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City Manager Blog

Each week I send out an FYI Update to City Council and staff on the latest happenings within the City of Maplewood.  I would like to share this information with the residents of Maplewood, as well. 

Follow my blog if you would like to be kept up to date on the behind the scenes happenings within the City. 

Aug 02

July 30, 2021

Posted on August 2, 2021 at 7:46 AM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: July 30th, 2021 

Meetings and Announcements:   

• The next City Council meeting will be held on Monday, August 9th with start time of 7 pm. We will have a workshop to discuss the Preliminary 2022 Budget. The workshop will begin at 6 pm. 

• National Night out is Tuesday, August 3rd.

• This is a reminder about the upcoming ground breaking ceremony for the new North Maplewood Fire Station. The program will begin at 3 pm on August 4th

• Please note that the date for the City Council staff retreat has been set for Thursday, October 7th, 8:30 to 4:30. Location will be Wakefield or MCC. 

Updates from Staff and Council:


ADMINISTRATION & COMMUNICATIONS

Web traffic at a glance:

Here are the top five landing pages visitors went directly to from a link, URL or Google search.

  1. Maplewood, MN |https://maplewoodmn.gov 1160 (14.6 %)
  1. DMV - Driver's License - DNR https://maplewoodmn.gov/90/DMV---Drivers-License---DNR 891 (11.2 %)
  1. Lawns https://maplewoodmn.gov/1081/Lawns168 (2.1 %)
  1. Passports https://maplewoodmn.gov/197/Passports 135 (1.7 %)
  1. Police https://maplewoodmn.gov/460/Police 114 (1.4 %)

Flying the Drone

Kudos to Kevin Schmitz who proactively updated his FAA Drone license currency training eight (8) months in advance to take advantage of several new FAA regulations, which now include being able to fly at night and flying over gatherings without applying for a waiver. This will allow the Communications Department to be more flexible in where and when the City drone is flown.

National Night Out

So far there are 52 block parties registered. You can also search this interactive map to find a gathering near you: https://maplewoodmn.gov/NNO


COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Rice Street Business Survey
Ramsey County and the Rice Larpenteur Alliance have sent out a survey to businesses along Rice Street corridor. Ramsey County is planning to reconstruct Rice Street in 2025 from Wheelock Parkway to County Rd B. The project will reconstruct the existing 3-lane roadway and add bicycle, pedestrian facilities and transit improvements. As part of this effort, the County is applying for a grant through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to offset some of the roadway project costs. The survey information will be used to understand job retention and creation goals that could be achieved through the Rice Street project. The survey is available at https://www.ramseycounty.us/residents/roads-transportation/future-road-projects/rice-street-revitalization-project-business-survey

North End Zoning District  
City staff, city-consultant HKGi and the Planning Commission have been working for the past year on the creation of the North End (NE) Zoning District to guide future development and redevelopment in the area around the Maplewood Mall and St. John’s Hospital. This area was identified in the 2040 Comprehensive Plan as an opportunity site where a mix of uses and pedestrian-oriented development would support and benefit from the availability of transit, including the future Rush Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). In 2019 the City adopted the North End Vision Plan. This plan set the parameters and design principles for the area, including exploring the potential for future phasing and full redevelopment. The North End Zoning District Project has taken the guidance of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan and the North End Vision

Plan and established a new zoning district to achieve the community’s vision. Below are links to a handout further explaining this project as well as the draft zoning ordinance and Design Guidelines that would be used to promote the district to developers. 

Key takeaways from North End Ordinance 

  • All parcels within the North End study district will be rezoned to NE. 
  • Existing buildings and parking areas may be expanded as long as they do not interfere with the future street network. 
  • New buildings and redevelopment will be required to meet the new standards.
  • District includes reduced off-street parking minimums as compared to the city’s current requirements

 

Upcoming Meetings
Staff sent notices to more than 400 properties in and near the North End area notifying properties of the proposed ordinance and inviting them to two meetings in August. Staff will also be meeting individually with key property owners in the North End. After the outreach meetings, staff will bring this project to the Planning Commission and City Council for further review.

  • Virtual Zoom Meeting - August 10 at 4 p.m.

Click Here to Join Meeting - Zoom Meeting (Meeting Id: 817 1493 4610; Passcode 311080)

  • In-Person Meeting - August 25 from 7:30 to 9 a.m.

Maplewood Mall – Entrance 4 (near Lower Level Macy’s)

  • City Council Workshop – September
  • Planning Commission Public Hearing (tentative) – October 19, 2021
  • City Council Adoption (tentative) – November 

 

LOCAL NEWS AND OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 https://www.fox9.com/news/maplewood-disability-advocate-brings-diversity-to-local-government Reference: Council Nikki Villavicencio

Jul 23

July 22, 2021

Posted on July 23, 2021 at 8:03 AM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: July 22nd, 2021

 

Meetings and Announcements:   

 

• The next City Council meeting will be held on Monday, July 26th, with start time of 7 pm. A joint workshop of the EDA and HEDC will be held to discuss the American Reinvestment Plan Act (ARPA) monies and how those could potentially be used to implement the economic development and housing strategies that were developed in early 2020. The workshop will begin at 5:30 and we will have box dinners from Panera.

 

• August 9th Council Manager workshop @ 6pm-First Review of 2022 Budget

 

• Please note that the date for the City Council staff retreat has been set for Thursday, October 7th, 8:30 to 4:30. Location will be Wakefield or MCC. Additional details to come at a later date.

  

Updates from Staff and Council: 

ADMINISTRATION & COMMUNICATIONS

Station 3 gone in three hours.

After standing at the corner of County Road C and Hazelwood 45 years, the North Fire Station (previously known as station 7 and most recently Station 3), came down in less than three hours

(See video of the demolition: https://www.facebook.com/MaplewoodMNPS). Over the next few days, crews will continue clearing the ground to make way for a new station that better meets our community’s Fire/EMS needs. The new station will be equipped to support firefighter safety, wellness, administrative, operational, living and apparatus needs.    

 

Please join us  August 4th at 3pm, 1530 County Road C. East, for ground breaking on the new station.  

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PARKS AND RECREATION

Playground Fire at Maplecrest Park

We had another playground fire on Saturday night, this time at Maplecrest Park. Luckily, a passerby and a neighbor that lives across from the park took quick action to put out the fire and the damage was limited to the large tube slide. Police and Fire were also on the scene and determined that two juveniles were responsible for starting the fire. The estimated cost of the damage is $1,300 and replacement parts have been ordered. Due to shipping delays, the parts won’t arrive until October at the earliest so park maintenance staff have removed the slide and capped off the entrance until they are able to repair it.

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PUBLIC WORKS

Southcrest-Ferndale Area Pavement Rehabilitation (City Project 20-02) Update

The Southcrest-Ferndale Area Pavement Rehabilitation project is progressing well.  The contractor divided the project streets into two phases.   Phase 1 included all the streets lying south of Highwood Avenue (shown in red) and Phase 2 included all the streets lying north of Highwood Avenue (shown in green).

 

Last week the contractor finished all the utility work for both phases of the project.  The first layer of pavement has been place on all Phase 1 streets.  This week the contractor is working on replacing all the damaged sections of the existing concrete curb.  Once the concrete has had time to cure, the contractor will begin the process of reclaiming the existing pavement and prepping the road for the new pavement.

  

 

MnDot – Highway 61 Micro Seal Project

MnDot is planning an upcoming micro-surface in Maplewood this summer.  The project is located on Highway 61 between Frost Avenue and White Bear Lake.  The project will likely start in early August and end around mid-September.  They are aiming to have the most impactful work completed by Labor Day.  The project will include mostly night work with some day-work during non-peak traffic periods.  There will be lane closures and flagging as part of this project.

 

 

PUBLIC SAFETY- FIRE/EMS

New SRO appointment

After an internal S.R.O. process which included panel members from command staff, supervisory staff, and school officials, I would like you all to join me in Congratulating   Officer Burt-McGregor for being selected as the department’s new school resource officer.    We look forward to her contributions in her new position and continuing our strong relationship with the Maplewood-Oakdale-North St. Paul school district and our students.  I also want to thank Emily for her work as the community outreach coordinator.   We were fortunate to have a strong group of Officers interested in the S.R.O. position, and they all did a great job and scored highly in the process, which says a lot about our agency.  A big thank you to Officer Lonn Bakke, who has been our S.R.O. for many years and has raised the bar for SRO’s in the schools making positive contacts with our youth.

Emily’s position as the community outreach coordinator will be posted this week.  If you have any questions about the outreach coordinator position, please reach out to either Officer Burt-McGregor or Lt. Busack.

 

Local news and other announcements

https://www.startribune.com/audubon-society-urges-ramsey-county-to-save-grassland-eyed-for-development/600079014/  Reference:   Mayor Marylee Abrams

 

https://www.presspubs.com/white_bear/news/rush-line-taking-on-purple-hue/article_92ffc236-ea60-11eb-b32b-77b6092db70f.html  Reference:   Mayor Marylee Abrams

 

 

That’s the news for this week. Please call or email if you have any concerns or questions. I will be on vacation Friday to attend a wedding in Texas. I will be back on Monday.

 

Melinda

Jul 19

July 16, 2021

Posted on July 19, 2021 at 10:05 AM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: July 16th, 2021

Meetings and Announcements:    

• The next City Council meeting will be held on Monday, July 26th, with start time of 7 pm. 

 A joint workshop of the EDA and HEDC will be held to discuss the American Reinvestment Plan Act (ARPA) monies and how those could potentially be used to implement the economic development and housing strategies that were developed in early 2020. The workshop will begin at 5:30 and we will have box dinners from Panera. Lois Knutson will be contacting you for your food order sometime next week.

• August 9th Council Manager workshop @ 6pm-First Review of 2022 Budget

Updates from Staff and Council:

ADMINISTRATION & COMMUNICATIONS

School District 622 is cited in this article about School funding.

Here are the Key Takeaways

The per-pupil funding formula will go up by 2.45% next year and 2% for the following school year, the largest increase in a decade and a half.

For the many public schools that faced a drop in enrollment and a surge in expenses during the pandemic, those increases were good news. But by the time the Legislature worked out the details, districts had already finalized their budgets for the 2021-22 school year, with many sending out layoff notices and telling families about program cuts and other reductions.

Now, less than two months before classes resume, school leaders are recalibrating for their new budget reality, figuring out where they can adjust — and where it's too late to avoid cuts

Christine Tucci Osorio, superintendent of the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale school district, said her district took a $5 million hit in funding because of the lunch-paperwork problem. Plus, enrollment dropped by about 3%. With about $10,000 in state aid tied to each student, that added up to about $3 million in additional losses.

The district was able to patch some budget holes with the federal relief money that's come in several waves this year. And it dipped into its reserve fund to avoid layoffs, with the hope that more money would come from the state. Tucci Osorio said the district looks to have avoided a crisis for now, though plenty of unknowns remain.

"This year has just been uncharted waters," she said. In districts with fewer low-income families, there are different calculations.

Notice from St. Paul Regional Water Services

As ongoing drought conditions continue, the Mississippi River volume is approaching levels that may require SPRWS to implement demand reduction actions. We estimate this will occur July 20th or July 21st. If/when this occurs, we will begin a communications campaign to outline conservation tips and any necessary actions for those in our service area. The most commonly used and most likely first action will be a request for voluntary odd/even sprinkling.  It is very possible that this will help us reach the demand reduction levels required by the DNR.

If the voluntary approach is unsuccessful in reaching our demand reduction levels and the dry conditions continue, this may evolve into mandatory odd/even sprinkling or even a complete ban on sprinkling and other non-essential uses. The Board of Water Commissioners was notified at their July meeting that a special meeting may be required in the near future to further discuss the issue and authorize SPRWS staff to move forward with any mandatory bans.

Our intent is to share marketing materials to allow you to help spread the word using your communication channels.

A few items worth noting for your understanding:

SPRWS is not having any issues with water supply or demands and is well positioned to continue supplying water to our customers.

Although restricted from using our ground water system, it may be available for use if the situation with the Mississippi river reaches “emergency” levels.

1.2 billion gallons of water flowed past our intake in Fridley yesterday.

We are pumping around 55 million gallons per day the past few weeks.

For those downstream, an estimated 35 million gallons per day of the water we use in the SPRWS service area is returned to the Mississippi River as part of the wastewater treatment system.

 

This email is intended to serve simply as an awareness notification at this point. Additional information will be forth coming as we know more and/or conditions change.

 

FINANCE

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding

Within the next two weeks, Maplewood will receive approximately $2.15M or 50% of the city’s share of ARPA funds, from the federal government.  The federal government will release the second installment one year from the date of the release of the first installment.  The broad categories of eligible uses of the grant include:

  • Responding to the Public Health Emergency and its Negative Economic Impacts
  • Revenue Loss
  • Premium Pay for Essential Workers
  • Water, Sewer and Broadband Infrastructure

The entire amount of the first allocation is eligible for spend down utilizing the revenue replacement (loss) component of the federal grant.  The City is eligible for approximately $2.4M in revenue replacement funds for the fiscal year 2020.  This means that the City received $2.4M less in total eligible revenues in fiscal year 2020 than the estimated “counterfactual” revenue allowed by the federal guidelines.  Counterfactual revenue is determined by multiplying total eligible revenues of the base year (2019) by an inflation factor of 4.1%.  This results in an estimated $2.4M in revenue replacement for fiscal year 2020.  If grant funds remain after spend down on other eligible uses, the City will complete this calculation again in fiscal years 2021-2024.

The revenue replacement component of the ARPA grant provides the most flexibility for the City Council to make spending decisions.  Revenue replacement funds are eligible for use on any governmental purpose, with the exception of debt service payments, replenishment of reserves, or the payment of court judgements.   

City staff has identified several areas of need, including items listed below under the qualifying section of the grant:

  • Responding to the Public Health Emergency and its Negative Economic Impacts:
  • Business assistance to the Maplewood Mall through a $40K matching grant for security cameras.
  • Nonprofit assistance to the YMCA for the year 2021.
  •  Reimbursement to the City for resources expended responding to Covid-19 and the negative economic impacts.
  • Funding through 2024 for an additional embedded social worker to provide mental health services.
  • Revenue Replacement (any governmental purpose):
  • Ladder truck $1.2M.
  • New ambulances and cardiac monitors 2021 - 2024 CIP $600K.
  • Cybersecurity measures.
  • Any other governmental purpose.
  • Premium Pay for Essential Workers:
  • Stipend $2,000 or 2% for essential city employees in 2020, approx. $350K.
  • Water, Sewer and Broadband Infrastructure:
  • Fiber installation to North Fire Station.
  • Water, sewer, and storm sewer component of 2021-2024 CIP street projects.

The projects listed above will exceed the amount of available funding.  The Council will hold a workshop in August to discuss priorities.

         

PUBLIC SAFETY- FIRE/EMS

North Fire Station Update:

Contractors have spent the past two weeks clearing trees and preparing the site for construction.  The demolition of the building was slightly delayed, but will begin on Wednesday July 21st.  The building demolition is expected to conclude on Monday July 26th.   We are hoping to have the groundbreaking on August 4th at 3 pm. You will be sent an invitation once the date is secured. 

That’s the news for this week. Please call or email if you have any concerns or questions. I will be out of the office starting at 1 pm today. I am available by cell phone if you need anything.

Enjoy this wonderful weather.

Melinda