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. 

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Nov 19

November 26th, 2018

Posted on November 19, 2018 at 10:10 AM by Chad Bergo


Meetings and Announcements:   

Our next City Council meeting and Manager Workshop will be held on Monday, November 26.  The workshop start time TBD.  

Updates from Staff and Council:


Interviews for Municipal Advisors

Municipal advisors provide professional services and advice to local governments who are issuing bonds.  They also provide technical assistance on economic development matters, including the establishment of tax increment financing districts.  On November 9, 2018, City staff interviewed 4 municipal advisory firms to determine the municipal advisor for the next five years.  

Springsted has been the City’s municipal advisor for approximately 40 years.  The City Council requested staff to ensure that all contracted services be periodically evaluated through an RFP process.  Springsted has provided excellent services for Maplewood, but an RFP process has not been completed since the City first engaged the firm approximately 40 years ago.

After hearing extensive presentations from all 4 firms and thoroughly reviewing the qualifications and expertise of the consultants,  the interview team narrowed the field to Springsted and Ehlers.  After considerable discussion and evaluation, the interview team recommended Ehlers.  Team members clearly understood that economic development was a key priority for the City Council, and the team felt that Ehlers presented a more comprehensive approach to economic development in Maplewood.  Further, it was acknowledged that the City Council is interested in gaining a fresh perspective in the areas of outstanding debt and economic development and ensuring that City business is not limited to any one firm or company.  While Springsted has provided excellent services for many years, it was determined by the interview team that Ehlers was the best fit for Maplewood at the current time.  The City Council will review a contract for the next five years with Ehlers at the next Council meeting.


Wakefield Park Community Building Solar Panel Proposal 

Staff and the city attorney are continuing to negotiate and evaluate a potential agreement with Ideal Energies and Green2Solar to install a 20,000 kW flush-mounted solar system on the new Wakefield Park community building currently under construction. This new building was designed to include a solar-ready facility – structurally constructed with a south facing roof and electrical hookup.  In April 2018, the Environmental and Natural Resources and Parks Commissions reviewed and recommended approval of this agreement.

Under the proposed agreements, Ideal Energies, LLC sells the City a solar system for $72,500 and then Green2Solar pays the City’s installation costs ($72,500) as well as $50 per year for the right to operate and maintain the solar array for 20 years. The solar system is expected to create 23,077 kW/h of electricity a year and will offer the City a 25 percent discount on the energy created – based on today’s electricity’s rates. The City is required to purchase the power generated by the system from Green2Solar at an agreed upon price over the 20 year agreement. At the 13thanniversary of the installation completion of the project, Green2Solar has 3 months to “put” its interest to the City. If exercised, the City would be obligated to purchase all of Green2Solar’s interest in the equipment for the cost of $1.00. Subsequently, beginning the day after the “put” period ends, the City can “call” Green2Solar’s interest. In that case, the Green2Solar is required to sell to the City all of its interests for “fair market value” - this option exists for nine months after the put period ends.

As stated, staff and the city attorney are continuing to evaluate this proposed agreement to ensure the city’s interests are protected and promoted. If staff feels this agreement is in an acceptable form the intent is to now bring it before council at its December 10 meeting.

New 3M Sign on Building 220

Cranes are currently being set up as 3M is taking on a high-rise project - replacement of the 3M logo sign on top of its 12-story main campus building – Building 220.  The City issued 3M a sign permit to remove the two existing 3M logo wall signs on the east and west walls and replace them with new signs.  The existing signs are 450 square feet in area, individual letters that are internally illuminated.   The new signs will be 336 square feet in area, mounted on a flat surface and made of trifecta illumination using modern led technology.  A gradient color base and gray mesh background will be added to the building to highlight the new signs.  Images are of the new sign can be seen below. 


Snow Seeding at the Farm

After 18 months of prep work (prescribed burn and herbicide applications), Applied Ecological Services seeded the prairie at Prairie Farm Preserve this week.  A tractor with drill seeder was used on much of site and see was hand broadcast in some areas.  We planted a “pollinator loop” with extra flower seed to ensure lots of blooms for bees, butterflies, and other insects.   In 2019, the site will be mowed a few times to help the young prairie plants outcompete the weeds.  It typically takes a prairie seeding 3-5 years to establish.  This project was funded primarily by a Conservation Partners Legacy grant.

Maplewood Recreation Youth Volleyball League

Maplewood Parks and Recreation hosted the end of the season tournament for our youth volleyball league on November 10th.  The Maplewood Recreation Youth Volleyball League had over 400 girls participate this year and played on teams from Maplewood, Little Canada, White Bear Lake, Stillwater, and Oakdale. Throughout the season, these girls have been able to learn and develop new skills and grow their love for the game of volleyball. The tournament was held at three locations throughout Maplewood including, Carver Elementary Community Gym, Edgerton Elementary Community Gym, and the Maplewood Community Center/YMCA.  This league and tournament would not be successful without our Maplewood Parks and Recreation staff, our partnerships with other local communities, ISD 622, ISD623, and the Maplewood YMCA. Thanks for a great season!

Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District’s Awards Banquet

Staff member Carole Gernes was honored this week with Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District’s Conservation Champion Award.  Council member Juenemann and a few of Carole’s colleagues attended the banquet to help celebrate.  Carole is a part-time naturalist at Maplewood Nature Center.  In addition to teaching programs, Carole coordinates our curbside buckthorn pick-up and our citizen monitoring programs.  In her other part-time job Carole coordinates the Ramsey County Cooperative Weed Management Association, of which Maplewood is a founding member.  Congratulations Carole and thank you for all your great work!

Several other Maplewood residents were also honored by RWMWD.  Monica and Terrance Garrity received a LEAP (Landscape Ecology Award Program) Award for their three beautiful, well-maintained raingardens.  These were constructed during a city street reconstruction project several years ago.  Randee Edmundson, a former ENR Commissioner, received the Outstanding Educator Award.  And Chuck Hanna of Outdoor Lab Landscape Design received the Outstanding Partner Award.  Chuck’s firm constructed the rain gardens at City Hall this fall.

News from local newspapers or other agencies. 

Coin Toss  - Reference:  Video of the coin toss  Marylee Abrams, Nikki Villavicencio

Coin Toss - Reference:  City Counciil – Kathy, Marylee, and Nikki   Andrea Sindt

Thanks and have a great weekend. -Mike