Crosslake Mayor's Report: Time with council a success
As I write my final article as your Mayor, I feel blessed to have been able to share these past two years with you. It was a great experience. And, I learned a lot, met new friends and saw many projects completed including an update of our city's Comprehensive Plan. The council also passed several resolutions in support of our city-- The Crosslake Community School, the National Loon Center, GreenStep Cities and the Bird City Project to name just a few.
While fun as it is to reminisce, as a council and as a city, we must continue to move forward with a plan that provides for solid infrastructure, a diverse economic base, and provides staff with a safe and secure place to work including the space required to do their jobs in an effective and efficient way. While we are extremely fortunate to have a strong administrative staff as well as public works, public safety and fire departments and an outstanding community center that all well serve our community's needs and expectations, we must also remain committed to protecting the water quality of the Whitefish Chain and surrounding lakes and in preserving our existing forest while still maintaining our local "Charm and Up North" feel.
So, here are some of the challenges and opportunities that Crosslake may engage over the next few years. You're probably aware of most of these and many will certainly be the basis for some interesting discussion. But, this is where you come in as citizens of Crosslake...
In late fall, a Sewer Expansion Study was completed by our city engineer (check out our website). It came with a pretty hefty price tag for expanding sewer to Moonlight Bay and other suitable areas in the city. While the question - to expand-vs.-not expand, may seem the easiest to answer, the consequences for either decision must also be considered. Meanwhile, the Crosslakers Water Quality Group (WQG) is also examining options that are not included in the study. Since Crosslake is not a North-South East-West plat and is dictated by small lots in certain areas and winding lake shore in others it is much more challenging to decide the right course of action. So, the new council will have their work cut out for them. Sewer expansion will take public works, city engineer, and the WQG all working together to determine the best option for Crosslake and the cost to taxpayers will certainly need to be a consideration.
Speaking of money — are we as taxpayers ready to recognize the fact that our city municipal building is not safe and is inadequate for our staff, public safety and fire departments to do their jobs? According to a study done 10 years ago, it wasn't safe or adequate then. So, do we want to chance it for another 10 years? Again, another major decision for the council. However, until all alternatives such as location, size, cost, and design have been exhausted, a decision cannot be made. One of the more interesting comments I've heard is: "why tax our children for a new building?" Maybe we should be saying: "We're saving our children money by building a muni- building today rather than leaving the problem for them to solve and pay for after we're gone."
The next two years will be formidable ones not only for the council but for the community as well. We will expect our council to act wholly on behalf of the community, and be objective as decision makers as well. We will also expect the community to be engaged, attend meetings and voice their opinions.
I get excited when I think about our future. For sure Crosslake is in transition-- We're seeing our demographics beginning to change into a more "Senior Community", with retirees that bring a wealth of experience and a willingness to share that knowledge with their community. At the same time, we have a community of citizens with deep roots who offer us a rich history and a commitment to retaining Crosslake's heritage. This combination might be the best ever solution for bringing us together to make Crosslake an even better place to live, work and play.
Thank You Crosslake for your support and the many kindnesses you've shown me over the past two years. And, a very special thanks to all the Crosslake staff. I've enjoyed working with you and want you to know I appreciate all that you do both seen and unseen. You've made this experience for me both enjoyable as well as rewarding and you will always have my gratitude.
This article reflects my perspectives and opinions and not the council as a whole.