This recap covers the Council Meeting on August 18, the EDA meeting on August 18, the West Metro Fire work session on August 12, and the two budget work sessions on August 6 and 13. August is when the budget process starts, and we have had two of the three budget work sessions so far.
Regular Work Session Highlights
- Traffic - A citizen presented his concerns regarding traffic on Nevada Ave between 56th and 58th Ave.
- Settlement – The council discussed a settlement regarding the assessments for phase 13 street reconstruction with two businesses. This was approved at the council meeting later that evening.
- Security Training – Chief Revering performed security training for the council. If you listen to the work session we didn’t record that part.
- West Broadway / 48th Ave Crossing – I covered this topic in detail during my last update. We were looking at options for a crossing that needs to be reconstructed if the light rail goes through. I’m happy to report that we have a solution that seems to meet the approval of the neighborhood (including a retired traffic engineer that lives nearby), the city staff, and the county. The county has backed off their position on accelerating the turnback of West Broadway and we have that in writing.
- Utilities – Another topic I discussed in detail (probably too much detail) in my last update- the council reviewed two proposed versions of a new (new) ordinance about undergrounding of utilities. Still leaning toward voting against this one.
Council Meeting Highlights
- Awards and Appearances – We had the presentation of several awards and a few appearances at the beginning of the meeting. That’s what the pictures above are from. Apologies to all for me being a terrible photographer. Awards were presented to 1) Crystal PD from New Hope PD for Crystal’s assistance during the council chamber shooting earlier this year 2) Officer Tim Tourville for being the DWI All Star for the third year in a row 3) Sergeant Brandon Dorr and Officer Julie Severson for their award from the Northstar Council for excellence in the Police Explorers Post. The Post advisors won an award, but the Post also won Post of the year. Very impressive! 4) The Parks Department won an award for the fall Program Brochure. 5) We had an appearance from the Ride for Freedom Club who presented a check to Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, and 6) Mayor Adams presented a Commendation for Susan Carstens.
- Point Of Sale Inspections – The council voted 5-1 to approve the second reading of an ordinance repealing the requirement that the city inspect your house before you can sell it. We heard from several members of the community at the meeting. One was opposed and the remainder of those who spoke were supportive of the change, including two long term residents of Crystal who are also Realtors, one who has been selling real estate since 1977. I always appreciate hearing thoughts from Crystal residents on items that are before the council. The council received quite a bit of feedback on this change, most in support of the change and a few concerns about safety and maintaining the quality of our housing stock, which are certainly valid concerns. However I continue to believe we have enough tools in the toolkit to manage these concerns without this ordinance.
- Miscellaneous – We approved the installation of Yield Signs at 48th and Maryland and a fuel contract with West Metro Fire (see below).
EDA Meeting – Only one item on the agenda, the approval of the authorization of a sale for one EDA owned lot at 45th and Yates.
West Metro Fire
There was a joint work session that included both the New Hope and Crystal Councils and then a special meeting and work session after that. (All on August 12).
- Check In – The first work session with both councils was our annual check in where we get an update on West Metro and both councils have the opportunity to ask questions and check in with each other.
- Grievance Procedure – At the meeting the board discussed updating the grievance procedure. The board recently received a complaint from a fire fighter and I believe it exposed flaws in the existing procedures. The HR departments of Crystal and New Hope will be reviewing past complaints and the existing procedure to recommend updates. We’ll be discussing at a future meeting. It’s critical that all West Metro Employees feel there is a process in place that is fair, and that the process is followed properly.
- Fuel – The West Metro Board approved a fuel contract with Crystal. West Metro currently buys their fuel from Robbinsdale Schools but will be getting it from the new Crystal Public Works Facility once that opens.
- Long Range Planning – The board held its first work session dealing with long range planning. This was an overview of the history of the district with some information about changes over time. There will be several more work sessions where we dig into specific aspects of the District and discuss where we should be going in the future.
Budget Work Sessions – As I mentioned above, the budget process starts in August. We have had two work sessions so far, the first to discuss the operating budget and the second to discuss the capital plan. There is another work session tonight.
The preliminary levy will be set at the September 1 meeting, which means we’ll set the levy amount that we can’t go higher than. The number can be decreased later this year.
I will have more thoughts on the budget process as we go along. Right now my focus is absorbing the numbers, listening to the city staff, and asking lots of questions.
In the Community
- Night To Unite was August 2. I got to 7 or 8 (I lost count) parties across Ward 2. Many thanks to Officer K for carting me around. It was great to see so many people out and involved in the community. My favorite part of going around to the various parties is observing the different traditions each neighborhood has.
- I made it to the Crystal Lions Corn Feed on August 8, but I only ate 2 pieces of corn, which is pretty weak.
- I distributed about 200 copies of my first newsletter in the Lee Park neighborhood. I still hope to get to a few more neighborhoods before the snow comes.
In the Community – Upcoming Events
- The city is conducting a resident survey as part of the State Performance Measurement Program. It’s short and anonymous. Take it here.
- Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is hosting a “glow golf” tournament on September 3. I’m thinking about doing this because maybe playing in the dark will improve my golf game.
- The city is hosting a Traffic Symposium/Open House Thursday September 10 at the community center from 5:30 – 7:30 PM. Come learn about traffic control and transportation in Crystal, share your concerns about traffic, and share your thoughts about potential changes to the overnight parking ordinance.
- The ribbon cutting for the new public works facility is September 16 from 5-7 pm (5001 W Broadway). The actual ribbon cutting with the big scissors and tape is at 6.
- Battle of the Badges Blood Drive August 26.
The next council meeting is September 1. There is a budget work session tonight.
You can watch the video of the council meeting here and find the agendas and meeting notes here. Audio recording of work sessions can be found here. Check the city calendar for updated meeting dates, locations and times.