Please see this link for the July 2015 edition of my new Newsletter, called the Ward 2 Review. I will be hand delivering copies to as many neighborhoods as I can get to over the next few weeks.
I hope you find it informative and useful.
This recap covers the June 16 council meeting, work sessions and EDA meeting, the June 17 West Metro Board Meeting and the June 30 City Code Task Force Meeting.
Work Session Highlights
- Gaulke Pond Study – The City Engineer presented a plan to study what to do with the land that the current public works facility sits on after the new facility opens, including potentially increasing the size of Gaulke Pond. We ultimately decided to put this on hold until we had more time to discuss it.
- West Metro Fire Update – Chief Larson gave the council her quarterly update on the West Metro Fire district and went over the preliminary 2016 budget.
- Point of Sale Inspections – The council discussed the current process of requiring a city inspection before selling a home in Crystal. We gave staff direction to come up with a plan to end this process, which we will ultimately vote on at a future council meeting. I am personally opposed to the government inserting itself in a transaction between two private individuals. Brooklyn Park recently ended this practice, and earlier this year Eden Prairie rejected a proposal to begin performing these city inspections after opposition from citizens.
- Northwest Hennepin Human Services Council (NWHHSC) Update – I am Crystal’s board member on NWHHSC, which is a joint powers agreement between several cities in Hennepin County. NWHHSC has been through some major changes over the past few years and is not a financially viable organization. It does not make sense for Crystal taxpayers to continue to fund this organization. The council will be voting on withdrawing from NWHHSC at the next meeting. Several other member cities will be withdrawing later this year as well.
- Records Retention Policy – Staff presented a proposal to update our records retention policy and begin using the State General Records Retention Schedule instead of having our own unique policy. This is a common sense change.
Council Meeting Highlights
- Swearing in – The mayor swore in new Police Officer Caleb Selin. Congratulations Officer Selin!
- Financial Report – The city’s auditor presented the 2014 financial report. We received an unmodified opinion, which in the unique language of financial audits, is a good thing. You can see the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (all 139 pages of it) here. The CAFR includes a summary of the audit.
- Street Construction Bonds – We formally awarded the sale of the bonds for the Phase 14 Street Reconstruction project.
- Ordinances – We held the second reading of a change in our ordinance related to utilities. I covered that here. We held the first reading of a change to our liquor laws to account for changes made in state law this year- allowing on-sale liquor sales at 8 AM on Sunday (the Bloody Mary Law) and allowing Sunday sales of Growlers.
- Re-striping 81 – We formally authorized the re-striping of 81 that I wrote about here.
The EDA approved the sale of 2 EDA owned lots for new home sales, the optioning of a third lot for a new home sale, and authorized the acquisition of a vacant lot from the county for a huge discount.
West Metro Board Meeting Highlights
I am Crystal’s Council Representative on the West Metro Fire Board.
- Officers – Because this was our annual meeting we needed to elect officers. All current officers were re-elected.
- 2014 Audit – West Metro also had an audit, and also received an unmodified opinion (a good thing).
- 2016 Budget – The board approved the 2016 budget, which had a 3.44% ($67,000) increase over 2015. Next stop is approval by the New Hope and Crystal City Councils.
City Code Task Force Kick-off Meeting
The City Code task force held their kick-off meeting on June 30 and I, again, could not be more impressed with the group of citizens that has assembled to give our City Code a much-needed overhaul.
The group decided to take the first 3 sections of the code and have everyone review them and come back with suggestions for the next meeting. After that the group will tweak the process based on what they learn.
The group also had some great feedback on how the code is structured and improvements that could be made in that regard.
Stay tuned for more from this group. It may not be a glamorous job, but I am grateful that we have a great group willing to do it.
In the Community
- Crystal Airport Open House – June 20 and 21 – I attended the Crystal Airport Open House, both on Saturday for the kickoff party and on Sunday for the main event. We had perfect weather, and attendance was great on Sunday. Thanks to the Crystal Lions for all their work putting this on, and to council member Julie Deshler for all her work coordinating the event. The picture above is of a WW2 B-25 Bomber.
- Music in the Park – The Lions are sponsoring the return of Music in the Park this year, and the first concert was the Joey Johnson Band at Becker Park. The next concert is 6:30 pm on Monday July 13 at Becker Park, featuring DJ Neill Turner.
In The Community: Upcoming Events
- Night to Unite – August 4. Download your application to host a party here.
- Crystal Frolics is July 23-26. New this year- Sunday is Frolics Family Day. Get all the Frolics details here.