Mayor's Messages on COVID-19

Mayor Droste is sharing messages periodically on the response by City government and the community to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday, March 31

With all the rain we had last weekend, you can definitely tell that Spring is upon us! April showers bring May flowers as they say, and it’s great to see the grass greening up already. Today I’d like to share CleanWaterMN’s April blog with you. It’s called “Community Cleanup Lifts Spirits” which encourages folks to help pickup trash around homes, storm drains and gutters. It even explains how to sign up to adopt-a-drain near your home or in our community. https://www.cleanwatermn.org/community-cleanup-lifts-spirits/?utm_source=ci-rosemount&2020-March2-Blog

As you’re out enjoying the fresh air and helping to clean up the community, please remember to practice social distancing and be safe.

-Mayor Bill Droste

Monday, March 30

For many, today marked a new kind of “Back to School”. Teachers, students, and parents are all adjusting to a brand new way of teaching and learning. We at the City are thinking of you and hoping your day is going well!  As a reminder, a number of local restaurants have stepped up to offer students free lunches during these extraordinary times.  Please take a look at this map if your children need lunch support during this time, and a huge thank you to these local businesses for showing this great community service.

https://coronoavirusresources-cirosemountmn.hub.arcgis.com/app/9090cffdeffe4c91a76918440da61a16

-Mayor Bill Droste

Saturday, March 28

In this time of severe disruption to our normal routines, I’d like to draw your attention to another feature of normal life that’s been interrupted – and that could have severe consequences. On just about every weekday, somewhere in Dakota County, you would see the American Red Cross conducting blood drives outside public facilities and civic-minded businesses. But that work has been severely reduced. As of midweek, more than 110 blood drives have been canceled in Minnesota. That’s about 3,800 units of live-saving contributions that our hospitals were counting on but will not receive.

The Red Cross assures us it takes several steps to maintain the safety of donors and the blood supply. Any individual who enters a building where a blood drive is taking place will be pre-screened for fever before coming inside; that even applies to staff and volunteers. Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols that include wearing gloves, routinely wiping down donor-touched areas, using sterile collection sets for every donation, and preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub. And additional spacing within the donation area is taking place.

If you are able to donate, please visit www.RedCrossBlood.org. And if your business or organization can host a drive here in Rosemount, please reach out at the same website. It’s another way we can look out for each other during these difficult times.

-Mayor Bill Droste

Friday, March 27

Today’s message from the Mayor is a three-minute video:
 

Thursday, March 26

The governor has now called on Minnesotans to “Stay home, stop the spread, save lives.” That appeal will continue for the next two weeks. I know many people who don’t have jobs requiring them to go out are putting their home time to good use with improvement projects, or at least planning for them. In some cases, there are programs that can provide a financial incentive for improvements.

The City offers rebates for certain appliances that conserve water. We also offer stormwater rebates for projects like rain gardens and permeable pavement. You might even qualify for a rebate for plantings friendly to pollinators.  And Rosemount’s programs for energy conservation can provide rebates and cheaper utility bills.

Our Public Works Department has pulled together a list of these opportunities on the Home and Yard Programs webpage. Check it out for ideas on how to save, and how to get some positive outcomes from our current need to stay close to home.

-Mayor Bill Droste

Wednesday, March 25

In the midst of this crisis, I am so heartened to see evidence of the kindness of the people of Rosemount. We are seeing it in unique ways throughout the community. A few examples: some residents are staging “drive-by birthday parties,” honking their horns and waiving at the birthday kids on their porches. Some people are putting red hearts in their front windows to show appreciation of and support for our valued healthcare workers. Sidewalks and driveways are chalked with upbeat messages. And folks who are taking advantage of the trails and sidewalks are picking up litter (join in if you can but bring plastic bags and protect your hands).

One family is reaching out to the community in a way that builds on a project started by the Rosemount Youth Commission. Like the Commissioners last summer, the family is painting small rocks that stand out to the eye with messages of hope and support. If you see one of the rocks, please don’t touch it, but feel free to snap and share photos; in fact, the family created a Facebook page for the purpose. They hope to someday create a community rock garden for the purpose. 

This is just one great example of how the people of Rosemount are trying to prevent physical distancing from turning into social isolation. We will see it though together.

-Mayor Bill Droste

Tuesday, March 24

One of the things that seems to be in short supply from time to time in the stores is bottled water. Maybe it’s because some standard emergency advice says to maintain a supply of drinking water at home. And it’s probably a good idea in parts of the country prone to floods or hurricanes. 

As for Rosemount? Our water supply is not at risk during this time and there’s no need to stock up on bottled water. Our Public Works crews are maintaining the system just as they do normally, and the quality remains high. We’ve taken part in briefings by the Minnesota Department of Health, and the guidance is that normal treatment practices are effective to eliminate viruses like COVID-19. You should feel safe drinking our water, and feel good that by choosing it, you’re reducing the waste from plastic bottles.

While we’re on the subject, I’d like to make it clear that the City will not do any utility shutoffs for unpaid bills during this time. We acknowledge that some families face a strained economic situation. If you don’t need to delay your payment, this is a good time if you haven’t tried it before to use our online billing system to save a stamp or a trip to the deposit boxes outside City Hall. Either way, you can trust that our service will be there.

-Mayor Bill Droste

Monday, March 23

Our Rosemount Public Works crews remain on the job during the COVID pandemic. You’ve probably seen their trucks on the streets for their normal duties the last few days. But I want to warn you about one thing they may not be able to help you with: a sewer backup on your property caused by putting the wrong wastes in the toilet. The shortage of toilet paper on the shelves has apparently led some people to alternatives. Most of them cannot be flushed safely and are prone to clogging pipes.

On the bad list are facial tissues and paper towels. And believe it or not, wipes sold as “flushable” should not be flushed. All of it risks snagging in your pipes. I will spare you the photos our crews have taken of blobs of these items jamming the sewer mains we maintain. If the clog happens in the service line under your property, the repair is your responsibility as well as the expense. If you do use alternatives, please dispose as you would diapers, in sealed plastic bags with your garbage. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency had a little fun with it in this video.

 -Mayor Bill Droste 

Sunday, March 22

 I am seeing evidence that people in Rosemount are taking to heart the advice of public health experts to employ “social distancing,” in the hopes it will slow the spread of COVID-19. It’s a good time to limit contact with others, for their sake and for yours. But on this Sunday I wanted to put out an appeal not to lose all contact with your neighbors. Put in a phone call or better yet, a video call to the folks who live near you. That especially applies if you have older friends who need to stay home for their own protection. 

It’s a source of great sadness to me that many of our places of worship had to make the difficult but necessary decision to suspend their services this weekend. We must be sure not to weaken the connections in our neighborhoods and our faith communities. They are crucial to maintaining the quality of life in Rosemount.

 -Mayor Bill Droste

Saturday, March 21

To stay safe this weekend, Rosemount residents should avoid crowds, but I’m sure many people like me are trying to get our shopping done. I’d like to put out an appeal for shoppers not to buy large quantities of items that everyone needs. The large grocery suppliers have assured the public that more items are in the pipeline. But we still find sparse supplies on some shelves. (If you can admit to yourself that you may have gotten carried away in your shopping, consider giving some of your excess to the food shelf at the Rosemount Family Resource Center. 360 Communities put out an urgent appeal this week for “cleaning supplies, bleach, diapers, soap, and, yes, toilet paper.”)

While some stores are seeing “aggressive shopping,” as Target put it last week, please do not neglect our local businesses. They are doing their best to serve the community and keep their employees healthy and paid. We have posted a map of civic-minded restaurants offering free lunches to students in need. And we are assembling another map to show which Rosemount businesses are open; if your firm is among them, please fill out the survey. Please shop local when you can. Links to the maps and survey are at https://www.ci.rosemount.mn.us/covid.

-Mayor Bill Droste

Friday, March 20

When I’ve been talking with residents this week, I’ve been asked where Rosemount stands in terms of the spread of COVID-19. For privacy reasons, the Minnesota Department of Health is only disclosing counts at the county level for cases that have been confirmed by testing. You can see the latest data on the Department’s website, at the link for Situation Update.

The fact is, we must assume the virus is already present in our community. That same website has good information on strategies to slow the spread of the disease. One key is to stay home when you’re sick, and if you’re not, keep a safe distance from others. I hope we’re all becoming experts at singing “Happy Birthday” two times in a row, or however it works to count out 20 seconds for hand washing.

We’ve seen the advice from state and federal authorities evolve as this pandemic goes on. A lot of what we’ve heard is prepare for two weeks of “social isolation,” but that’s subject to change. Be assured that we at the City will continue to provide needed services for the duration. 

-Mayor Bill Droste

Thursday, March 19

As the Mayor of Rosemount, I want to take every opportunity to keep our citizens up to date on what their City government is doing to serve them during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m planning to make quick posts most days to make sure you are in the loop about our operations. To start, I’ll explain that I issued an emergency proclamation earlier this week, and the City Council approved a longer-term measure. The effect is basically to streamline our processes for functions like purchasing so the staff can act quickly in the current emergency. We may also modify how we hold Council and other public meetings, but whenever possible we will continue to offer video coverage of those meetings for those who want to see them.

Our City buildings remain closed to public access and are operating with reduced personnel. Our Police, Fire, and Public Works operations remain at full strength. For now, we know the buildings will be locked through the end of the month; we’ll decide when to reopen based on guidance from our health agencies.

Keep referring to the frequently updated webpage devoted to the emergency, https://www.ci.rosemount.mn.us/covid. I am confident that Rosemount will emerge from these times as an even stronger community.

-Mayor Bill Droste

Tuesday, March 17

The City of Rosemount is taking the steps necessary to maintain essential services to our residents in the face of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are balancing these vital needs with the need to keep our citizens, including those who work for the City, as safe as possible. We are drawing on our emergency plans that have been revised through the last several years. We are also staying abreast of guidance from federal, state, and county authorities.  

Please be confident that your City is well positioned to see this situation through, and the leaders across our many departments are working tirelessly to respond to this crisis in a professional and thoughtful manner.

Please follow the recommendations of public health agencies, and keep up to date on the changes to City operations that will be added to this webpage as they occur.  We will get through this issue in the way this country always has, by working together and relying on the common good of our people.

 

Signature of Mayor

 

William H. Droste
Mayor of Rosemount