%, our “advertised levy rate” would be “100%” of that 1%. In other words a house with a taxable market value of $100,000 would be tax by the City in the amount of $1,000. Over the last few years the City has either raised the levy by a small amount like 3% or held even with a 0% levy. Thanks to the City council and our committee chairs we were able to do something very few governing bodies ever do, lower the rate at which we tax our citizens. In fact, our rate for 2014 is lower than our rate for any of the last three years. The City has passed a “1%” levy DECREASE that sets our rate at almost halfs of the max the City is allowed or a dollar value of $530,034. In order to put this figure in perspective, I have included a table below that illustrates the tax levy amounts and levy rates. The table below breaks the tax levy down to cost per citizen.
Commitment to Service
Last year one of our Public Works employee was recognized. Mantorville's Joe Adams has been recognized for his hard work, dedication and attention to details. Joe was awarded the "State of MN Wastewater Operator Association Class D Award winner of the year". Great Job Joe, keep up the awesome work!
The office staff utilized masks and kept a presence in the office serving our citizens as the need came up in stead of closing shop.
Our public works staff worked on our meter replacement project and continued to work their daily plan ensuring the Mantorville's needs were meet through out the summer and now into the winter.
Plans for 2021-2022
Continued commitment to maintaining a low tax burden for Mantorville citizens.
Work on infrastructure projects to improve the look and appearance of the City and parks.
Increase efforts on infrastructure repair and upgrades now that the waste water project is complete
Work with MNDOT on HWY 57 project to bury electrical lines, upgrade lighting and improve sidewalks
Continue to serve on the KM School's COVID advisory committee
Help our businesses transition from “survival mode” to “prosper mode” during the COVID challenge
Continue work to offer more “Mantorville Care” grant funds to local businesses
Continue work with joint venture group to achieve cost sharing with Kasson and the School District
Our community rose to the challenge of 2020. Now, with last year behind us I am looking forward to 2021 and the many new promises it brings. The State of our City is strong and we will only continue to improve.
Yours in service,
Chuck BradfordMayor, City of Mantorville