Simpson: City going strong, positioned well for the futureCity Administrator Scot Simpson began Tuesday’s City Council meeting with a summary of River Falls’ progress in 2011. He pointed to a balanced budget, consistent services and sound public facilities.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
City Administrator Scot Simpson began Tuesday’s City Council meeting with a summary of River Falls’ progress in 2011. He pointed to a balanced budget, consistent services and sound public facilities.
Simpson cited the vitality of River Falls’ mostly volunteer fire and ambulance departments, as well as public safety enhancements like unused pharmaceutical disposal.
The administrator conceded that single-family new construction has been slow but listed many examples of public and private investment in the city, especially student housing and multi-family dwellings.
Simpson credited the public library for serving about 38,000 users, including computers and gathering space that made room for 875 meetings last year. The municipal court handled 1,500 cases.
River Falls increased its communication volume by streaming city meetings through public cable, RFC TV and adding Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Simpson praised the city’s parks -- new ones and improved ones, as well as recreation programs that hosted about 13,000 adult and youth participants in 2011.
He emphasized River Falls’ national rankings for supporting green energy, commented about increased recycling and described many other city strengths.
“Another thing the city takes pride in is being the largest Wisconsin city on a Class 1 trout stream,” said Simpson.
Council members voted yes to refinancing seven loans into one that will save a projected (bids pending) net of $338,383 over 16 years by taking advantage of lower interest rates available now.
The seven loans were listed in a report from the city’s municipal finance consultant, Ehlers, as collectively totaling about $4.5 million dollars.
They refinanced loans made through the State Trust Fund in 2008 and 2009 for tax-increment finance district #6, the Riverview Hotel area; and in 2011, for corporate park land in Sterling Ponds; for a remodel of the public safety building; and for the site needed to complete the trail around Lake George.