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8.0003 % Tax Hike supported by Crystal’s current mayor Jim Adams

At the last city council work session, current mayor Jim Adams supported an 8.0003 percent tax hike for 2017.  He is the mayor of broken promises.  This is the highest tax increase in the history of the Crystal.  Additionally, he raised the water/sewer utility rates by 20 percent because he moved the money targeted for the water main repair into his new Public Works Building.  He tells you he is saving a million dollars because he refused to bond for the new public works building, but it also means the highest tax increase in the last 50 years.  Please Mr. Adams, tell me how this is saving anything?  

The highest tax increase during my time as Crystal’s mayor was 3.5 percent and that was in 2009 – 2010.  The markets had collapsed and property values tanked.  During those two years’ staff did not receive pay increases and they have never caught up with the 4 percent they lost during those years.  It is insulting to me the tax payer that this current council has the nerve to ask for 8.0003 percent tax hike.  It is a totally unnecessary hike if they money were well managed and proves that Mayor Adams version of voodoo economics is a dismal failure for Crystal.  

Mr. Adams has proven that he does not know how to manage municipal money.  There should not have been much of an increase for 2017 because markets are strong and property values are up.   What has he done with the money?  Here is an example of a couple of his wasteful spending items., he spent:

Upwards of $100,000 for a new communication director, yet, there is less communication to the general public than ever before. (Salary:  $77,619 plus benefits such as, sick time, vacation time, PERA pension payments, health insurance, life insurance.  Other associated, one-time costs to on-board a new employee.)  

$90,000 in legal fees (was budgeted for 2016 – 2017*) to move periods and semi-colons around in the code book.  When I was mayor, we knew we had obsolete codes, but if they are not posing a problem, why spend the money?   During my time in office, if there was a problem with a code, we fixed it, if not, the code book was left alone.  I don’t believe in spending money on things that do not improve or sustain the good life in Crystal.  This was an empty attempt to look like work was being conducted. 

He spent almost a quarter-million dollars for what?  There is zero return on investment in these expenditures.  I will return accountable financial practices when elected to prevent wasteful spending. 

*To date, almost $30,000 has been spent on this project.

5 Responses so far.

  1. Josh says:

    You never raised taxes?

    • ReNae Bowman says:

      Josh,
      Not 8 – 10 percent in a single year with a 25 percent increase on the utility bills. My largest tax increase came in 2009 and 2010. During those years taxes were raised 3.5 percent each year and we implemented a pay freeze for those two years for city employees. The markets crashed in 2008 and city revenue dropped as housing values dropped. Currently, housing values are near 2008 valuations, why such high tax increases now?

      Current Mayor Adams spent $14 million dollars of reserve money to pay for the Public Works building. The interest rate generated by the reserve accounts kept taxes low and tied to cost of living. He may state he has saved you $1 million dollars because he did not bond for the Public Works building, but in reality, it won’t take long to eat up $1 million dollars in “saving” by increasing the taxes to cover the hole he left in the reserve accounts.

      Additionally, this council under his leadership is re purposing revenue with no transparency. What does that mean? Crystal was paying off $4 million (Crystal’s responsibility, an interest free loan from the county) of the $70 million total cost -County Road 81 reconstruction project. That payment was $563,000 annually. It is now paid off, but where is the money. The council asked for $641,000 of new money, but where is the $563,000? Where was it re purposed to? This should have been used to lower the taxes for 2017.

      Tax increases should be more in line with cost of living and if you cannot tie taxes to an indicator, there is something wrong. Hopefully that answers your question. I appreciate that you asked!!! Take care, ReNae

  2. Jennifer says:

    ReNae,

    First off are you republican or democrat? secondly how do you feel about the implementation of the curb project in Crystal?

    Jennifer

    • ReNae Bowman says:

      Thanks for the great questions Jennifer,
      I am happy to disclose (as an act of transparency) that I am a Democrat (DFL). I am endorsed by the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, Senate District 45 Democrats and womenwinning.
      I have that information disclosed on my campaign literature because I did not my party affiliation to interfere with the real issues of this campaign like huge tax increases in 2016 and 2017 and the 25 percent increase to our water/sewer utility bills and the lack of attention to our environmental issues.

      Curbs, sucks to pay for them, but the reason for the curbs is based in Minnesota Pollution Control Regulations. To prevent big fines to the city, those curbs work in conjunction with all the storm water infrastructure that is housed beneath our streets. The curbs serve to collect the polluted water from the streets and pull into the storm water system to prevent damaging run off into Twin Lake and creeks. The excess water is routed to holding ponds that help to filter out the pollution as it seeps back into the ground. If we allowed all this run off into Twin Lake and Basset Creek and Shingle Creek (all within our two water sheds) our clean-up costs would skyrocket and the lake and creeks would suffer significantly.

      Let me know if that answers the questions. Thanks and I hope I can count on you for your support.
      ReNae

  3. Tom Karnowski says:

    THE MAYOR DECEIVES! Today, I received a mailing from mayoral candidate Jim Adams. In it, he touts the “saving” of $6 million by his and the Crystal City Council’s rejection of bonding for the $13.5 million municipal building, whose construction was completed earlier this year. He based his guess of a $6 million finance charge on bonding for the building’s full price of $13.5 million. But at NO TIME did Crystal ever agree to bond the full amount of the building’s cost. According to a report in the 3/12/15 edition of the Sun Post, “The previous council approved up to $4 million in bonds to pay for the project at a December (2014) meeting.” The “information” in the mayor’s mailing was deceptive: financing for $4 million in bonding does NOT equal $6 million. But wait…there’s more to the story of the true cost of the municipal building to the citizens of Crystal. And its found not in what the mayor says, but what he does NOT say. In order to pay for the building, the mayor and his council emptied the city’s interest-bearing cash reserves to the tune of $13.5 million. Do you have any idea how much interest earnings Adams & the Council LOST the city of Crystal by using the “all cash” option? Answer: $5.4 million! Do the math: $13.5 million earning 2% simple interest annually…a reasonable expectation for an investment of that size… for 20 years. (Online calculator: http://www.webmath.com/simpinterest.html). Bottom line? The mayor is wrong. There was no savings of $6 million to Crystal residents in constructing the building, but there WAS an additional cost of $5.4 million in interest lost in the emptying the city’s cash reserves of $13.5 million. That’s a fact, and Jim Adams needs to be called on it. Adding that real loss of $5.4 million in interest employing an“all cash” method of paying for the municipal building to the 8+% tax increase proposed by Adams & his Council and you have proof of a fiscally dysfunctional city administration. One hopes Crystal citizens respond accordingly on November 8th!

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