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Mayor: Burnsville Has a 'Bright Future' Ahead

In her annual address to the city's residents, seven term Mayor Elizabeth Kautz was stridently (some may say, defiantly) optimistic.

Wednesday, Mayor Elizabeth Kautz made a case for her city, which she has helmed for almost two decades.

"I don't apologize for being proud of Burnsville," Kautz said.

If that sounds defensive, consider this. In 2009, south metro blogger Bill Roehl instigated a Why I Love to Hate Burnsville Essay Contest which garnered dozens of entries, often phrased in salty couplets. By that same token, at least two people have started feeds (see Bville compliments and BHSNiceTalk) to defend their town's oft-trod upon honor in the Twittersphere.

In her annual State of the City Address, Kautz reassured the audience: Burnsville is in excellent shape. To prove her point, Kautz offered the following:

• About 89 percent of the residents polled in the 2012 community survey rated Burnsville's quality of life good or excellent.

• The city's financial position is strong, she said. Burnsville continues to have a AAA rating from Moody's, though the credit agency did raise some concerns in its annual report. Only 3 percent of cities nationwide share a AAA rating, according to Kautz.

"These are the same critical factors that a well-run business might boast," Kautz told the audience.

• In addition to the city government's own financial stability, the local economy has proved viable as well, she said.

"Despite a lethargy national economy Burnsville has fared remarkably well. We have only 5 percent unemployment, below both state and national rates," Kautz said, adding that 47 new businesses called Burnsville home in 2012.

• Kautz did acknowledge some of Burnsville's rough parts, but added that the city is taking steps to correct these deficiencies.  

"It is no secret Burnsville has a lot of rental property and no secret that those have not been maintained property in a way that is simply unacceptable," Kautz said, perhaps referring to a recent bout with the owners of Country Village, an apartment complex that had to be temporarily shuttered due to code violations. "We cannot be a first-rate city with third-rate rental properties."

Kautz then said that henceforth the city would conduct annual inspections of all rentals, with harsher penalties for those who don't comply. 

• In parting, she praised the myriad non-profits, businesses, volunteers and government workers who contribute to civic life.

"The theme of this address has centered on working together and partnership that is what has made Burnsville so successful. We need to continue to work together," Kautz said. "We have great assets and we need to share them. We have a bright future."

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