Thank you for this opportunity to introduce myself to you. I'm Ken Johnson and I am running from the 4th District Council seat.
Thank you again. My name is Ken Johnson. I have lived in the same house in East Bloomington for 48 years. I am the fourth generation of my Family to live in the Bloomington area.
My great grandfather, John Anderson, farmed in this area in the 1800’s. This picture is of grandpa’s K-Hill farm as my mother used to call it. She and her two sisters spent their summers there. My mother always smiled when she talked about her grandma and grandpa and their farm.
The second picture is of all the people who worked on the farm, as they were loaded up to go to Minnehaha Falls for a picnic. My mother said it took all day to drive from Bloomington to the falls and back. Things have surely changed.
My grandfather John Hedman, was a carpenter and built one of the first churches in Bloomington.
There is no doubt I married up when I married Karen Lundgren December 28, 1963. In two weeks we celebrated Christmas, were married in Mount Calvary Church, honey mooned in Chicago, and parted as I returned to my Army base in South Carolina.
Karen and I have two children, Michael and Anne; both attended North Gate Elem. and graduated from Kennedy High. Like many parents our children have left Minnesota to seek their fortunes elsewhere.
We most likely have met during these 48 years. It could have been on the soccer field or the gymnasiums where I coached BAA soccer and volleyball. Or maybe we met at Smith Park or Moir Park where Buba and I would walk every day. Or along the Minnesota River where I try to make time to run and enjoy the peace nature offers. Or we could have met at the University of Minnesota, from which I graduated debt free. Or at Cedar Valley Church were I was baptized and attend early service. After 48 years I am sure we have met.
Please cast your vote for me, Ken Johnson, City Council 4th district. Your vote is extremely important. Thank you.
Bloomington’s financial future
--Bloomington is a mature city. We have developed most of the land open to development. Our tax base is static and has little opportunity for growth. Keeping this in mind lets look at our financial future.
-Two years ago Bloomington owed $63,000,000.oo in unsecured debt, general obligation bonds. I call it Credit Card debt. When I brought this up to the city council I was laughed at. Their answer was, “We have a triple “A” bond rating.” Well today the debt has grown to $74,000,000.oo. That is an $11,000,000.oo increase in two years. The tax base is still the same; in fact with the decrease in property values the tax base has shrunk.
--For years Bloomington has had a growing tax base because there was undeveloped land. Spending could keep increasing because the tax base was increasing. That no longer is the situation. We need to bring spending in line with our present tax base. It can be done without reducing the level of services we have grown to expect. Businesses do this continually.
--What will happen if we continue on the present path? One thing is sure to happen the triple “A” bond rating will be down graded. This will increase the cost of barrowing and that will increase the debt. We will start the debt spiral. Once this happen your city services will be reduced, business will relocate as their taxes are increased, and your property values will plummet. All this will happen as the city tries to increase revenues to keep up with it’s spending.
--You may be laughing thinking this cannot happen in Minnesota. Think again, Minneapolis Has been down graded. In fact the State gave Minneapolis $157,000,000.oo to help avoid the downgrade, it still was not enough to prevent the down grade.
--What happens in Minneapolis will affect Bloomington. Our Triple “A” bond rating is partly dependent on the belief that the State will coop our debt as they are doing for Minneapolis. But the State is also facing debt problems. It increased both spending and taxes by $2,000,0000,000.oo last session. The spending is on track but the tax revenues are falling way behind. Every day the State is going deeper into debt. Businesses are moving out of the state. U-Line, one of our vendors, a packaging manufacture and distributor moved to Hudson WI. U-Line pays its workers over $20.00 / hour. Jobs and revenues are leaving Minnesota. The State cannot afford to subsidize every city which mismanages its finances.
--There is no need to continue down this debt-laden path. All that is needed is the will to institute simple business practices into the management of our city. Businesses do it every day.
--There is a increase in taxes coming. The State which limites and allows communites to raise tax levees, is allowing Bloomngton to increase its levee by 3.8%. Your taxes are going up.
-- At the August 19 the city council had a meeting and the old Cedar Ave Bridge was discussed. The options presented were to rehab (repair) and to replace the bridge. Both options have their benefits and there shortfalls.
-- Replacing the bridge is straight forward in that from start to finish it is well understood what is to be done. The number of contractors capable of completing the task is high so there is a good chance of finding a capable contractor at a reasonable price.
-- Rehabbing the bridge is the opposite. The number of contractors able to rivet is very limited therefore the competition is limited and one would expect much higher costs. It is believed that the lower beam of the bridge would need to be completely replaced. Also the bridge it self would be raised 3 feet to reduce the flood potential. These two requirements greatly increase the cost. Those doing the rehabbing of the bridge would expect an open-ended contract to cover unexpected problems. Rehabbing would, financially,be much riskier.
-- When looking at the cost of $6,000,000.oo to remove the old bridge and build the new bridge, it is half the cost of rehabbing the old bridge, an expected $14,000,000.oo.
-- One of the most looming aspects of rehabbing the old bridge is after the bridge is rehabbed there is a very high risk the maintenance cost will be high and never ending. This cost would be paid by we the tax payers of Bloomington. -- I love the old bridge, but after fourty years of neglect, rehabbing the old bridge carries too many risks for a community to take when considering the possible returns. There is no doubt that when
completed either bridge will be of financial benefit to East Bloomington. It is exciting to know East Bloomington will again be a gateway to the Minnesota River Valley with its thousands of acres of
ponds. meadows lakes, and woods.-- It is unfortunate the City Council has voted against common sense and with a 5/2 vote decided to rehab and not replace the Old Cedar Avenue Bridge. There is a likely hood in ten years or so we will be replacing the old bridge after spending $14,000,000.oo plus in a futile attempt to save it. Photo taken during bike ride along river bottom.
If you wish to help please call or text me at 952 854 3530 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Ken Johnson Volunteer Committee 8301 11th Ave S Bloomington, MN 55420 Thank you very much.
Lawlessness and the City Council -- The problems the neighborhood boarding the mosque at 82 and Park Avenue is facing could have been avoided if the city council would have listened to the citizens. The mosque on Cedar Avenue and 89 street was in violation of its Conditional Use Permit (CUP). The persons who own the mosque on Cedar Avenue are some of the owners of the mosque on Park Avenue. So you should expect the owners to have the same respect for the rule of law concerning the CUP in both locations. In fact it would be expected that this disrespect for the rule of law would increase being that the city council allowed them to expand their business. -- You must understand that there is a great deal of difference between a mosque and a church. The church is owned by its congregation. A mosque is owned by private parties. To attend the mosque a person or family must pay a yearly fee. In this case it is about $2300 per family. As businessmen the owners of the mosque want to maximize their profits. To do this they not only enroll as many families to be members as possible but they also rent space at every opportunity. If it is profitable to stay open 24 hours a day, they stay open 24 hours. Since the CUP is never enforced they are allowed to operate without restrictions. -- One of the most glaring examples of the relationship between the city council and the owners of the mosque is the rental of the football field adjacent to the mosque. The city maintains the field, mowing the field twice a week, fertilizing, painting lines etc. at a cost of about $50,000 per year. The mosque in turn renting the field to whom ever will pay the price. The city is indirectly subsidizing the mosque. -- It is reported that the owners of the mosques have pledged 1000 votes. Since this pledge was made at city hall I expect the votes would be directed to insure the CUP would never be enforced. -- The only solution to this expanding problem is to enforce the CUP in both locations. The longer we wait the harder it will be to bring sanity back to East Bloomington.
Taxes Too high and going higher
The “Bloomington Briefing” published the following chart in order to deceive you into believing the city is run efficiently. The deception is in the use of the word median valued-family home. The city did not compare homes of equal value. Below is the, “Cost of service as compared by home values”, chart compares cost of services for equal valued home in Bloomington, Edina and Eden Prairie. “ The statement, “Bloomington’s property tax paid for city services is the lowest among the communities with populations over 20,000 in Hennepin County.” is not true. We are paying far more for city services then taxpayers in neighboring communities.
“Cost of service as compared by equal home values”, gives you an honest comparison of the cost of service paid by Bloomington taxpayers compared with our neighboring committees. The cost is calculated for a $194.500 home in all three communities. As you see we are paying much more per month then we should. The high cost of services escalates taxes and depresses your home values. The data was taken from the Hennepin County Tax Data Base.
We need to follow the Edina’s example and reduce the cost of city government and in turn lower our taxes. The benefits of lowering taxes are huge. The property taxes we pay are divided into three parts. The city receives 40% of the taxes and the state and county take 60%. If we lower the cost of city government by $20.00 /month / household as in Edina, we could in turn lower our taxes by $50.00 / month because we would lowers the amount the state and county takes by $30.00 . Multiplied by twelve months average household would have $600.00 extra a year to spend and help Bloomington’s economy grow; more and better jobs, few vacant businesses, stronger families. It is a “Win Win Situation.” We need to lower the cost of city government and lower taxes. Other then Tom Hulting and Vern Wilcox, who is retiring, the present city council is planning to do the worse thing possible, raise your taxes.