In a state known nationally for its quality of life, Movoto listed Dakota County among the eight best counties for quality of life in Minnesota. In a survey of county residents, 95 percent rated their quality of life in Dakota County highly. Our quality of life ratings were higher than the benchmark of comparable counties across the nation. This is among the data that shows how well we are doing. As stated in last week's column, data also shedding light on challenges we face. This week I will focus on quality-of-life issues.
As a lifelong resident and small-business owner, I have found Dakota County to be a terrific place to live, work and raise a family. Each year I check to see whether objective data supports my belief. Below are the statistics, using only the most up-to-date sources I can find. The data shows how well we are doing, while also shedding light on challenges we face. This week I will focus on financial and economic matters.
Virtually everyone is aware of the nationwide jostling taking place to attract Amazon's announced $50 billion corporate headquarters. I can't officially say if Dakota County is among the places in the running. However, it is public that Dakota County may play a key role in Amazon's entry into the multi-billion dollar pharmacy business.
The net impact of the proposed 2018 Dakota County budget would be an increase of 1.9 percent or less in the property tax levy, or roughly $8 per year on the average valued home in Dakota County. This is the smallest proposed increase of any metro county for 2018. The county's final budget still needs to be approved in December and, by law, can only go down, not up. Currently, a typical household in Dakota County pays $416 less in county property taxes than the metro average. In other updates...
There is a lot of "new"s in this e-update: new laws, new businesses, new additions to the Fortune 500 list, new roads, and a new survey.
When I look at the county offices in Hastings, I see awards attesting to what a great place Dakota County is to live, work and raise a family. Customer satisfaction surveys of county residents say the same thing, with residents giving high marks across the board to county services, low taxes, financial management and amenities.
When my son Tom was in third grade, he brought home a two-question test he had taken at school. On the first question, he wrote the correct answer. On the second question, the test asked "How did you know the answer to Question #1?" Tom wrote, "I knew it because I listened." While marked as incorrect, the teacher wrote that she really liked Tom's answer.
Following a planning process that started last summer, the Dakota County Board adopted its budget for 2017 at its final county board meeting in 2016. Set forth below are highlights of the 2017 Dakota County budget. You will note that rather than put a political "spin" on the budget numbers by offering my own description, the aim in this column is to let the numbers speak for themselves. $360,370,899. This is Dakota County's total budget for 2017.
As I went door-to-door in Rosemount this fall in my run for Dakota County Commissioner, the most frequent question I heard from voters was "What does the county do?" Below are some things Dakota County did in 2016. • Became debt-free. Dakota County became the only metro county — and one of only a handful in the state — to completely pay off all of its debt. Doing so helps keep our property taxes down and enables us to do more with the revenues we have.