The EPy Awards

Every year I have the honor of hosting our spring and fall employee recognition events. Yesterday was our spring recognition event where we presented our annual employee awards — appropriately called the “EPys.”

Following a welcome introduction by Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens, we honored our fellow employees for reaching milestones in their years of service. We then recognized our fellow employees with these special EPy Awards. The awards pay tribute to those employees who consistently went above and beyond in 2015 to perform their duties and serve the people of Eden Prairie.

EPy Winners 2015

Pictured (L to R): Ryan Higgins, Jeanne Karschnia, Tony Molitor, Lori Brink, Dan Otten, Rick Getschow, Dave Buswell, Lori Creamer, Larry Doig

Congratulations to the following 2016 award winners:

  • Carl J. Jullie Award for Excellence in Customer Service: Dan Otten, Building Inspections
  • Mayor Jean L. Harris Award for Community Service (community service to the people of the employee’s home community): Lori Creamer, Planning
  • James G. Clark Award for Excellence in Teamwork: Tony Molitor, Parks Maintenance
  • Scott H. Neal Award for Excellence in Leadership: Carter Staaf, Police
  • City Manager Quality Awards: Lori Brink, Parks and Recreation; Dave Buswell, Assessing; Larry Doig, Streets Maintenance; Ryan Higgins, Information Technology; Jeanne Karschnia, Housing and Community Services


2016 State of the City

Earlier this month, I wrapped up a series of State of the City addresses that were provided to several local organizations including the Rotary Club, the Lions Club and the Eden Prairie Community Foundation.

The initial event actually kicks off in conjunction with the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce during the first month of the year. The Chamber of Commerce President, the Eden Prairie Schools Superintendent and I team up to present a joint State of the City address at the Chamber’s monthly membership luncheon. This approach has allowed us to provide a comprehensive look at the latest projects and initiatives in the Eden Prairie community — for both the previous year and the upcoming year.

For the past few years I have taken this event “on the road” and have tried to provide more opportunities for others to see this presentation without being a member of the Chamber. Any group that is interested in a presentation can feel free to contact me. Also, the full presentation from the late January Chamber event can be found here.

During this year’s City portion of the address, I played the following video that tells the story of why some of our residents “Love E.P.”

Mission Accomplished for 20-40-15

20-10-15 InitiativeBack in late 2006, the City of Eden Prairie kicked off what is known as the 20-40-15 initiative, which called for our City to improve energy efficiency in all of its facilities by 20 percent, increase the fuel efficiency of our vehicle fleet by 40 percent, and accomplish these goals by the end of the year 2015.

Now it is 2016, and it’s time to evaluate how we did. I am here to report ….. (insert drum roll) ….. that we made it! We achieved both of our goals in the 10-year time frame.

  1. Facilities — The goal was to improve the energy efficiency in all of our facilities by 20 percent and we were able to achieve a 21.8-percent increase in efficiency by year-end 2015. This is equivalent to $267,500 in annual energy savings.
  2. Vehicle Fleet — The goal was to increase the fuel efficiency of our entire citywide vehicle fleet by 40 percent by the end of 2015 and we were able to increase fuel efficiency by 44.4 percent. In achieving this goal, we were able to increase the miles per gallon in our entire City fleet from 7.93 to 11.45. If you multiplied the gallons of fuel saved and applied that to a $2.50 per gallon fuel cost, the savings over the 10 years would be $761,145.

The City Council celebrated this 20-40-15 achievement at their Feb. 16 meeting. The presentation below, given by the two people most responsible for this accomplishment Fleet Services Manager Paul Schleuter and Facilities Manager Paul Sticha provides more detail on the specific projects and initiatives that made 20-40-15 a success.

2015 Eden Prairie Housing Market

The City Council and City staff frequently receive updates from the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® (MAAR) regarding housing sales and activity in our City. Yesterday, I received a 2015 “year in review” email from MAAR. Their summation of the past year was that housing demand was at a 10-year high while listing activity reached a 5-year high. Much of this was attributed to low interest rates and an improving labor market.

Home 3Below are some year-end housing market analytics that we received:

  • New Listings in Eden Prairie decreased 2.0 percent to 50.
  • Pending Sales were up 17.2 percent to 68.
  • Closed Sales increased 10.1 percent to 76.
  • Days on Market was up 2.9 percent to 105 days.
  • The Median Sales Price decreased 8.1 percent to $290,950.
  • Inventory levels grew 3.8 percent to 270 homes.
  • Percent of List Price Received at Sale increased 0.1 percent to 97.3 percent.
  • Month’s Supply of Inventory was down 3.3 percent to 2.9 months.
  • Distressed sales made up 5.3 percent of all Closed Sales.
  • Single-Family homes made up 62.0 percent of all Closed Sales.
  • New construction properties made up 6.6 percent of all Closed Sales.

Keep in mind that these statistics are kept by the real estate industry and are not the same as some of our City statistics on housing valuations. For example, of all the homes that were sold in 2015, the median sale price was $290,950 as indicated above. However, the overall median valued home for 2015 in Eden Prairie is $360,300. That is an increase from $343,800 in 2014. These latter values correspond to all single-family residential homes in our City — they are not solely for the homes that sold in 2015.

Looking ahead, MAAR believes there are reasons to be optimistic in 2016. They say that job and wage growth are both accelerating and that the Twin Cities area continues to have one of the lowest unemployment rates of any major metropolitan area. They also state that the election cycle, the pace of interest rate hikes, inventory improvements, new construction activity and the financial health of the consumer will be key indicators to watch this year.

It will indeed be interesting to watch how the housing market unfolds in 2016.

Try EP Bill Pay

EP Bill Pay logoWe have offered online bill payment to our water and sewer customers for years. We have seen 25 percent of our utility customers enjoying the convenience of no check writing, no trips to the mailbox, and no paper statements to file. They’ve had 24/7 access to their accounts, with the ability to schedule payments or have them automatically paid from their credit card or bank accounts.

We just recently introduced a new and improved system to make it even easier to pay water and sewer bills online. Formerly called eUtility Billing, EP Bill Pay has an improved user interface and additional payment options. If you haven’t signed up in the past, now may be the time to try it.

It only takes a few minutes to set up your account in EP Bill Pay. Just have your statement nearby so you know your account number and customer number. You then can:

  • Make one-time payments with no registration
  • Use an intuitive interface for mobile payments
  • Pay by phone or text
  • Receive utility bills, confirmation of payments, reminders and receipts via email; and
  • Avoid late payment

water faucetEven with these benefits, some utility customers are hesitant to pay bills online. Some may worry about automatically paying their utility bills, which can change from quarter to quarter, from their credit card or checking accounts. If that’s stopping you from using EP Bill Pay, then don’t make it automatic. Simply log on, enter an amount and pay the bill on its due date.

Some may worry about the security of their personal or financial data. The City partners with Invoice Cloud, which safely stores your financial information using Payment Card Industry (PCI)-compliant systems. No one can access your complete financial information because all check routing and credit card numbers are abbreviated. As an added security precaution, we don’t even show your full financial information to you!

If you’re already paying your utility bill online, thank you for doing your part to help the environment. If not, consider switching to EP Bill Pay today.

You can find more information about EP Bill Pay on our website.