COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: October
Meetings and Announcements:
City Council meeting and workshop will be held on October 28th .
The workshop will begin at 5:30. We will have two Commission interviews for
openings on the Park and ENR Commissions and bring back T-21 for follow up
clarification and direction. The Council meeting will begin at 7 pm.
Maplewood Business Council meetings (MBC)
and the St. Paul Chamber Business Education Series schedule of events is listed
November - Maplewood Business
Engagement Breakfast. Staff is working on holding a networking event
in late afternoon. We hope to have plans nailed down next week.
December 10 at 3-4:30 p.m. - Business
Education Series – 8 Metrics to Success (Roseville)
Council/HEDC Development Tour- Saturday,
November 16th at 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. Details to come
Strategic Planning Meeting- City Council and
HEDC scheduled for November 25th at 4 pm to 7 pm. This
will be held in the Council Chambers.
Updates from Staff and Council:
Manager Mike Sable has put together information regarding Maplewood Sales tax
options. There are three key pieces:
- The Local Option Sales Tax
- The Change to the Process (i.e.
Regional Significance or “clear regional benefit”)
- Construction Materials Sales Tax
Under the change
in the law, if the Council pursues a Local Option Sales Tax it seems likely
that the earliest we could institute a sales tax would be January 2023 – unless
the council set a special election for the referendum.
Resolution in support - Determined by City
Resolution submitted to Tax Committee - January 31, 2020 (deadline)
- May 2020
post-legislative approval - November 2022 (unless a special election is called)
tax - January 1, 2023
For an exemption to the Construction
Materials Sales Tax, there are no additional requirements, save for the changes
to procurement methods. As a general rule, the legislature caps the
amount to be refunded and sets a timeline of five (5) years to complete. Please
see attached information from LMC.
Staff has sample legislative language for
both if/when the time comes to consider. Let us know if you would like copies
of potential language. Staff will add this to calendar to schedule for Council
action after defining preferred scope of legislation.
The League of Minnesota Cities remains the key source for
legislative tracking and review of bills impacting cities in the state of
Minnesota. Below is a summary of the issues/impacts. There
are three (3) main area of focus:
Sales Tax to fund capital projects/capital investments
Local Sales Tax Approval Process
construction sales tax exemption for capital projects
Option Sales Taxes - https://www.lmc.org/page/1/LocalSalesTaxes.jsp?ssl=true
Currently, nearly 30 cities across the state impose a
local sales tax. Twenty-two Minnesota cities held referendums in November 2018
seeking voter approval for new or modified local sales taxes to fund various
capital projects. Of those, voters in 16 cities approved the request.
Under the old law, Minnesota Statutes, section 297A.99,
the next step for those cities was to seek legislative approval through special
legislation. Last session, sixteen (16) cities sought legislative approval for
a local sales tax. Those cities receiving voter approval last November were:
· Avon (transportation improvement projects)
· Blue Earth (Sewer Plant, Streets, and Recreation
· Cambridge (Library, streets, outdoor park)
· Detroit Lakes (police department facility)
· Elk River (rec/park/trail improvements, lake dredging)
· Glenwood (roads, parks/trails/city hall-police station)
· International Falls (transportation/public
· Perham (Perham-area community center)
· Rogers (trail & pedestrian facilities, aquatic
· Sauk Center (highway reconstruction & infrastructure)
· Scanlon (streets and utilities)
· Two Harbors (infrastructure)
· Virginia (Recreation & Convention complex
· West St. Paul (pavement management plan)
· Willmar (community center, rec center, parks & storm
· Worthington (recreational/quality of life improvements)
to Local Sales Tax Approval Process - https://www.lmc.org/page/1/fonl-localsalestax.jsp?ssl=true
A new law, 2019 First Special Session, Chapter 6,
modified the process cities and other local units of government must follow to
impose future general local sales taxes. Effective July 1, 2019, the new
process requires local governments to secure legislative authorization for a
general sales tax prior to conducting a local referendum.
The new process also requires cities to provide
additional detailed information on the proposed uses of the local sales tax
revenue and information on the “regional significance” of the projects to be
funded. Steps of the new process:
Adopt a resolution. The city council must
first adopt a resolution proposing the tax. The resolution must include the
proposed tax rate, documentation of the “regional significance” of each project
to be funded, the amount to be raised with the tax, and the estimated length of
time the tax will be needed.
Submit resolution to state tax committees.
The city is required to submit the adopted resolution and documentation on
regional significance to the chairs and ranking minority members of the House
and Senate Taxes committees by Jan. 31 of the year that it is seeking the
Get legislative authorization. The city must
secure the passage of a special law authorizing the enactment of the local
sales tax. The city would typically work with its local legislators to
introduce special legislation.
Adopt a resolution. After approval, the city
must adopt a resolution accepting the new law. The city must also file the
resolution and a local approval certificate with the Office of the Secretary of
State before the next legislative biennium begins.
Hold a referendum. The city must conduct a
referendum during a general election within two years of receiving legislative
authority for the local sales tax. The referendum must include separate
questions for each project, and only the ballot questions approved by voters
may be funded by the sales tax.
Pass an ordinance. The city council must pass
an ordinance imposing the tax. It must also notify the commissioner of Revenue
at least 90 days before the first day of the calendar quarter that the tax will
The statute continues to restrict the expenditure of
funds for the promotion of the passage of a local sales tax referendum. Cities
may spend money to:
Give residents the information that is
contained in the local sales tax resolution, including information on specific
projects and costs of those projects.
Conduct public forums on the sales tax and
projects to be funded, provided that proponents and opponents are given equal
time to express their opinions.
Provide facts on the proposed projects and
the impact of the proposed tax on consumers.
Conduct the required referendum.
Sales Tax Exemption for Capital Projects - https://www.lmc.org/page/1/ConstructionExemption.jsp?ssl=true
The cities of Inver Grove Heights and Minnetonka sought a
sales tax exemption through a refund process for construction materials used
for two specific public facilities when the materials are purchased by a
The first provided a refund of sales taxes paid on
construction materials for a new Inver Grove Heights fire station that includes
a public safety training facility. According to the Department of Revenue
analysis, the exemption will reduce the cost of the $8.7 million facility—$4.3
million of which is assumed to be taxable materials—by an estimated $300,000.
The second provided a refund of the sales taxes paid on
construction materials for a Minnetonka public safety facility. The Department
of Revenue analysis estimates the exemption will reduce the cost of the $25
million facility—$12.5 million of which is assumed to be taxable materials—by
an estimated $850,000.
Background on the issue
Under current law, for cities, counties, townships and school
districts to receive the benefit of the sales tax exemption for building,
construction, or reconstruction materials, supplies, and equipment used in
public buildings and public infrastructure projects, they must follow a very
cumbersome set of rules that require local units of government to:
Separately bid labor and materials.
Designate the contractor as a legal
purchasing agent on behalf of the local unit of government.
Assume the liability for damages caused by
defective materials or delivery delays.
Since the current required process adds
considerable risk and potential cost to the contracting process, many cities,
counties, and townships choose not to pursue the sales tax exemption at all.
Similarly, some school districts—which have never been subject to sales tax on
their purchases, but have been subject to these rules for decades—have opted to
pay the sales tax on construction materials.
According to an analysis prepared last
session on a bill that would provide a refund to all local units of government,
the Department of Revenue estimated that paying the sales tax will increase the
cost of local government projects by an estimated $18.3 million in FY 2019 and
$18.9 million in FY 2020.
Opening- Mayor Abrams,
Councilmember Neblett and staff, Ellen Paulseth, Jeff Thomson and Mike Sable
attended the Grand Opening of the Nepali Market. They all agreed that the food
was delicious and encourage us to shop and support this new business at Rice
staffing with the Heritage Preservation Commission
I talked with
Council about this earlier this year when Ginny Gaynor retired from the City as
I had concerns about being able to provide staff report to the HPC. Ginny was
the staff liaison to the HPC. Following her departure, staff had to evaluate
the work load of the HPC and the time commitment of staff to support their
work. After two conversations with Chair Peter Boulay and a review of work load
with Parks and other staff, I have re-structured how we approach our
support to the HPC. The primary reasons for these changes are the need to
focus on Open Space maintenance and programming and also to add support to the
Nature Center operations. In addition, the HPC operates quite differently than
the other commissions and their work load is much different. Frankly, we do not
have staff that has Historic Preservation in their wheelhouse of skills or
Chair Boulay has
accepted these changes but I wanted you to be aware of them. If you have
concerns or questions, please let me know. If I don’t hear from you, I am going
to assume you are supportive of these changes.
We started this
review when Ms. Gaynor left and have developed the following new structure: The
HPC will continue to meet monthly (unless they want to meet less often), we
will not cable cast the meetings, staff will provide administrative support by
distributing the agenda to members and provide action-oriented minutes. When
the HPC needs professional help on specific projects, staff will either provide
the support, if we can, or contribute up to $10,000,000. per year to the HPC to
assist with a project. I would work with Chair Boulay to bring this to
City Council for authorization on financial contributions. In addition, the HPC
will report to the City Council on an annual basis as do the other boards.
Ramsey County 4
to 3 Lane Conversion Study
Ramsey County is
conducting a study on the feasibility and potential benefits of 4 to 3 lane
conversions. The County has identified 23 road segments throughout the
county that will be part of this study. There are a variety of benefits
that 3 lane roadways have over 4 lane roadways, and are often found to be
feasibly to convert. These benefits include safety, operational,
multimodal possibilities, and quality of life benefits. Some of the key
safety benefits include crash reduction, pedestrian and bicyclist safety,
reduction in speed, and improved sight distance. Several cities,
including Maplewood, have been asked to sit on a technical advisory committee
(TAC) for this study. The study is expected to be completed spring of
Ramsey County No
Parking Area Request
will sending a letter to residents on the south side of County Road D from
Labore Road to County Road D Circle proposing to post this section of road as a
no parking area.
south side of County Road D does not have adequate space to park vehicles
without them extending into the travel lane and does not meet State Aid
Standards for on street parking areas. This can create safety issues for
drivers traveling on County Road D in either direction as they try to navigate
around the parked vehicles and into oncoming lane of traffic. The issue
is further compounded in the winter when snow accumulates on the shoulder
forcing the vehicles to park farther into the travel lanes. The county
will collect input for residents and reach back out to the city with the
Environmental Assessment – Public Comments
Environmental Assessment (EA) documents have been prepared for the Gold Line
BRT project. The EA documents the purpose and need of the project along
with the anticipated social, economic, transportation and environmental
impacts. The EA is available for viewing on the Gold Line website: http://metrotransit.org/gold-line-environmental
The Gold Line
project team is taking public comments on the EA until November 6, 2019.
Comments can be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, online comment form at the above
website, or written comments can be directed to:
Gold Line Project Office
C/o Chelsa Johnson
121 7th Place East, Suite 102
Saint Paul, MN 55101
The following is
a list of public events for the opportunity to engage with the Gold Line
project team and comment on the EA document:
Open House 1: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 from
5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the East Side Learning Hub at Harding High School, 1526
6th Street East, Saint Paul
Open House 2: Wednesday, October 23, 2019
from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Landfall Community Center, 2 Fourth Avenue, Landfall
Office Hours: Monday, October 28, 2019 from
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the Gold Line Project Office, 121 7th Place East, Suite
102, Saint Paul
Storm Sewer Line installed
Public Works crews installed a new storm
sewer line this week to help reduce drainage issues from storm water that
crosses the public right-of-way from the Remackel property to the Schiffler
property. This new line (light blue line) connects to the exiting storm sewer
line on English Street (dark blue line) and runs along the north side of the
private driveway. - A big thank you
to our Public Works crews for their work to try and help improve the
challenging issue between these properties.
PARKS AND RECREATION
Buckthorn Pick Up
Buckthorn Pick Up registration deadline is Thursday October 24.
Residents with more than a large truck full of buckthorn may register for pick
up by our public works department during the week of October 28. Residents are
reminded to remove buckthorn by cutting and then treating the stems with
herbicide to prevent re-sprouting.
Academy Field Trips
Over a hundred 7th and
8th grade students from Higher Ground Academy (Somali and East
Africa attendees) visited the Nature Center this week to learn about Prairie
and Forest Ecosystems, process wildflower seeds and spread them. For
many, it was their first time hiking or walking in a natural environment.
Getting acclimated among the wet leaves, logs and trees was a bit of a challenge
but the students really seemed to enjoy discovering moss, fungi, galls and
viewing the colorful leaves and the wildlife around the pond.
Resource Base (MBRB) will be conducting archery hunts on the following dates in
Battle Creek Archery Hunt- Nov 4-6
Priory- Oct 25-27, Nov 15-17
Fish Creek (on Ramsey County land)- Oct
25-27, Nov 15-17
The Parks will
be closed during the hunts, and the entrance to Afton Heights will be
barricaded during the Battle Creek hunt. Signs have been posted at the Priory,
and letter mailed to the adjacent neighbors. Ramsey County is responsible for
notifications and posting signage for the Fish Creek and Battle Creek hunts.
now Maplewood’s paper of record
With Lillie News
going out of business, the Council has designated the Pioneer Press as
Maplewood’s official newspaper for hearing and meeting notices, publication of
ordinances, legal notices and other statutorily mandated announcements. You can
find the Pioneer Press online version at TwinCities.com.
NEWS FROM OUR
District 622 e-news for Wednesday,
October 16, 2019
At a glance
· Taste of
District 622 and Annual Craft Fair to be held at Tartan on November 2
· SPARC (Schools,
Parents & Resources Connecting) meets November 4
Visit the e-news webpage or open the
attached PDF to read this week's District 622 e-news.
Thanks for reading this week’s
FYI. Please call if you have any questions or concerns. Enjoy this fall
(hopefully dry) weekend. Melinda