William (Bill) Droste

Today the top priority for all of us in Rosemount and around the globe is to do what we can to limit the spread of COVID-19. That’s why the city has taken steps to ensure our citizens get the services they need while protecting the health of our employees and those they serve.

City facilities, including City Hall, have closed to public access, but the work goes on, both by our staff tied in from their homes and by those who are coming into the facilities for essential services. Our Public Works crews remain on duty. Our public safety personnel are still standing by to help residents. We’ve made some changes in procedures, but our officers and firefighters are ready to respond. For instance, our public safety teams have worked with our ambulance service to answer calls in a way that provides top-notch care while protecting the safety of our staff.

Another way we’re reducing face-to-face contact is by moving our services online whenever possible. That applies to utility bill payments and applications for building permits. If you’re not already doing so, please utilize these online services. The systems are simple and secure, and our teams are able to process those items efficiently even during this time. If you need to drop off paperwork for permits or a water bill, we have collection boxes at the lower entrance to City Hall for permits, and a secure utility drop box for payments in the upper parking lot. We still have planners and inspectors working on rotating shifts, so we’re doing our part to support the continuity of Rosemount’s economy as much as possible.

Those are some of the steps Rosemount’s staff could take rapidly. But for more flexibility, I signed a proclamation last week declaring a state of emergency, and the City Council passed a resolution extending how long those emergency rules may last. It gives us the power “to protect the health, safety, and welfare” of the community.

Sadly, we’ve had to cancel some events such as the Spring Egg Hunt and the start of the next round of Learn to Skate classes. But while we need to discourage people from congregating, we cannot abandon our community’s ties. It is essential that we all look out for each other. Please check in on your neighbors (better by phone than in person). And to the extent you can, please support our hometown businesses and their employees.

The city initially closed its facilities through the end of the month. It is possible those dates will change. You can see the latest details on our website at www.ci.rosemount.mn.us/covid.

The pandemic is our top priority. But there’s one other important duty we all have right now. And you can do it quickly from your home. It’s time to stand up and be counted in the 2020 Census.

I am expecting the final numbers to confirm that Rosemount has just reached a milestone in its history. Our planning staff estimates that the city’s population a few months ago passed the 25,000 mark. But if the Census count falls short, it will cost our community. Estimates are that each person missed will lead to a loss of $2,700 in federal funding each year. The funds go toward efforts like building roads, housing programs, schools, and planning for emergency response. That’s money we can ill-afford to pass up.

The mailing you should have received will tell you how to submit your information: online, by phone, or by return mail. In its promotion campaign, the Census Bureau says taking part is “Shaping your future.” Indeed, this is the easiest way for you to shape the future of the city of Rosemount. Answer the Census form today. And please be safe as we see each other through these trying times.

Bill Droste is the mayor of Rosemount. Columns reflect the opinion of the author.

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