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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. 

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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