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:
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
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
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.
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.
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.