• 12Jun

    Today I will propose a change to how the City of Rochester oversees $7 million dollars in support for outside agencies. I am frustrated with the status quo and am pursuing corrective action.

    The memo that I prepared for the council can be found here.

    Recent events have shown a persistent weakness in our oversight of public funds. This proposal would create professional oversight and decrease the influence of political connections in the allocation of public funds. I view this as a needed step to restore public faith in our management public funds going to partner organizations. While not every organizations has had issues, every taxpayer dollar deserves meaningful public oversight.

    Here is the approximate amount of taxpayer funds being issued to outside organizations in 2017.

     photo 2017 City Outside Contributions_zps10d0huev.jpg

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  • 06Mar

    This was sent out as the “final” revised Stantec report. The Stantec report articulates the significant issues in the Olmsted County Planning Department (note these are funding, staffing issues; not problems with existing staff). It has been half a year with no action.

    The initial report was bleak, spot on, and a call to action. Here is where you can find that initial report.

    Initial Report (edit: hopefully fixed the link)

    I have not reviewed what was changed, but would be very interested in a member of the public summarizing the changes for me.

    Well, well, well, it would appear significant changes were made and no one seems to know who made these changes. It certainly was not done by any public body in any public meeting. Thank you to the person OR people that provided this analysis:




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  • 12Nov

    9 1/2 years after the needless death of a child, the county once again met to discuss ideas to address safety issues in the area around Harriet Bishop Elementary School. I submitted nearly the exact same recommendation I did 7 years ago. In that time not a single safety improvement has been made in that area. Read more…

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  • 02Dec

    In general property taxes in Rochester are going up at about an inflationary rate.  However some are substantially higher. Typically this is because their value went up. The city does not set valuations, that comes from the county. Here is an explanation of why this happens.

    From: Krupski Mark [mailto:krupski.mark@CO.OLMSTED.MN.US]
    Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2014 9:09 AM
    To: Neumann, Gary
    Cc: Kvenvold, Steve; Spaeth, Terry; Hackman Julie; Paulson Tami; Kraft Ryan; Devlin Richard; Krenik Belinda; ‘rmiller@rochestermnchamber.com
    Subject: RE: Commercial Valuation Increases

    Good Morning Gary,

    Please find attached a copy of the City of Rochester 2014 Assessment Commercial Sales Ratio  study stratified by property type: Fast Food, Hotel, Strip Retail, Office, etc.

    Based upon the review of what types of commercial property were selling, adjustments were made to those property types to better reflect the market. State law mandates that all property is to be assessed at 100% of market value. The Sales Ratio study is relied on to assist in making those market value determinations.

    Reviewing the study, some of the larger increases were applied to strip retail and office condos. Office condos were significantly reduced during the recession and have since made a recovery although not quite as high as they once were prior to 2008.

    Strip retail properties also improved based upon the sales study.

    The overall commercial segment of the real estate market in Rochester had been flat since about 2008. The last assessment sales study period (October 1, 2012 thru September 30, 2013) demonstrated the first signs of appreciation in some commercial property types.

    The core of downtown Rochester also saw increases to land values based upon recent sales of commercial property that are slated for demolition.

    Assessors are typically considered ‘historians’ responding to a past market, however I do anticipate that the commercial real estate market will continue to grow based upon buyer enthusiasm around DMC, low interest rates and pent up demand due to a market that had been stagnant from 2008 thru 2012.

    Increases in budgets for the City, County, State General Tax and School District further increased the impact to those commercial properties that increased in taxable market value.

    I believe the City Bio-business Building would have been impacted by the adjustments made to both Office properties and perhaps land values in the downtown core.

    For further explanation on that property please send me the parcel id and I will look into it further.

    I hope this helps explain the increases in property taxes you mentioned in your email.

    If you have any further questions please let me know.

    Mark Krupski, CAE

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  • 20May

    Rails is the future for regional connections.  Getting from here to there is tough.


    High Speed Rail to Rochester would be a mobility game changer for our region. It would add value to public investments in good transit and walkable places on both ends. It would also set the stage for future expansion of true high speed rail onward to La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago. Intermediate plans would have 110 MPH “medium speed” rail from Minneapolis to Chicago along the current Empire Builder route, bypassing Rochester. But if true high speed rail is going to come to our city, those of us on the Minneapolis end need to advocate for it – for the line to move forward in general, and for the line to serve existing urban terminals specifically.

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  • 05Mar

    Were shutting down Broadway to remind people that our public spaces can do so much more!

    The RDA is proud to partner with PRIME, Design Rochester, Olmsted County Planning, and Olmsted County Public Health to support the first ever Broadway Stay & Play event this May 18th from 12:00 to 5:00pm. This free event open to the public will close the 300 Block of S Broadway for a family-friendly, healthy and active living festival. Read more…

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  • 18Dec

    Thank you to Steve Williams and Jane Bisel who provided this to the city.  I greatly appreciate their dedication to the heritage of our community. This is a great read.  WPA Structures at Graham Park.

    Architectural Consultants:

    • Bill Hickey, AIA, LEED AP, Collaborative Design Group
    • Craig Milkert, PE, LEED AP, Collaborative Design Group
    • Philip Waugh, LEED AP, Collaborative Design Group

    Historical Consultants:

    • Jane Bisel, Blue Planet Museum Consulting
    • Stevenson Williams, Blue Planet Museum Consulting


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  • 06Dec

    Thanks to RAEDI ED (and fellow elected official) Gary Smith for putting together a summary of how the Envirolastech loan works.  We approved this loan at our last meeting and will use sales tax funds that were approved for economic development. Read more…

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  • 21Oct

    1) Treating the county in a fair and respectful manner.
    2) Approving Massage Therapy Licenses.
    3) Kicking off our long overdue comprehensive plan update. (corrected per Allen, thx)

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  • 20Oct

    Lets make this simple.  Will we choose logic, reason, and facts OR emotion?

    We need to choose from option A or option B.

    Option A offers the following advantages.

    • Costs less to build
    • Costs less to maintain
    • Costs less to operate
    • Safer for automobiles
    • Safer for pedestrians
    • More efficient for traffic
    • Better fuel efficiency
    • Especially safer and skewed intersections
    Option B is the way we have always done it
    • More popular with some
    In this case Option A is a roundabout at 16th street and Mayowood Road.  Option B is an intersection.  The advantages are not just in theory, they have been tested and verified by engineers with access to real world data.  This decision is so simple that only a bunch of politicians could screw it up…
    Once we look at some of the specifics of the area the decision becomes even clearer.  While the new intersection between Mayowood Road and 16th street will be better it still remains skewed which is an ideal location for a roundabout.  The 2 lane roundabout design is good up to about 50,000 vehicle trips per day which is more than any of us will ever see at that location.  As for times like Black Friday roundabouts are more efficient than signals because traffic backup at one light does not back up into another.  Even at stand still conditions the every other turn at a roundabout will move traffic more efficiently than signals.  These conditions are present less than 1% of the time at this location.
    There is one argument that keeps coming up which is better addressed by roadway changes.  Some neighbors have expressed a belief that a signalized intersection will be better for making turns in and out of side streets between Mayowood Road and Broadway.  In reality there is a far better and more effective option to address these concerns.  The amount of actual vehicle trips that are made in this area make 16th street East of Mayowood a prime candidate for a 4 to 3 conversion.  Rather than having 2 lanes of travel each direction we create a left turn lane in the center and reduce to one lane in each direction.  This is easily done up to 18,000 vehicle trips per day and can work well beyond that.  This makes left turns in and out of adjacent properties much easier and will likely reduce accidents.  Left turns from 16th now have a lane and therefore the issues of stopping in a drive lane goes away.  Left turns from side roads are easier as sight lines are improved and cars must navigate only 1 lane and then has a safe spot to pause in the turn lane if that becomes necessary.
    In addition at peak times roundabouts also serve as a U turn to eliminate the need for some left turns altogether.
    One other benefit of both the roundabout and the 4 to 3 conversion is that they reduce speeding, another common complaint in the area.

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