Del Monte, garbage, taxes - an update on all.

Happy October!

Del Monte’s recent announcement continues to be front and center on most Sleepy Eye residents’ list of concerns. So what is new on that front?

Well, we continue to receive updates from DEED (MN Department of Employment and Economic Development.) Their message continues to be, “be patient.” They continue to assure us that discussions are taking place, but it may take as long as a year for things to develop, and all other concerns are settled for a sale to take place. But, it’s awfully hard to be patient when our families’ livelihoods are in the balance.

The politicians continue to make regular contacts. Senator Amy Klobachar called to offer her support the other day. I asked her to keep our situation fresh in the minds of potential buyers and she promised me that she would. In our conversation she was laughing as she was saying that she had just gotten off the phone with another mayor — the mayor of New York City. It’s humbling to visit with people whose reach goes beyond Brown County.

Representative Hagedorn and his representative has called several times. Our state legislators, Representative Torkelson and Senator Dahmes, also make regular contacts and continue to offer their support and well wishes.

We’ve also made connections with folks in other communities, who have gone through a closing such as this. Faribault, Worthington, and LeSueur come to mind. Each of these have been quick to point out that good eventually came from the closings. That’s what we’re hoping and praying for. And be assured that our City stands ready to work with a potential buyer.

You’re probably all tired of hearing about garbage collection, but there are a couple developments that are important. The recent decision by the City Council at the September meeting is going to need to be amended. The City’s Finance Committee recently met with Brett and Rachel Kucera of River View Sanitation to discuss the implications of the Council’s recent decision to allow each property owner to decide where they wanted their garbage picked up. It was pointed out that the new decision was going to nearly double the length of their collection routes because they would now have to circle the entire block and go down the alley. The obvious point in all this is it’s going to cost everyone more money. Further discussion led to the alternative of going back to the original pick up method. In that scenario, River View Sanitation felt they could keep the cost the same. So, we’ll see what gets proposed at the Oct. 8 City Council Meeting.

A resident asked the other day why the City is even in the garbage collection business. The answer simply is that by negotiating a price for all residents the City can keep the cost to each resident down. That is the only reason.

The preliminary budget was approved by the City Council at the September meeting. It includes a 7% increase, that cannot be increased before adoption before the first of the year, but could be reduced. The 7% increase reflects road and infrastructure work planned for 2020, as well as a few salary adjustments that had already been made, but weren’t reflected in previous budgets. It should also be noted that this tax level maintains our goal of keeping our City taxes lower than our neighboring communities, a feat we can all be pleased with.

Sleepy Eye and our Event Center will host a League of Minnesota Cities meeting on Oct. 10 from 2 to 7 p.m. We can be proud that our Event Center is getting statewide recognition by being chosen for this event. This meeting will include presentations by DEED representatives (mentioned earlier) so we will have an opportunity to visit with them there.