2015_MplwdCity_ColemanM_4003rbw_web.jpg

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. 

Feb 22

February 19, 2021

Posted on February 22, 2021 at 2:13 PM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK

Meetings and Announcements:   

• The next City Council meeting will be held virtually on Monday, February 22nd.  

• At the meeting on February 22nd we will have a workshop on the Ponds Project. The consultants, Perkins and Will, will provide an update on the Engagement Process and get input from the City Council. We will have an update on the construction of the new North Fire Station at the Council meeting. 

• There may be a closed legal briefing after the City Council meeting on March 8th

• Here are this week’s updates from various departments:

Updates from Staff and Council:

 ADMINISTRATION

Xcel Energy Update -

Dear Community and Chamber Leaders:

This past week was an “all hands on deck” scenario, as we closely monitored our electric and gas systems during the bitter cold stretch.  Our electric grid in the upper midwest is resilient because we have a diverse and balanced mix of electricity generation.  We are also part of Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), a regional transmission organization.  MISO plays a critical role ensuring that the energy grid is meeting our customers’ needs.  The following web page provides an overview of MISO: About MISO (misoenergy.org)

 

In the spirit of having diverse and increasingly clean energy mix, we are pleased to have reached a significant milestone.  At the end of 2020, Xcel Energy became one of the first energy providers in the United States to reach 10,000 megawatts of wind energy capacity online for our customers. The milestone is powered by the company’s 10 new wind projects in the Upper Midwest, Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico.  While many projects are already completed, all the projects will be online by year’s end, completing the largest multi-state wind investment in the country. As new projects continue to come online in 2021, the company estimates about a third of the energy we provide to customers in the region will come from wind by the end of the year. 

 

Kind Regards,

Jake Sedlacek
Xcel Energy

 

Metro Cities – Legislative Updates:

The city gets updates on the happenings in St. Paul through our membership in Metro Cities. They track bills/issues of importance to cities in the region. Check out their latest updates here: 

 

https://www.metrocitiesmn.org/index.php?option=com_dailyplanetblog&view=entry&year=2021&month=02&day=11&id=139:metro-cities-news-02-12-21

 

COMMUNICATIONS

Thanks for making 2021’s State of Maplewood a success

It was a little different, but we were able to pull off a fun, informative event. The Q and A at the end gave the community a real chance to interact with the mayor and council. Many community members have told us they didn’t realize to what scope the city was working in issues like Economic Development and police community relations. 

 

The link below is on the intranet, but please feel free to share it again with you staff…. They will have to scroll to the 7:03 mark on the bottom time bar.
http://vod.maplewoodmn.gov/CablecastPublicSite/show/948?channel=1

 

 

FINANCE 

Maplewood Wins ClearGov “Govie Award” For Best Performance Dashboards

 

The award promotes high standards in government budgeting, reporting, and transparency between local governments and their communities. 

 

Maplewood is excited to announce that it has received a Govie Award for Best Performance Dashboards from ClearGov, the city's government budgeting software provider. New in 2020, ClearGov launched a series of awards, called Govies, to promote high standards in government budgeting. The Govie Awards aim to recognize ClearGov customers using the company's cloud-native government budgeting solutions to improve budget process efficiency and achieve crystal-clear data transparency for their communities.

 

There are four categories of Govie Awards: 

 

?      Best Transparency Center

?      Best Performance Dashboards

?      Best Project Pages

?      Best Digital Budget Book

 

Maplewood was awarded a Govie in the category of Best Performance Dashboard for its engaging, transparent, informative, and easy-to-navigate department dashboards. By including details about each department's strategic objectives, key performance indicators, and performance measures, the City of Maplewood showed its commitment to transparent communication with its residents. 

 

“The City of Maplewood prides itself on providing exceptional services to its citizens. ClearGov solutions allow each department to share in-depth information with the community, including strategy, performance indicators, and budget. Thank you for recognizing our city with the ClearGov Govie Award for Best Performance Dashboards,” said Maplewood Finance Director, Ellen Paulseth.

 

"ClearGov's primary goal is to help local governments transform their annual budget process and improve transparency through easy-to-use, affordable, cloud-native software. It's always rewarding to see our customers using our solutions to their fullest potential. For putting its citizens first, by increasing transparency and accountability, Maplewood deserves this Govie Award. Congratulations!" said Chris Bullock, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearGov.

 

Visit Maplewood, Minnesota’s award-winning Performance Dashboards here: https://www.cleargov.com/minnesota/ramsey/city/maplewood/dashboards

 

 

PUBLIC WORKS

 2023 MnDOT Project in Maplewood

  

MnDOT is planning a repaving project in 2023.  The project includes work on Highway 5 and Stillwater Road between Highway 61 and Century Avenue (show in orange on map below).  MnDOT’s project team is beginning their public engagement process.  The attached pdf shows the postcard that will be mailed out to property owners about two planed, identical, virtual public open houses for the Minnehaha Avenue/Stillwater Road project.  The meetings are being planned for the following dates:

• March 18, 12:00 – 1:30

• March 23, 5:00 – 6:30

 

MnDot will also be advertising these meetings through social media, digital ads, and newsletter content.

 

PARKS/RECREATION

Maplewood Tree Sale

Maplewood is teaming up with Tree Trust, a local non-profit, so that residents can purchase trees at a discount. With Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) gaining a foothold in Maplewood, we are encouraging and incentivizing tree planting on residential property to retain their aesthetic, environmental, and health benefits.  

While the City replaces diseased or dying boulevard trees, residential property trees make up a considerable portion of our urban forest and hold the greatest potential to maintain our tree canopy.  

To help protect our community’s long-term forest health, Maplewood is subsidizing the cost of trees for residents to plant on their property.  

Sale details:

·                  $40/tree (Normally retail for $120-$140)

·                  7 species, including a pair of fruit trees

·                  In #10 containers; at 4’-6’ tall, will fit in most vehicles

·                  Maplewood residents may order up to 2 trees

 

Order on-line: https://mw-tree-sale.myshopify.com/

March 8 - May 5 (trees may sell out before the deadline so order early for best selection) 

Order via mail: Pick up a form at City Hall or call 651-249-2416 to request a form by mail. Forms must be received by May 5.

Tree pick up:

Saturday, May 15 (9:00am - noon) or Monday, May 17 (5:00-7:00 pm) at the Public Works Building. 

For more details or to order a tree, visit:  www.maplewoodmn.gov/treesale

 

 

Edgerton Community Garden 2021 

Maplewood continues to offer garden plots supporting local growth of healthy, organic food! The City provides water spigots and renters agree to use organic (chemical-free) methods, and abide by COVID-19 protocols.

Plot rental is $25 for the season. Gardeners can choose from 12-foot by 15-foot in-ground, 4-foot by 8-foot raised beds and 3-foot by 5-foot Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible raised beds (reserved for people using canes, walkers, or wheelchairs). The gardening season begins April 30 and ends October 18. 

Registration begins for returning gardeners on Wednesday, March 3 at 8am and on Wednesday, March 17 at 8am for new gardeners. 

Register online: bit.ly/mwgardens2021 or by phone: 651-249-2111.

The $25 fee per plot is due at time of registration

Visit the Edgerton Community Garden webpage for full community garden information including COVID-19 information, gardening tips, usage policies, overall updates and any future program schedule changes! www.maplewoodmn.gov/communitygarden   

 

 

Emerald Ash Borer - Biocontrol Release Request at Joy Park

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Plant Protection Division recently contacted the city requesting permission to release Emerald Ash Borer Biocontrol agents at Joy Park Neighborhood Preserve.  The goal of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) biocontrol is to reduce EAB populations through the use of natural enemies. Biocontrol is the only management option for EAB that can be applied at the forestry level.

 

Three stingless parasitoid wasp species have been released in Minnesota since 2011. Two species attack the larval stage of EAB that tunnel under the ash bark.  The other species kills EAB eggs that have been laid in bark crevices.  These wasps are small like gnats and do not harm humans.

 

The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Forest Service selected and extensively tested these insects to ensure that they would not negatively impact other species or the environment. The first releases were in Michigan in 2007.

 

The closest releases to the City of Maplewood thus far have been in St. Paul, at Battle Creek Regional Park and along Wheelock Parkway. To see a map showing locations of Minnesota EAB Biological Control see https://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/pestmanagement/eab/eabbiocontrol

 

Information obtained from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and USDA Forest Service.

 

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS/PAPERS

There has been a spike in thefts of catalytic converters in cars across the metro. Here are two recent stories in the news: 

https://www.startribune.com/catalytic-converters-are-at-the-center-of-a-twin-cities-crime-wave/600025018/ 

https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2021/02/18/new-law-aims-to-curb-sales-of-stolen-catalytic-converters/

  

These are the reports for this week., please call if I can address any questions or concerns. 

Mike Sable

 

 

Feb 16

February 12, 2021

Posted on February 16, 2021 at 12:54 PM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK

 

Meetings and Announcements:   

At the meeting on February 22nd we will have a workshop on the Ponds Project. The consultants, Perkins and Will, will provide an update on the Engagement Process and get input from the City Council. We will have an update on the construction of the new North Fire Station at the Council meeting. 

Updates from Staff and Council:

 

ADMINISTRATION

 

Sales Tax Exemption Legislation

Mayor Marylee Abrams and Fire Chief Michael Mondor testified at the legislature regarding the sales tax exemption for the North Fire Station. Rep. Peter Fischer is the Chief Author, and Reps Lillie and Xiong are co-authors. You can read the text of HF 181 here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?b=House&f=HF0181&ssn=0&y=2021

 

To view the meeting please visit here: https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/live/2?utm_content=buffer56d93&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer and go the -1:52:00 mark

 

COMMUNICATIONS

 

State of the City annual event

We struggled this year with how to best stage the State of Maplewood. Not being able to meet in person, Mayor Abrams and I felt it was important we still involve our community and staff in an interactive event.

The benefit of gathering virtually is that we can invite as many people as possible, including residents who normally don’t have a chance to come in person and our entire staff.

Through personal conversations and surveys, I realize that some workers don’t feel like they get a chance to meet people and learn more about what’s going on outside their department. This has been made worse in some cases with remote working. I hope by inviting all of you to log on to this event we can:

 

  • Help break down silos between and among departments. 
  • Provide an opportunity to learn about City initiatives and progress. 
  • Help create a better sense of community among staff, residents, and people doing business in Maplewood. 

 

The event will be held on February 18th at 10 am and will last about 45 minutes, it features a live Q and A with the Mayor, and a few fun videos. Please register at http://maplewoodmn.gov/state

 

FINANCE

 

New Harmony Care Center Financing

On February 22, 2021, the Maplewood City Council will consider a resolution calling for a public hearing on providing host approval to the issuance of senior housing and healthcare revenue obligations to finance a project by New Harmony Care Center, Inc.  

The project consists of financing the acquisition, construction, and equipping of a new senior healthcare and housing facility, including approximately 48 skilled nursing beds, 16 transitional skilled nursing beds, 35 independent apartment units, 36 assisted living apartment units, 14 memory care apartment units, and 12 care suite apartment units, to be located at 1534 County Road C East in Maplewood.

The City of Maplewood does not have the capacity in 2021 to provide conduit financing of bank-qualified tax-exempt general obligation debt due to the full annual $10M capacity issued in the 2021A North Fire Station Bonds.  Therefore, the City’s role is limited to providing host approval for the project.  Bank-qualified tax-exempt conduit financing through the cities of Hampton, Landfall Village, Falcon Heights and Little Canada will finance the project.  Maplewood and these four cities will execute a joint powers agreement to facilitate financing plans for the project.  The financing plans will be considered after all five cities hold public hearings.  

The issuance of conduit debt and/or the host approval will not affect the City financially in any way.  Nor will there be any impact to the City’s credit rating.  Statutory authority exists to allow local governments to assist 501(c)3 organizations in this way by allowing the organizations to issue tax-exempt financing through the authority of the City.  The City is not responsible for the debt and does not bear any responsibility for any potential delinquencies or nonpayment of such debt.  The City charges a fee of $2,500 to facilitate host approval of conduit debt.        

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

 

Rice Larpenteur Alliance

The annual community gathering for the Rice Larpenteur Alliance is Wednesday, February 17, 2021. The event is being held virtually via zoom. Please register on Eventbrite if you are interested in attending. The packet for the meeting will include the Annual Report and other important documents, plus a free meal voucher to the newest Rice & Larpenteur and Maplewood restaurant, Asia Fusion Kitchen.

 

 

PUBLIC WORKS

 

Sterling Street Bridge Replacement

 

At the February 22nd City Council meeting the Council will be considering approving plans and specifications and authorize putting the Sterling Street Bridge replacement project out for bid.  Attached is a copy of a recent letter which was sent out to property owners who live along Sterling Street between Carver Avenue and Bailey Road.  Staff contacted the City of Newport to notify them of the pending project as the last 5 properties north of Bailey Road lie within the City of Newport.  Newport Public Works staff are mailing a copy of this letter to these 5 properties.

 

The letter introduces the project and notifies property owner that there will be a Public Hearing at the February 22nd City Council meeting.  Public and semipublic projects, such as streets, utilities and parks, are subject to City Code buffer requirements which prohibits construction and alterations within a stream buffer area.  The wetland ordinance allows the City Council to waive the buffer requirements where there would be a greater public need for the project than to meet the requirements of the ordinance. A Public Hearing is required for declaring such a waiver. 

 

City staff worked with Ramsey Washington Metro Watershed District (RWMWD) and State Aid staff on the proposed design.  The goal of the design was to reduce the impact to the area within the stream buffer area and total project costs.  This was accomplished by obtaining a variance that keeps the road elevation at the current elevation.  This was critical in minimizing the impact to the stream buffer area and the keep the amount of fill in the flood plain to a minimum.  Impacts to the buffer area will be re-established with a native seed mix.  The proposed design utilizes a box culvert which reduces the amount of maintenance costs the crossing requires.  Additionally, the box culvert will help control erosion issues that have been occurring in and around the existing bridge. A copy of the neighborhood notice is attached. 

 

 

 

These are the reports for this week. Stay warm this chilly weekend and as always, please call if I can address any questions or concerns. 

Melinda

Feb 08

February 5, 2021

Posted on February 8, 2021 at 9:30 AM by Chad Bergo

Meetings and Announcements

 

• The next City Council meeting will be held virtually on February 8th,  2021.   We will not have a workshop prior to this meeting.

 

• At the meeting on February 22nd we will have a workshop on the Ponds Project. The consultants, Perkins and Will, will provide an update on the Engagement Process and get input from the City Council. We will have an update on the construction of the new North Fire Station at the Council meeting.

 

Updates from Staff and Council

 

ADMINISTRATION

Senate Testimony on North Fire Station

Mayor Abrams and Chief Mondor testified before the Senate Tax Committee on Thursday morning. They were requesting that the Legislature support a special sales tax exemption for certain construction materials. If approved, the city would save approximately $500,000 on the overall costs of the project. The new station construction will start this spring. The Hazelwood station will be demolished and the new station will be built on that site. During the construction, Fire/EMT staff will be re-located to the Gladstone station.

 

Nature Center and Parks and Recreation Programming Task Force update.

At the January 25th City Council meeting, the City Council adopted the reports from the two Task Forces and directed staff to develop a plan moving forward. The plan is to invite task force members to volunteer for “working groups” where appropriate so we don’t lose the momentum from the sessions.

• Staff met to identify the 3-4 immediate next steps to continue moving forward. As you know, staff have been continuing to maintain the facilities and assets to their normal and customary status, which was a short-term goal of each task force.

• Staff have already met with YMCA staff on their plans for spring, summer, and fall programs. • • The YMCA is planning, at a minimum, five sessions for youth sports at 8-weeks each, summer camps, and expanded tennis programs into Maplewood in partnership with the White Bear Lake YMCA.

 

Here’s a high-level summary of the next steps for each:

Parks and Recreation Task Force

• Communicate changes of programs to the public via Maplewood Living, website, and social media posts. Emphasis on partnerships with other cities and identify where residents can find these services elsewhere.

• Develop agreement with YMCA on youth athletics programs and services in 2021

Host meeting of communications and parks staff of neighboring cities to coordinate information sharing, outreach, and registration

• Develop inventory of assets that are searchable by feature, including mapping features similar to Go Ramsey:  http://www.goramsey.org/

• Develop Joint Powers Agreement templates for schools, YCMA, and associations

Nature Center Task Force

• Establish working groups to help coordinate next steps and follow through

• Get cost estimates for ADA accessibility upgrades for Nature Center building

• Schedule coordination meeting with Watershed District to discuss environmental education initiatives

• Schedule joint sessions with regional nature centers on what educational programming might be available in the short-term

• Holding information session with Maplewood Area Historical Society to provide updates

 

PARKS/RECREATION

Little Free Library

A family that lives near Vista Hills Park built a portable Little Free Library to put in the park. Sadly, it was vandalized but instead of removing it, the park maintenance crew took it back to the shop, did repairs and permanently installed it in the park. We are happy to say that it is once again open for business!

 

Update Deer Management (from Carole Gernes)

Sharpshooting for deer at Applewood and Carver may start this week.  Baiting began last week. The USDA staff agreed to give us more than 24 hours’ notice before beginning removal.  I will give you a heads-up when activities start and when closed barriers need to be set up.  Please see the paragraphs below for general information.  Thank you for your help with this important program.

 

Deer management activities planned for southeast Ramsey County

Saint Paul, Maplewood and Ramsey County are partnering on deer management south of I-94 this winter, pursuant to the 2020-2021 Ramsey County Deer Management Program. In this area, the current deer population exceeds the amount of sustainable deer habitat, which may result in an unhealthy, stressed herd. Overpopulation of deer also results in damage to ornamental and garden plants, high rates of deer/vehicle collisions, and damage or excessive browsing to native trees, shrubs and plants. During January-April of 2021, deer management activities will be accomplished in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Wildlife Services division. All deer removed in this program will be donated to underserved residents of Ramsey County in coordination with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

 

Wildlife Services sharpshooters will be operating on or adjacent to public lands where permission from affected landowners has been obtained. The management locations have been selected with safety for firearms discharge as the number one priority. Wildlife Services will coordinate their activities with local law enforcement. Control activities will take place primarily after dark, utilizing special precautions including the use of night and thermal vision equipment.  The removal program will cost approximately $15,000 and is being funded jointly by the Ramsey County, the City of Maplewood, and the City of Saint Paul.

 

 

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS/PAPERS

 

https://www.startribune.com/mental-health-worker-to-partner-with-maplewood-police/600018172/  Reference:  Mayor Marylee Abrams, Fire Chief Michael Mondor, Public Safety Director Scott Nadeau

 

https://www.startribune.com/hy-vee-adding-two-full-service-twin-cities-stores-this-year/600017984/ Reference the Maplewood Store on White Bear Avenue

 

These are the reports for this week. Stay warm this chilly weekend and as always, please call if I can address any questions or concerns.

Melinda