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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. 

Sep 28

September 25, 2020

Posted on September 28, 2020 at 12:49 PM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: September 25th, 2020

Meetings and Announcements:  

The next City Council meeting will be held Monday, September 28th.  We will hold a workshop meeting beginning at 5:30 pm to conduct interviews for openings on the following commissions: Planning Commission, HEDC, HPC and ENR. We have strong interest with 14 applications for your consideration. We will suspend Commission interviews at 6:30 to hold an EDA meeting for the continuation of the public hearing for the business subsidy for HyVee and the TIF Agreement for Maple Ridge Shopping Center. At the 7 pm City Council meeting we will resume Commission Interviews under Presentations and Appointments. In addition, we will be sending the interview questions out in advance because of the zoom format and to help keep interviews moving along.

The Rice & Larpenteur Alliance is proudly presenting a safe community event on Saturday, September 26 from 3 to 7 p.m., called the Rice & LarpenTOUR! Pick up a free event guide at the event hub in the MyThrift Store Parking Lot (SW Corner of the intersection) and enjoy giveaways, music, public art, etc. before heading to local businesses, parks, and establishments around the area

October 1st will be a 1-3pm Drive By Celebration for Maplewood Care Center with a 3:30pm Red Ribbon Cutting.  Mayor Marylee Abrams will attend this event hosted by White Bear Chamber.

 

Updates from Staff and Council: 

ADMINISTRATION

HyVee update:

Please note in the HyVee staff report in your packet that there has been a change in the TIF application. The representatives from HyVee and Slate, the TIF applicant, have insisted that they are not happy about having a job requirement in the Agreement. According to HyVee they have never had that as a requirement in other city deals and do not want to set a precedent with our agreement. You will likely remember at the first meeting where the representative from HyVee stated the store would create 100 Full time jobs. We have verified with other metro stores that the job numbers typically are 115 FT jobs and 255 PT jobs. We feel confident that the Maplewood store will create this approximate number of jobs although this store will be smaller. HyVee and Slate have agreed to the number of 60 FTE’s. We have checked with a couple of cities, one did not do a TIF agreement (Oakdale) and Robbinsdale did a TIF agreement on the HyVee project but it did not contain a job’s requirement. The project did get some assistance from DEED and that had a job requirement and in that case the numbers were met in the first year. It is staff’s recommendation that we except this revision. Staff also agrees with the remainder of the agreement. Please call if you have questions or would like to discuss before the meeting on Monday.

 

Metro Cities –Policy Committees Update:

The Association of Metropolitan Cities (Metro Cities) has wrapped up its 2020-2021 Legislative Policies for the year. Maplewood staff sat on the Municipal Revenues and Metropolitan Agencies committees.

The policy committees annually develop policy recommendations based on input from member city representatives and advocates for changes to state law(s) to benefit cities in the region. You can learn more here: https://www.metrocitiesmn.org/policy-committees

One significant change this year was a new policy on Race Equity:

NEW POLICY: RACE EQUITY (forwarded to General Government Committee)

In the seven-county metropolitan region, people of color represent 29% of the population, and this percentage is expected to grow to 40% by 2040, according to the current population forecast from the Metropolitan Council. As racial and ethnic diversity increases in the region, people of color continue to experience significant barriers in housing, employment, criminal justice, public infrastructure, health, and education, and disparities are becoming more apparent with the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest that is occurring in many communities.

 

Across the metropolitan region, many cities are working to examine local policies and systems, to revise the delivery of public services, and to allocate resources to help advance race equity. All levels of government as well as the nonprofit and business sectors have roles to play in addressing race inequities and must work collaboratively to ensure that services and resources are considered, designed and implemented in a comprehensive, purposeful, informed and inclusive way to achieve race equity.

 

Metro Cities supports:

• An examination and revision of existing state, regional, county and city laws, ordinances and policies to address racial disparities;

• State, regional, county and city resources to assist with comprehensive data collection, disaggregation and sharing to ensure informed policy and funding decisions at all levels of government;

• Funding to assist in the development of tools and resources that advance racially equitable outcomes;

• Activating partnerships among state, regional, and local governmental institutions and other entities to advance race equity.

 

This new policy helps inform the Maplewood Organization Race Equity (MORE) team’s work and gives us more access to resources, including access to the League of Minnesota Cities https://www.lmc.org/about/race-equity-statement/ data and information. This effort is aligned with the City Council Strategic Plan for Community Inclusiveness.

 

Nature Center and Parks and Recreation Task Forces

The Parks and Recreation Task Force met on Tuesday, September 22nd.

Residents and representatives from the Athletic Associations from around the East Metro reviewed their charge as well as some budget history/background. Audra Robbins and Neil Brenneman are going to provide a history of Recreation programs at their next meeting.

The group followed a similar agenda to the Nature Center Task Force. Thanks to Council Members Juenemann and Knutson for their participation.

 

There is a webpage set up for those interested in learning more, including agendas, handouts, and video recordings of the Zoom calls.

 

https://maplewoodmn.gov/2038/Nature-Center-Task-Force

https://maplewoodmn.gov/2039/Park-and-Recreation-Task-Force

 

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Neighborhood Code Enforcement

As a follow-up to the council discussion at the last meeting, the city’s code enforcement staff have reviewed and inspected multiple properties in the Carver Avenue neighborhood. All properties with complaints have been inspected in the past two weeks. Attached is a full report of the properties, inspections, and violations. The next step is city staff will send compliance orders to all property owners with a date required for addressing and removing code violations.

 

Fall Clean Up Campaign

Use of the curbside bulky item collection offered through the City’s trash system has increased.  There is a pent up demand for this service because people are home cleaning out their garages and basements during the shut downs, and the City’s Spring Clean Up was cancelled.  Residents can contact Republic Services at 651-455-8634 to schedule curbside bulky item collection at a reduced cost during the month of October. Under the new contract with Republic Services there is a 20 percent reduction in the bulky item collection costs during the Fall Clean Up Campaign with items reduced in cost from $8 to $28.  Other opportunities to reduce/reuse/recycle will be outlined in the Fall edition of Seasons, which will be published in October.

 

For the first time this year the City will also be offering a free shredding event on Saturday, October 10 from 9 to noon at the 1902 Building.  Residents can shred confidential paper documents (up to six boxes weighing no more than 30 pounds each).  ShrednGo will have their shredding truck on site.  A 95 gallon cart will be placed in front of the truck.  Residents are asked to unload their items into the cart.  There will be staff available for residents who have physical challenges unloading the boxes.  When the cart is full, the ShrednGo driver pulls the cart to the truck, tips it, where the materials are shredded in the truck on site.  Staff has received several calls from residents inquiring if they can physically see the items getting shredded.  For residents with those concerns we would ask them to pull their car to the side once they dispose of their materials and watch for the cart with their materials to be shredded.

 

NEWS FROM PARTNERS AND LOCAL NEWS SOURCES

https://www.twincities.com/2020/09/21/family-seeks-justice-for-26-year-old-killed-by-hit-run-driver-in-maplewood-offers-25k-reward/  Reference:  Sgt. Joe Steiner

 

https://www.twincities.com/2020/09/22/investigators-call-on-driver-in-fatal-maplewood-hit-and-run-to-come-forward/  Updated  Reference:  Sgt. Joe Steiner

https://www.startribune.com/maplewood-hit-run-victim-s-family-offers-reward-for-information/572498831/  Star Trib Article

 

https://www.twincities.com/2020/09/24/with-new-shops-street-improvements-in-mind-saturdays-rice-and-larpentour-showcases-three-cities/   -  Rice & LarpenTOUR

 

https://www.twincities.com/2020/09/24/maplewood-area-historical-society-will-host-open-house/    - Bruentrup Farm open house

 

These are the reports for this week.  As always, please call if I can address any questions or concerns. Enjoy this first weekend of the fall season. Thank you.

Melinda

Sep 04

September 4, 2020

Posted on September 4, 2020 at 4:01 PM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: September 4th, 2020

 

Meetings and Announcements:  

The next City Council meeting will be held next Monday, September 14th.  We will have an EDA Meeting prior to the City Council meeting. The EDA meeting will begin at 6:00 pm. At the Council Meeting we will be holding a public hearing for the business subsidy for HyVee and the TIF Agreement for Maple Ridge Shopping Center. We will also be approving the 2021 Preliminary Levy.

We will have a closed session at our Council Meeting on September 14th to hear from our League appointed Attorney, Paul Reuvers, to discuss the upcoming Myth Mediation. That will be scheduled for the end of Council meeting.  Other Council items include:

  • Development agreement for Maple Ridge access improvements
  • Appeal of CDRB decision for HyVee
  • PUD Ordinance Amendment
  • Development application for new hotel on the last parcel in Legacy Village
  • CUP for dog day care at Plaza 3000 north annex
  • CUP and home occupation license for 2510 Carver

At the City Council meeting on September 28th will hold a workshop prior to the Council meeting to conduct interviews for opening on the following commissions: Planning Commission, HEDC, HPC and ENR. We have strong interest and several applications for your consideration.

Here are the updates from various departments below.


Updates from Staff and Council:

 

ADMINISTRATION

Back Pack Drive and Mall Donation –

In a collaboration among the City, our Public Safety Department, and the YMCA, we have successfully collected donations of $2867. to fill  over 100 backpacks for Maplewood Area students. We’d like to thank Big Brothers Big Sisters who donated about 30 filled packs and the Maplewood Mall who donated $500 in gift cards and extra backpacks. We handed out the packs Thursday, Friday and will continue handing them out at our social distanced, small scale, Pop Up Freeze Pop events. This is grand example of our wonderful partnerships and what an impact we can make in our community.

 

Public Safety Department Finalist in St. Paul Area Chamber’s Local Government Awards

Since 2017, the Maplewood Police Department had been emphasizing community outreach, racial equity, and diversity in hiring.  This coincides with the City of Maplewood’s overall strategic priority of “Community Inclusiveness,” which has led to systematically changing hiring, training and promotion of all staff, with an emphasis on Public Safety. Among other metrics, the department has achieved a 125% increase in hiring non-traditional police officers (women, people of color) and has increased police-community outreach from a few dozen hours annually to more than 2000. This emphasis has built accountability, trust and transparency and benefits the department and the entire Maplewood community.

The awards will be announced Thursday, September 17 at a virtual conference.

 

Wellness updates

The City of Maplewood’s Wellness Committee strives to promote a culture of health and well-being that encourages and supports employees and their families. This year, we are offering two Flu Shot Clinics for employees and their spouses and dependents onsite. We typically offer one Flu Clinic each fall, but with the added risk of COVID-19 and flu season, the committee and staff have decided to offer additional opportunities for employees to have convenient access to get vaccinated and stay healthy. We will offer the first clinic on September 24th 1-4pm and the second clinic October 21st 7-10am.

 

LMC Legislative Summaries

The League of Minnesota Cities has published its 2020 Legislative Summary. This year’s new laws deal with a range of city issues related to the Open Meeting Law, liquor laws, elections, health, pensions, and more. There are also several laws related to COVID-19 response, including workers’ compensation claims, small business assistance, and more. You can view here: https://www.lmc.org/advocacy/law-summaries/current-law-summaries/

 

MnDOT Releases New Trunk Highway Bridge Guidance

MnDOT has recently released guidance and put into effect a Process to Determine Bridge Ownership & Bridge Ownership Responsibilities to determine the ownership and financial responsibilities of new and rebuilt bridges over Trunk Highways. The guidance applies to new and replacement bridges that carry local roads and infrastructure over a trunk highway and does not provide access to the trunk highway. This can include streets, pathways and transit infrastructure.

In most cases MnDOT will own and bear responsibility for all bridges that carry facilities over Trunk Highways, except for bridges where responsibilities are shared as directed by this new process. For bridges that are determined to be used by only local interests, MnDOT will be listed as the owner but financial responsibilities are likely to be partially or fully the responsibility of the local government. MnDOT and the local government, including cities, must agree on responsibilities before they would go into effect.

To view the Process to Determine Bridge Ownership & Bridge Ownership Responsibilities document, click here. Metro Cities’ Transportation and General Government Policy Committee has had discussion on this issue and will hear from representatives of MnDOT about the new process at its September meeting.

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

Nuisance Calls for Service Update

In Late 2018 the Maplewood City Council passed an ordinance that sought to address repeat nuisance calls for service in the city, and the Maplewood Police Department began enforcing this ordinance in January of 2019.  At the Direction of the Public Safety Director, the Police Department recently did a comprehensive evaluative study of the ordinance and how it has impacted the Maplewood community.  We want to acknowledge the work of Lt. Kerry Helle who was in charge of this study.  If there are any questions after reviewing the attached please contact Public Safety Director Nadeau.

 

National Night Out

From Director Nadeau. After thoughtful consideration and in doing research on how to safely conduct National Night Out (NNO) during COVID-19 recommendations and restrictions, the Public Safety Department has decided to cancel the 2020 NNO for Maplewood.  We know that this will be a disappointment for many of our staff and residents, but it does not appear that there was a way to control certain aspects of neighborhood gatherings and we want to ensure that we are doing our part in stopping the spread of the pandemic.  Public Safety staff continues to look at how we can have some smaller and COVID-19 friendly events and look forward to resuming this important event next year.  We will be announcing this decision to the public via our social media channels in the near future.

 

These are the reports for this week.  As always, please call if I can address any questions or concerns. I hope that you have a great long weekend. Thank you.

Sep 01

August 28, 2020

Posted on September 1, 2020 at 1:54 PM by Chad Bergo

 COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: August 28th, 2020

 

Meetings and Announcements:  

 

The next City Council meeting will be held next Monday, September 14th.  We will have an EDA Meeting prior to the City Council meeting. The EDA meeting will begin at 6:00 pm. We will be holding a public hearing for the business subsidy for HyVee and the TIF Agreement for Maple Ridge Shopping Center.

 

We will have a closed session at our Council Meeting on September 14th to hear from our League appointed Attorney, Paul Reuvers, to discuss the upcoming Myth Mediation. That will likely be scheduled for the end of Council meeting.  Other Council items include:

 

·      Development agreement for Maple Ridge access improvements

·      Appeal of CDRB decision for HyVee

·      PUD Ordinance Amendment

·      Development application for new hotel on the last parcel in Legacy Village

·      CUP for dog day care at Plaza 3000 north annex

·      CUP and home occupation license for 2510 Carver

 

Here are the updates from various departments below.

 

Updates from Staff and Council:

 

FINANCE

FEMA and CARES Grants

The Finance Department has been working with Fire Chief Steve Lukin to submit all eligible Covid-19 expenditures to FEMA for reimbursement.  To date, we have submitted $104,856.49 in eligible expenditures.  We expect to receive reimbursement for 75% of that amount, or $78,642.37.  The CARES grant will cover the remaining $26,214.12.  We expect to be making another FEMA request shortly for nearly the same amount.  These grants will cover supplies, equipment, personal protective equipment and technology necessary to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic emergency.  These grants will also cover the change order for the County Road B project, since the expenditures were related to COVID response.

 

The Finance Department has processed liquor license refunds in the amount of $29,705.65 from the City’s CARES allocation.  The City Manager and Finance Director are working with the City Attorney to draft up the necessary agreements for the EDA to issue the $800,000 business subsidy grants to the YMCA.  We expect to process these payments at the next EDA meeting.  No agreement is necessary for the residual allocation of $86,000 to St. John’s hospital.  That payment will be disbursed before the November 15th deadline.  The remainder of the  $3,067,102 CARES grant will be allocated to the General Fund to cover wages and benefits for employees whose duties were substantially redirected to COVID response.

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

HyVee CDRB Appeal

The CDRB reviewed plans for HyVee’s proposed grocery store façade improvements and the revised east elevation of what will be the new HyVee convenience store. As part of the CDRB’s review, the board recommended HyVee be required to add additional architectural elements to the front and south elevations of the grocery store building as well as adding more brick to the east elevation of the convenience store building. Below are the designs of what HyVee proposed for the facades in question. Applicants have 15 days after a CDRB review to appeal any decision to the city council. HyVee is electing to appeal the CDRB’s recommendations and this item will be before the city council on September 14 for a final decision.

 

PUBLIC WORKS

Future MnDot Projects

A MnDot representative met with city staff to discuss two upcoming projects that will be partially within Maplewood’ boundaries.  MnDot is entering into the design phase along with initiating community outreach.

The first project is located on Hwy 5/Stillwater Blvd between McKnight Road and Century Avenue.  The project will include the repaving Stillwater Boulevard and will also include extensive repairs to the trail along Stillwater to make it ADA compliant.  The project is anticipated to be constructed in 2023.

The second project is located on Highway 61 south of Roselawn Avenue.  MnDot is in the process of studying a portion of the project for the possible conversion of parts of the road from a four to three lane road.  No lane configuration changes are proposed for the portion that lies within Maplewood.  The project is anticipated to be constructed in 2024.

Attached is a one page flyer about the two projects that includes a project summary, map, and link to a MnDot survey.  Maplewood’s Communication Department is coordinating with MnDot to help promote the public survey about the project.

 

PARK AND RECREATION

Bluebird House Eagle Scout Project

Aspiring Eagle Scout Sebastian Chounlamontry completed the building and install of 7 bluebird houses at 3 neighborhood preserves: Gladstone, Fish Creek and Maplewood Nature Center.

Naturalist Carole Gernes worked with Sebastian initially on the project and Sebastian and his team provided nesting sites to help increase the populations of the Eastern bluebird.  Bluebirds prefer open grassland habitat and will nest in cavities such as old fencepost holes, and dead snags near these open areas.

 

 

These are the reports for this week.  As always, please call if I can address any questions or concerns. I hope that you have a great weekend. Thank you.