Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Often it is the little discoveries that restore my hope such as my telephone call today to the City of Lilydale City Council in Minnesota.

Since I often travel to our state capitol in St. Paul I travel through the City of Lilydale (population 552) I am always intrigued by this little oasis of small government. Lilydale is a Minneapolis/St. Paul suburb situated on the banks of the Mississippi River. Not only does Lilydale have a yacht club it also has only ONE city employee whom I talked with today.

Lilydale is led by the self-described "fiscal conservative" Mayor Tom Swain who entered office facing a city budget deficit which they erased via creative government service outsourcing/contract negotiations along with the sale of some city property to raise the cash needed -- not via tax increases!!

Sometimes I wonder why I overlooked moving to Lilydale when I returned to Minnesota from Europe especially since I have a better understanding of how they manage their city government. Yes there are some well run big cities in the USA today -- Chicago and New York City come to mind (as do Minneapolis and St. Paul as examples of poorly run cities) but there is something to be said for decentralization of power via small suburban communities. It would be a sad day to see Lilydale annexed into a neighboring larger city so I hope they can keep their success going.

Size does matter,


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