Our Speaker today was Dean Lotter.  He had hoped to be able to update us on New Brighton's legal battle with the U.S. Government, but the legal wrangling is still in process and he cannot comment until it is settled.  Instead, Dean presented a summary of city's financial condition.  Financial Sustainability was a key element of the Strategic Plan developed by the Council and Staff in 2013.  Managing debt is a key element of financial sustainability and city management has worked hard on debt reduction, reducing total debt by 4.9 million in 2013 (a 10% reduction).  A plan is in place to fund capital expenditures thru 2025 without borrowing, eliminating interest expense on these purchases.  Another benefit of good financial management is that our AA credit bond rating is likely to rise to AA+ and could even go to AAA, if projections bear out.  This would bring an added benefit of lower interest rates when we do have to borrow.  These cost reductions, along with personnel management and controlling annual increases in department costs, have kept average budget increases well under one percent per year over the last seven years.  This is much better than other comparable cities.   Dean's city management mantra, “One City-One Set of Resources-One Set of Services”,  seems to be effective in managing New Brighton's tax dollars.  (Dean and Margaret are pictured below)