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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. 

Jan 27

January 24th, 2020

Posted on January 27, 2020 at 10:14 AM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK

Meetings and Announcements:  

The next City Council meeting and workshop will be held on January 27th.   Reminder that the EDA and HEDC will continue the strategy/planning work session from 4-7 pm.

 
Updates from Staff and Council:

ADMINISTRATION

From Kim O’Brien with the Rice and Larpenteur Alliance:

The Winter Warmer event is shaping up for Saturday, February 1 from 11:30-1:30 at Nepali Kitchen! We need your help personally inviting people you think should attend. So far, we have 37 people registered (see below for current list of attendees—note some orders are for 2 people). We have 80 total spots available.

 

Note: The Alliance agreed to fund a low-cost façade improvement for the restaurant ahead of the event. Unfortunately, the window painter we hoped to hire is unable to complete the project because of the tint on the windows (and too cold to paint from the outside). I’ll keep working to see if there is something else we can do in the short timeframe.

Thanks for your help promoting and attending the event!! Let me know if you have any questions.


COMMUNICATIONS

New booth notification light in Council Chambers

The communications staff has had a vertical Recording light installed in the council chambers.  It is located above the Hmong necklace.

Basically, Nate turning on the light is equivalent to getting the thumbs up from Nate that the meeting can begin. In the situation of multiple meetings in one evening, the light is intended to be turned off and then back on when he is ready for the subsequent meeting to begin.

As a note, please remember the meetings must begin at the stated time or later, never before.


PUBLIC SAFETY

Mental Health Outreach (From Director Nadeau) In 2019 Maplewood Public Safety began an outreach effort to those who suffered from serious and persistent mental health issues, who were high-users of system resources, and who were judged to be in need of resources to assist them.  The year took a lot of time to set up the program and bring our staff up to speed, as well as to research and implement strategies to assist with Screening evaluate things like HIPPA compliance.

I am going  to extend this program for 2020 and will be gathering more data to see if we are achieving the desired outcomes and to see if we are able to justify the resources necessary beyond 2020.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

 

The efforts of this team will be highlighted in the Public Safety annual report but I thought it would be good for you to get this report earlier. If you would like to discuss this further, Director Nadeau could discuss at a future Council Manager workshop.

  

PARKS AND RECREATION 

Harvest Park Master Plan Open House

There was no shortage of lively discussion at the Harvest Park Community Open House on Tuesday night at the Wakefield Park Community Building. Maplewood residents, City and Rush Line Staff, our LHB Consultant as well as the Mayor and Parks Commissioners all gathered to discuss the proposed changes to Harvest Park and give their feedback and input. We received great suggestions and comments from the attendees that will be incorporated into the master plan going forward. The next steps in the master planning process will involve a POLCO community survey that is being developed with the Communications Department.





Jan 19

January 17th, 2020

Posted on January 19, 2020 at 3:23 PM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: January 17th,  2020

 

Meetings and Announcements

 

Staff is currently working on the Council Calendar. We should have it ready for the Council packet
next week.
 The next City Council meeting and workshop will be held on January 27th  Reminder that the EDA and HEDC will continue the strategy/planning work session from 4-7 pm. 

 

Update on snow clearing for the weekend from Bryan Nagel - Snow should start here around 2:30 – 3. We expect 5”-7” by midnight with an additional 2” by the time it ends around 8am. Crews will begin at 2am for complete plowing. Forecast is calling for high winds and dropping temps Saturday afternoon, I will be bringing crew back in Sunday morning to check for drifting and deicing along with starting on sidewalks. A sidewalk crew will be working on Monday to complete all walks. The crew will start early again on Tuesday ahead of the morning commute for final cleanup and deicing.

 
Updates from Staff and Council:

 

ADMINISTRATION

 

State of the City - Thank you all for attending the State of the City event on Wednesday. I received a number of calls, emails and texts from people attending or watching. The feedback I received was very positive. I also want to thank our communications staff for putting together a great program and especially congratulate them on the awesome videos! Everyone liked the Leadership team video. Maybe we should consider how we can use more videos in future programs. I also want to thank the other staff, especially Lois for working with our outstanding caterer and Gina, Liz and Meghan for their assistance with registrations and more. It is a lot of work to put this kind of program together. Job well done everyone! Here are a couple of photos from the event.

 

Presidential Primary - Absentee voting for the Presidential Nomination Primary (PNP) begins Friday, January 17, 2020 and will continue until March 2, 2020. The precinct polling locations open 7am on March 3, 2020.

Any Maplewood resident can vote using any of the options but only Maplewood residents can vote at Maplewood city hall. (We only have ballots for Maplewood precincts.)
  • Absentee by mail through Ramsey County
  • Absentee in person (choice of four locations, please note times vary between sites)
    • Maplewood City Hall
    • Ramsey County Elections 90 Plato Blvd W
    • New Brighton Community Center
    • Ramsey County Roseville Library
  • Additional sites, including those four already listed, will open on Feb 25th for Early Voting – when the ballot can be directly fed into the ballot counter

Different to other voting experiences, voters will be required to state their major party preference to receive the appropriate ballot – if someone does not provide their preference, they will not be given a ballot.

 

From Kim O’Brien with the Rice and Larpenteur Alliance - The Winter Warmer event is shaping up for Saturday, February 1 from 11:30-1:30 at Nepali Kitchen! We need your help personally inviting people you think should attend. So far, we have 37 people registered (see below for current list of attendees—note some orders are for 2 people). We have 80 total spots available.

If you are able to come and have not yet registered, please do on Eventbrite.

Event overview

  • Buffet lunch available from 11:30-1 (event ends at 1:30)
  • Open-house mingling from 11:30-12:30
  • Remarks from elected leaders at 12:30 (12:15?)  (translation will be available, if needed based on registrations)
  • I asked if the Nepali dancers from our Summer Block Party event could perform as well but have not confirmed.
  • Printed pieces available (being developed now)
    • One-pager about the Alliance at the event (and a translated version in Hmong, Karen, Nepali, and Spanish)
    • Short Annual Report to highlight 2019 accomplishments (note: this piece will not be translated due to cost and timeline)
    • Applications for membership on our Long-Term Alliance.

Note: The Alliance agreed to fund a low-cost façade improvement for the restaurant ahead of the event. Unfortunately, the window painter we hoped to hire is unable to complete the project because of the tint on the windows (and too cold to paint from the outside). I’ll keep working to see if there is something else we can do in the short timeframe.

Thanks for your help promoting and attending the event!! Let me know if you have any questions. 

 

Meeting with Senator Wiger - Mike and I met with Senator Wiger yesterday to work through the schedule for our Proposed Sales Tax Exemption Legislation yesterday. Senator Wiger will sponsor our bill in the Senate and I reached out to Representative Xiong to help us on the House side. We expect that we will be testify on the bills in mid-February. Senator Wiger has been very helpful in positioning us for the upcoming process. If Council would like to call our Legislative team and let them know how important this is for the City, please feel free to do so.

 

COMMUNICATIONS

 

New City Website Launched - We flipped the switch Tuesday on the City’s new website. It features many more visually appealing elements and functionality that will make navigation easier for all users, especially those with visual impairments and other disabilities. The new video banner shows off our City’s best assets. Please scroll through and give us your feedback. Mostly we’re looking for flaws or design elements we were too close to catch. A big thank you Chad Bergo who managed this project over the last two years. We also appreciate all of the feedback, insight and updates from the web administrators in each department. This was a true team effort and big accomplishment under our Integrated Communications Strategic pillar.

 

FINANACE

Joe Rueb is pictured here with State Demographer Susan Brower, who spoke at the January monthly Minnesota Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) meeting in Roseville. Joe was inaugurated as president of MN GFOA at the January meeting, after serving several years as Chair of the Technology Committee, followed by the roles of Treasurer, Secretary, and Vice President. Joe will serve the association as President for the year 2020.  Congratulations to Joe, I know he will make an excellent President for GFOA members and organization.

  

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

 

From Jeff Thomson: I attended the meeting on Friday. The MPCA recently tested Battle Creek for PFAS. The results from a location in the creek within Maplewood detected extremely high levels of PFAS in the foam of the creek. (Foam is naturally occurring on the surface of the creek as a result of the movement of the creek.) This is the first time that PFAS has been identified in surface water foam in Minnesota. The Department of Health indicated that there is minimal health risk, but people and pets should avoid exposure to creek foam, and if they are exposed should wash the area with soap and water. Last week MPCA took additional surface water and foam samples from four additional locations along the creek. They expect to have the results available in February. The contamination is outside of the scope of the previous settlement with 3M and the government working group’s scope of work. MPCA is working on identifying the source and responsible party for the PFAS found in Battle Creek.

MPCA will be releasing this information to the media today. See Article posted in the Star Tribune in News Section below.

 

PARKS AND RECREATION

Harvest Park Master Plan Open House
January 21 from 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Wakefield Community Building

As part of the Harvest Park Master Plan process, we will be holding an Open House on January 21 to get resident feedback and ideas concerning usage, facilities, and Harvest Park as a whole. We will have drafts of initial concepts available that evening to facilitate the discussions and our consultant and Rush Line BRT staff will be there as well to answer questions.  

A letter was sent out to 200 homes near the park inviting them to the Open House and flyers were posted on the website and social media. Since the event takes place at the Wakefield Community Building, this will be a great chance for the public to tour the new facility. We would love to have City Council join us and hope to see you there!

  

News from Partners and local media

The Star Tribune posted this article this week regardingPFAS in Battle Creek Park

  

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns with next week’s Council packet.  City offices are closed on Monday in observation of Martin Luther King day. Stay warm and safe this snowy weekend. Melinda

 



Jan 13

January 10th, 2020

Posted on January 13, 2020 at 9:09 AM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK 

Meetings and Announcements:  

  • Council Calendar is not attached as there are no new meetings/events identified. We will start posting as the calendar is planned.
  • The next City Council meeting and workshop will be held on January 13th.  The Workshop will start at 6:00 pm with an update on the US Census Count and discussion on the Boards and Commission Appointment Process.  We will also have an EDA meeting to Elect Officers and discuss schedule.
  • Reminder that the EDA and HEDC will continue the strategy/planning work session on Monday, January 27th from 4-7 pm. Dinner will be provided.
  • State of the City Date- Coming Soon! - Please mark your calendars for Wednesday, January 15th from approximately 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The meeting will include District 622 Superintendent Christine Osorio as a guest speaker. All Council members will have a speaking role at the event. If you are unable to attend, please let me know. Joe will contact you regarding your script.




Updates from Staff and Council:

ADMINISTRATION 

State of the City - We’re excited for this year’s State of Maplewood Luncheon (Wednesday, January 15,  11am-1pm). For your constituents and partners who can’t make it, please let them know they have three options to watch it live: The City’s Facebook page, our website and Ch 16 in Maplewood.  This year’s event will feature ISD 622 Superintendent Christine Osorio to share highlights of their accomplishments, and provide a look into the future as the district undergoes a major facilities overhaul.

Employee Survey - Mike and I and Ellie will be meeting with the Labor Management Committee and Supervisors in the next week to review the 2020 Budget and survey results.  In February we will conduct 3 All Employee meetings to review the results of the survey and the 2020 Budget. We will also prepare a report and the survey results for the City Council to review.

Governor Walz Proposes $276 Million for Housing in 2020- From Metro Cities Bulletin - Governor Walz on Thursday released his recommendation for affordable housing funding including funding to support affordable housing construction, preservation and rehabilitation. The Governor announced his proposed housing budget as one part of his bonding package rollout this month. Metro Cities will review these and other recommendations as they are released.


$200 million would be used to fund Housing Infrastructure Bonds (HIB), appropriation bonds that fund privately built and owned residential buildings and houses. HIB funds support new construction and renovation of existing affordable homes across the state as well as shelter for people experiencing homelessness. The funds are awarded through a competitive process administered by Minnesota Housing.


$60 million would be borrowed through general obligation bonds to support publicly owned housing units and buildings. Funds would be awarded on a competitive basis to local public housing authorities across the state. A focus on veterans’ affordable housing would be funded by $15 million under the Governor’s recommendation. These funds would support renovations and security upgrades to state veterans’ homes administered by the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.


Contact Charlie Vander Aarde at 651-215-4001 or charlie@metrocitiesmn.org with any questions.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Neighborhood Meeting Hosted by Menards - Nick Brenner of Menards is hosting a neighborhood meeting on January 15, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at John Glenn Middle School – in the Media Room. An invitation to this meeting was sent by Menards to all property owners within 500 feet of the proposed project. Menards is proposing to purchase six residential properties south of its existing store, tear down the homes and the existing store and build a new facility – see proposed site plan below. The planning commission and community design review board will be reviewing this project at their meetings on January 21. Those packets will have more detail about the project if you are interested. ----- Council review is tentatively scheduled for February 10. For more information on this project please visit www.maplewoodmn.gov/menards or please call me or staff.

PARKS AND RECREATION

Harvest Park Master Plan Open House - January 21 from 6:00pm - 7:30pm Wakefield Community Building

As part of the Harvest Park Master Plan process, we will be holding an Open House on January 21 to get resident feedback and ideas concerning usage, facilities, and Harvest Park as a whole. We will have drafts of initial concepts available that evening to facilitate the discussions and our consultant and Rush Line BRT staff will be there as well to answer questions. 

A letter was sent out to 200 homes near the park inviting them to the Open House and flyers were posted on the website and social media. Since the event takes place at the Wakefield Community Building, this will be a great chance for the public to tour the new facility. We would love to have City Council join us and hope to see you there!

Eagle Service Projects Benefit Edgerton Garden and the Nature Center - Last summer Matthew Peiffer and his team built 4 new compost bins and put in translated signs at the Edgerton Community Organic Vegetable Garden as his Eagle Service Project.  These were needed due to the increased number of plots installed this past year and they look great!  Matthew said that he “extremely appreciated everyone at Maplewood Parks and Rec giving me the opportunity to help out in the community.”

Last September, Jed Fisher and 20 of his volunteers hauled gravel and cleared overgrown shrubs and plants  in an effort to improve a muddy, narrow section of the nature center trails as part of Jed Fisher's Eagle project.  In addition, Jed and his crew donated the materials for and built 3 brand new wood duck houses and installed them in new locations near two woodland ponds.  Lastly, Jed prepared a short presentation on wood ducks for the Nature Center's 40th anniversary celebration. 

The Maplewood Parks and Recreation Commission awarded Matthew and Jed certificates of appreciation for their projects at their December meeting.

  

News from Partners and local media


Governor Walz Proposes $276 Million for Housing in 2020- From Metro Cities Bulletin - Governor Walz on Thursday released his recommendation for affordable housing funding including funding to support affordable housing construction, preservation and rehabilitation. The Governor announced his proposed housing budget as one part of his bonding package rollout this month. Metro Cities will review these and other recommendations as they are released.


$200 million would be used to fund Housing Infrastructure Bonds (HIB), appropriation bonds that fund privately built and owned residential buildings and houses. HIB funds support new construction and renovation of existing affordable homes across the state as well as shelter for people experiencing homelessness. The funds are awarded through a competitive process administered by Minnesota Housing.


$60 million would be borrowed through general obligation bonds to support publicly owned housing units and buildings. Funds would be awarded on a competitive basis to local public housing authorities across the state. A focus on veterans’ affordable housing would be funded by $15 million under the Governor’s recommendation. These funds would support renovations and security upgrades to state veterans’ homes administered by the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.


Contact Charlie Vander Aarde at 651-215-4001 or charlie@metrocitiesmn.org with any questions.

  

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns with the upcoming Council packet.  Melinda