Mayor's Corner

Tracy Bertram Photo

   



Mayor Tracy  Bertram


email: tbertram@ci.becker.mn.us
Phone: 612-219-3407
 



State of the City Address

Below is the State of the City Address as delivered by Mayor Tracy Bertram on May 10, 2017 to the Becker Area Chamber of Commerce.

A PowerPoint Presentation was given in conjunction with the presentation and is incorporated in the address below.  To view the PowerPoint presentation individually click here


Slide1

I am very pleased to be able to spend time with you all this afternoon to provide another annual update on the state of our city.

We can begin with the basic assessment first:  Becker continues to be in a very good state, and we continue to be well-positioned to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

 

Becker continues to benefit from a strong local and State economy as well as our excellent location within the region.  We can be proud of our employment base, businesses, innovative and forward-thinking school district and educational institutions, our great parks and trails system and other amenities, as well as our solid transportation connections.

Slide2

2016 was a great year! An abridged version of accomplishments, including:

  • Recapitalization of the industrial wastewater treatment plant;
  • Realignment of Hancock Street South to improve safety, traffic flow, and to position the city to implement a Train Whistle Free Quiet Zone;
  • Improvements to the Becker Community Center as we invested in an air handling/dehumidification system that was twenty-two years old.  

So much of what gives us those advantages and assets in which we can take such pride comes from the hard work and commitment of the people who live here, work here, own businesses here, volunteer here, and care about their community.

I believe the best thing we can do as the local unit of government is be sure that everything we do contributes to the success of all those other efforts – or at the very least stays out of the way of those efforts.

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These priorities have developed through our community’s vision, and in my opinion serve as a useful means to measure where we are. The priorities include:
  

  • Financial Sustainability
  • Community Growth and Development
  • Promote a Safe and Healthy Community 
  • Partnerships and Collaboration
  • Improve Becker’s Brand  

You will also notice that as we converse, each and every topic we discuss today will fit below one or more of the above priorities. By design.  We want to become stronger as a community. We will work smarter. We will work more efficiently. We will leverage our current resources to better position our community for the next generations.

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As you may have heard, Xcel Energy will be decommissioning two of the three coal fired power generating units in the next decade or so. One of our top priorities will be to collaborate with Xcel Energy in an effort to change the tax structure from taxing equipment to an energy production tax. This change will help stabilize the City’s budgeting process and financial future as this new structure will allow the city to forecast future revenue and better plan for our distant future.

Even though the decommissioning may have seemed like the end of the road for us, I believe it is just the beginning of something bigger. For example, the 2017 Legislature (Representative Newberger, Senator Mathews, and Senator Brown) passed a Bill and Governor Dayton signed it into law to build an 800-megawatt natural gas fired power generating plant right here in Becker. This $800 million gas plant will not be a retrofit to one of the retired and mothballed units. This will be a brand-new freestanding facility that will create a large number of construction jobs as it is being built. In addition, the transmission line will create additional opportunities as we will have additional gas capacity.

The collaborative efforts that lead up to the Natural Gas Plant bill signing has created stronger relationships between the City, Xcel Energy, Sherburne County, the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the Governor’s office. The City had the honor of meeting with the Commissioner of DEED and the Governor’s office regarding the transition from a coal based economy to a more diversified economy in the coming years. The Governor has instructed DEED and other departments and staff to assist the City with our transitional efforts. This is a great opportunity to bolster our economic development efforts with extra resources from the State of Minnesota.  

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Xcel Energy is also partnering with the City on economic development projects. Our Community Development Department has been working tirelessly to get our City owned industrial park lots certified and marketed as “shovel ready.” These certified lots allow the City to broaden the marketing efforts of our Industrial Park. Not only is the City promoting business to locate or expand in Becker, but Xcel Energy is also promoting our community as a great location for businesses to build and grow. In fact, just last week at the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation annual meeting I witnessed firsthand Xcel promoting the City of Becker. Not only are we talking about them, they are talking about us on a regional/national level. In addition, Xcel Energy is marketing Xcel-owned property for future growth of the industrial park. One example that stands out as a potential new resident is the site acquisition slated for Northern Metal Recycling. This 53-acre site would be used to locate NMR to property close to the Sherco plant and close to the BNSF railroad. 

Slide10
The city’s economic development efforts also include the adopted First Street Corridor Redevelopment Plan. This redevelopment plan focuses on aesthetics and functionality of our downtown and highway connections. Some projects within this corridor that you may have recently seen include the newly expanded public parking lot off of Hancock Street, the freshly renovated laundromat and the upcoming Kwik Trip location.
Slide11
As the community pursues a more diversified tax base we are anticipating the need for improved transportation connections. The Becker City Council recently commissioned Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. (SEH) to conduct a feasibility report on realigning Sherburne County Road 8 to meet up with Minnesota State Highway 25, build a new industrial park frontage road connection to the existing Sherburne County Road 8, extend the city’s commercial frontage road out along MN State 25 among other things. The ultimate goal to move traffic the smoothest way possible and take full advantage of the I-94 interchange in Clearwater and move traffic efficiently and effectively onto Highway 10.
Slide12
The City of Becker has recently become involved with planning for a crossing over the Mississippi River. The Highway 25 River Crossing Coalition consists of Sherburne and Wright Counties, Becker and Big Lake Townships, and the cites of Big Lake Monticello, and Becker. Even though this is a legacy project and it may take years to complete the project, we know we must get started on the project as soon as possible. The coalition has commissioned a project to study the feasibility of crossing the Mississippi River somewhere within the corporate limits of Monticello. This project is different than the high-speed crossing debated about a decade ago. This monumental task of building a bridge over a river will, when completed, spur on commerce, reduce traffic congestion, and impact the people of Sherburne and Wright Counties.
Slide13
The City of Becker has partnered with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to improve safety at the intersection of Sherburne Ave and Highway 10. During the 2018 construction season, MN DOT will be resurfacing the eastbound lanes of Highway 10 between Clear Lake and Big Lake. As part of the project, MN DOT will be installing a Reduced Conflict Intersection (RCI). You may know it as a Michigan Left?! Regardless of what it’s called, you can get more information at:

http://www.dot.state.mn.us/roadwork/rci/
Slide14
I would like you to know that the current City Council is absolutely amazing. We have a proactive approach to issues and know where we want to go. We have a great partnership with the Becker Town Board. This partnership will be critical as we continue to leverage our current resources to better position our community for the next generations.

Mayor's Welcoming Message


  
Hello Residents of Becker!

I am humbled by the opportunity you have given me to lead the City of Becker. Becker is on the cusp of something great and I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of this community during these exciting times.

My family and I have called Becker our home for over 20 years. One of my family’s favorite things to do here in Becker is to take in the sights of Snuffy’s Landing while kayaking on the Mississippi River. One of my personal favorites is the people who call Becker home. I am amazed every day by the community pride each of us has. I have met a lot of you at various community activities, while sitting on various committees throughout Becker and by being on City Council for the past 8 years.

My family’s values fit well into what I see as the city’s priorities:

  • Augmenting the City’s collaborative efforts;
  • Promoting economic vitality;
  • Continuing to strengthen the City’s financial position;
  • Reinforcing the organization as a number one employer;
  • Enhancing our community’s safe, healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

Becker has so much to offer:

  • Great schools;
  • Great recreational opportunities;
  • Great transportation;
  • Great corporate partners;
  • Superb volunteers;
  • Competitive tax rate.

The Becker City Council and I have hit the ground running. It is true we have some challenges in front of us. It is also true that we look forward to meeting those challenges. We have exciting times ahead!

You have my pledge to make Becker a better place, our government more effective, and our image more positive. I have great confidence in what we can accomplish as we move into the future.

Becker truly is a great place to live and will only become better!

Tracy Bertram, Mayor
City of Becker, Minnesota