Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope all is well with you and your families. As we transition from winter into spring, I want to update you regarding some current City-related issues and review some of Dellwood’s Ordinances.
City of Dellwood Property Taxes and Expenses:
Since there is very little non-residential property in Dellwood, the City’s tax base is made up almost exclusively by about 400 residential properties. City expenses for road work, police, fire, ambulance, snow plowing, public schools, and everything else, are paid for by our residents’ property taxes. These expenses are significant, and our City Council works hard to control expenses and not overburden our residents with excessive taxes.
Your property tax statement is made up of four general components and they are as follows:
|City of Dellwood
|Other Taxing Districts
Your Property tax cost for 2023 is approximately .9% of the assessed value of your home.
The total taxes by the city of Dellwood for 2023 will be $868,118. This amount is made up of 1) general city expenditures ($512,918) and 2) the payment of principal and interest for city bonds ($355,200) that were used for the repair and replacement of the city streets.
The general city expenditures budget of $512,918 are broken down as follows:
|Wages & Benefits *
|Police & Fire
|General & Adm. Expenses
|2023 Budget General Exp.
|Less: City Fees Collected
|Net 2023 City Expenses
* This figure includes the City Administrator, City Council, and Planning Commission
Lake Links Trail:
A fair amount of publicity and discussion has occurred regarding the proposed Lake Links Trail. A portion of this trail is proposed to travel along Highway 244 through Dellwood. There have been articles in the White Bear Press regarding the proposed trail, and a petition was recently circulated by the Lake Links Trail Association that supports constructing the trail through Dellwood. There has also been a lot of rumor, speculation, and misinformation regarding the trail, which has led to questions and confusion on the part of some residents. I will attempt to clarify some of the trail-related issues in this letter.
While a trail through Dellwood is an attractive idea in concept, it is essential to determine how the proposed trail would be paid for – now and into the future. The City of Dellwood was awarded a grant of $2.6 million to construct the proposed trail. Based on the information we have, this amount is inadequate to construct the trail. An engineering report from 2018 estimates that the trail would cost at least $3.35 million to construct (a $750,000 shortfall). This shortfall has certainly increased due to inflation and higher construction costs. The projected shortfall, for construction alone, could easily be 2-3 times larger than Dellwood’s total annual operating budget.
In addition, none of the $2.6 million grant was available to use for preliminary design work, purchase of private property, or for ongoing maintenance. If the City owns the trail, any expenses not covered by the grant must be absorbed by our taxpayers. The proposed Lake Links Trail is a regional trail, connected to other area trails and used largely by people who are not Dellwood residents. For these reasons, the City Council has been unwilling to hastily approve a trail and accept the grant funding without adequate assurances that the City is not absorbing a huge expense / liability that must be paid by our residents. Currently, the trail is not adequately funded for design, construction, or maintenance, and if the City Council simply approved the trail and accepted the grant “as is” our understanding is that Dellwood’s taxpayers would be responsible for paying for any shortfall. Because Dellwood’s taxes are primarily funded by about 400 residential properties – that could become a significant and ongoing financial burden to our citizens.
Here are the facts as they currently stand:
- Dellwood was awarded a State grant of $2.6 million to build the trail through the City. Our information indicates that the actual cost of construction would significantly exceed this amount.
- The grant funds can not be used for a preliminary study / design to determine the feasibility and potential impacts of the proposed trail. The City Council has been unwilling to fund the substantial cost (estimated $20,000 – 30,000) of the preliminary study / design using residents’ taxpayer dollars, so the preliminary study was “put on hold” until other funding sources are identified.
- The existing $2.6 million grant funding does not cover ongoing maintenance of the trail, which could be a significant expense to our taxpayers, if not funded by other sources. Currently, no other funding sources have been identified.
- The existing grant does not provide money for the acquisition of any private property, and the City does not have available funds to purchase private property. The City Council is not in favor of taking property from unwilling landowners through the eminent domain process.
- Based upon information provided to the City, a portion of the trail would have to be constructed within the right-of-way for Highway 244.
- Highway 244 is a State Highway, and the State has total control over what can be placed within the right-of-way. This means that Dellwood does not have the authority to construct a trail within the right-of-way even if the trail was already designed and approved.
- The City is not against the concept of a trail through Dellwood. We recognize that a trail could provide a safer way for pedestrians and bike riders to travel along Highway 244. The City supports the concept of a trail if it can be constructed and maintained without significant cost to our residents and without interfering with private property along the proposed route.
- There is pending legislation which may impact the trail’s funding and construction options.
- The City has not made any final decisions at this point regarding the proposed trail. Discussions are ongoing and all options are being explored.
As you travel through Dellwood, you’ve probably noticed that many of our roads are in poor condition and in need of repair. Some of the deterioration is due to the normal wear and tear from seasonal freeze and thaw conditions, but much of the deterioration is due to the age of the roads. Many of the City roads have not been reconstructed since they were first built more than 50 years ago. To make things worse, the toppings that have been applied to our roads in recent years as part of our normal road maintenance have proven to be defective, with the top layers separating from the underlying road.
In the past, the City has issued bonds to cover the expense of major road projects. In order to be fiscally responsible and avoid large tax increases for our residents, we historically have paid off existing bonds prior to issuing new bonds. The current bond obligation will be paid off in the coming year, so the City Council is currently exploring options to issue another round of bonds to finance the needed repairs.
The City Engineer is nearing completion of a plan to redo several roads within Dellwood. This spring, the City plans to embark on a major road construction project to restore our roads to good condition for now and for many years to come. It’s estimated that the cost to fix our roads is about $4.2 million. Depending on specific conditions existing on a given road, some roads will need to be completely reconstructed, and other roads will be restored with a less expensive, yet still effective, process called “reclamation”. The goal is to have the roads within Dellwood restored to good condition by next fall.
The City has had a long-standing contract with Waste Management to provide recycling services to our residents. The contract with Waste Management expired, and they proposed a new contract which included increased fees while accepting fewer items on their list of recyclable materials. After concluding a bidding process and interviewing potential recycling providers, the City Council has determined that Dellwood would be better served by changing to a different provider for our recycling needs.
Beginning in May, Dellwood’s recycling needs will be provided by Gene’s Disposal Service. Gene’s will be delivering new 90-gallon recycling containers to our residents prior to starting recycling collection in May. As more information becomes available, it will be posted on the City’s website.
Consistent with the Washington County Sheriff’s request, Dellwood requires that residents post house numbers which are clearly visible and legible both day and night.
Lack of visible house numbers makes it more difficult for police, fire, and ambulances to locate the correct residence in an emergency. For your safety, please make sure that your home complies by posting a clearly visible home address.
Dellwood has Ordinances regarding the storage of personal property. Personal property items, including recreational vehicles, boats, trucks, docks, and trailers must be located on the property so that the items are fully screened, and not visible from the street or adjoining properties. Screening the view of personal property can be more challenging in the winter months when bushes and trees may lose their leaves. Please be considerate of your neighbors and help to ensure that these items are not in plain view.
Dellwood has Ordinances which regulate outdoor lighting. The City has received numerous complaints regarding residents who leave outdoor lights on all night long, and the light shines onto neighboring property and into homes – often disturbing other residents’ ability to sleep. The Ordinance prohibits reflected glare or light from private exterior lighting exceeding 0.5 footcandles as measured on the property line of the property where the lighting is located when abutting any residential parcel. Please be respectful of your neighbors and refrain from illuminating adjoining properties during the night.
Dellwood Ordinances prohibit an owner from letting their animals run at large. Please keep your pets contained within a fence or on a leash. Pets must have a license issued by the City. Please ensure that your pets are current with their vaccinations, and bring a copy of the current rabies certificate with you when you purchase your pet’s license at City Hall. Licenses may also be purchased by mailing in the Animal License Application, which can be found on the City’s website.
Door to Door Vendors:
The City has an Ordinance which prohibits door to door vendors who are not licensed by the City. They are required to have a copy of the City License / Proof of Registration on their person. For your safety and security, we recommend that you do not do business with vendors who can not produce the required paperwork. Dellwood does not routinely issue these licenses, so a vendor who shows up at your home is potentially in violation of this Ordinance. Call 911 if you are suspicious.
The City performs annual inspections of all septic systems in order to ensure that the systems are operating properly and in compliance with City and State Codes. Inspections are necessary to ensure that systems are safe, and not contaminating the environment. If you have questions, please feel free to call our City Hall.
Dellwood City Council, Planning Commission, and Support Staff:
As of January 1, 2023, City staff and contractors include:
|Dellwood City Council
|Dellwood Planning Commission
|Mike McGill (Mayor)
|Scott St. Martin
|Deb Flaherty Christopherson
|City Clerk / Administrator: Joel Holstad
|City Engineer: Cara Geheren
|City Treasurer: Brian Beich
|City Planner: Nate Sparks
|City Attorney: Richard Copeland
|Road maintenance: Ken Johnson
|Water / Septic Inspector: Brian Humpal
|Building Inspector: Jack Kramer
|Police: Washington County Sheriff
|Fire Department: White Bear Lake FD
City Website: www.dellwood.us
Contact information for City officials and staff is posted on our website.
City Hall / Joel Holstad, City Clerk / Administrator (651) 429-1356
City meetings are open to the public:
City Council: Second Tuesday of each month beginning at 5:30 PM
Planning Commission: Third Tuesday of each month beginning at 6:30 PM
Note: Planning Commission only meets as needed.
Online access to City meetings is posted on the City’s website.
Dellwood is extremely fortunate to have a committed team of individuals who are willing to contribute their time and efforts to ensure that the City operates safely, efficiently, and within budget. We encourage our citizens to contact us with any questions or concerns that arise.
Mayor of Dellwood