TO THE EDITOR:
Last week there was a letter that raised a variety of questions related to how the City of Dayton operates. While I will not make a habit of responding to every letter to the editor, I do think it is important to respond when possible. Many questions were asked, and here is my best attempt to answer them. I would also add that I can be reached by phone at 612-751-8707 for anybody with questions, or email me at Tmcneil@cityofdaytonmn.com.
Meeting minutes are posted after they are approved by the council. This creates a lag since the meeting from Jan. 8 would not be approved until Jan. 23, and wouldn’t be transcribed and posted until sometime in February. Vacations and workload sometimes cause delays. If you want to see the minutes before they are approved, they are all in the agenda area of the web and they are all there for each meeting we have had prior to the agenda that is posted. Of course those minutes are subject to change during the meeting they are voted upon.
The Roberts Rules book mentioned in the letter talks about conflicts of interest on page 69. Conflicts do not require abstention under Roberts Rules, and the trip to DC is not considered a conflict by the League of MN Cities, which monitors such activities. The trip is to work for the city, not a vacation.
Any public record can be requested at city hall. Charges may result for costs directly related to the request (such as photo copying).
The water tower is currently being used. It was empty the first winter because the low usage caused a danger of freezing. Now that we have greater usage the tower is in regular use, and has been for years.
Taxes are based upon the budget, and the budget is based on what the council feels is important to spend. Everything that is in the budget is something the council felt was important during the budget process (which is open to the public). Sometimes unexpected spending priorities pop up. That is why the question sometimes is asked, “Was this budgeted?” Other times we find ways to save money by not spending, but those times are rare, since only important items make it into the budget in the first place.
Articles in the paper last week addressed the question of Ipads and the police chief.
The last questions were about debt and policy making, which is exactly what was at issue during the last election. It was mentioned during the “state of the city” address during the Feb. 12 meeting. We will be having a “teach out” on the budget and our debt during the March 26 meeting. I highly encourage interested residents to attend (but please drink some caffeine before attending).
Again, I’m glad that residents are taking a more in-depth interest in the city. The audiences during the council meetings are growing, and hopefully we will soon be online (June/July maybe?). We are researching survey options to get input from residents. I look forward to answering emails and phone calls – feel free to contact me with questions.
Mayor Tim McNeil