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Issues of Concern that Affect Us All

Here we will discuss issues of concern that will affect our community now and for the future. 

These are issues that are a direct reflection on the lack of leadership and a lack of vision on this current Mayor and City Council 

According to the Analysis of 2017 Enforcement Action Report. 

Maplewood crime is higher. We definately need to address this and we need more police officers. I would like to get more police officers on the books as soon as possible. Our business 's are very concerned. Our neighborhood's  need the community policing program and the schools need the DARE Program back. 

In 2017 the Maplewood Police Department handled around 36,000 incidents, ranging from minor crimes and citizen assists, to federal narcotics trafficking cases. This is done in support of the department’s mission statement; “The Maplewood Police Department, in partnership with its citizens, will work to solve problems relating to crime and the fear of crime, with an emphasis on meeting community needs.”


According to the FBI’s 2016 Unified Crime Report, the City of Maplewood is significantly above the

National average and over double the State average for property crime. The rate of property crime

nationally is 2,450 incidents per 100,000 inhabitants, and the State rate is 2,133 per 100,000. The City of

Maplewood’s rate is 4,274 incidents per 100,000 inhabitants. Minnesota has lower violent crime than the

National average. The City of Maplewood has a slightly higher average than the State of Minnesota with

248 incidents per 100,000 inhabitants compared to 242 per 100,000.

International Human Trafficking in Maplewood. 

Human trafficking is a serious issue in our city. 

We need more police to be working on the increasing crime in our city.

The last of four suspects involved in an international sex trafficking ring that preyed on foreign-born women in Minnesota has pleaded guilty to her involvement in the operation, authorities say.

Sophia Wang Navas, 50, pleaded guilty Monday in Washington County District Court to one count of racketeering as well as a second count of aiding and abetting in sex trafficking, court records say.

Sophia Wang Navas

The Chino Hills, Calif., woman helped lead the criminal organization from her base on the West Coast, authorities say. She faces up to 12 years in prison when she is sentenced in late October, Washington and Ramsey county authorities say.

Vandals spray paint outside wall of mosque in Maplewood

This is not a reflection of our community. This is an action that will not be tolerated. Everyone in our community is our neighbor. Our community is one. We have confidence that our police department will find those responsible and charge them in accordance to the laws that apply. This is not acceptable. This will not be accepted.

Experience Matters

Crime is on the raise in our community. We need to utilize our available officers and resources in the most effective and efficient way possible. We must work together to help create a safe and crime free community. My goal is to have everyone here feel safe, secure and protected. I have worked security. I have been on ride a longs. I have taken range training and the necessity and use of lethal force. I have used the F.A.T.S. police training machine. The majority of my family is in law enforcement, has retired from law enforcement and or consults for or trains law enforcement. My experience as the Block Watch Captain along with my co captain has been a great experience. We worked and founded our Crime Watch Neighborhood. Our community's Block Watch Program is a great program for our city. We need to get more neighborhoods participating and more events and engagement throughout our community. We must address the increased crime here in our city. Crime affects everyone. Our economy. Our safety. Our security. Our sense of well being. I am eager to work with our law enforcement professionals to stop crime in our city.-Together we can make a difference.

The state of our city is declining. We must elect a new city council. A new Mayor, two new council members. I am working on another new commission that will bring forward a new revitalized approach to sustainable economic development and revitalization. We will be restructuring and reworking all commissions and board at our city. 

This is long overdue and according to most of the current commissioners that have contacted me. 

We must initiate new approaches and get political favors out of city hall. We must have the people as our priority. 

Together we can make a difference.

This council is still missing the root causes and issues causing the decline

of our business district. 

This is absolutely incredible. A full term plus an extra year that this council gave themselves. And this is a last minute attempt to give the perception that they've been working on this. The steep decline in our business district says a great deal. This is the worst it's ever been in the 55 years I've been here.

I've been meeting with business management and owners and we have plans of our own. They say they have not been approached and been asked their opinions . As a former manager for a national business chain and a community representative / liaison to the business district.

They have voiced their opinions loud and clear. They want new leadership and a new city council at Maplewood. They want people who are going to work and to stop the lip service and do the job. Talk is cheap and when they don't come with any ideas to remedy the issues facing our business district. It just shows how out of touch they are and how unresponsive and lacking vision they are.

The vision of the business district is not a regional vision. Nor does it demand being built around a BRT- Bus rapid transit line. That has nothing to do with their issues that the city has ignored for the entire time this council has been in office.

As for HealthEast. They have had their campus planned out since they came before the Maplewood Planning Commission long before they ever built and opened in 1985. My dad was on the Planning Commission and he has all that documentation. All of the current buildings were in the plan. In addition. They also have a building planned to house and train nursing staff. 

HealthEast is not a HUB- It is one of many businesses with small campuses  in our declining business district.

It's time for new leadership. One putting the people and our community first. 

It's time to address all of the issues facing our business district. The state of our city tells the truth about our city.

 It shows the lack of work and attentiveness by this council.

Wow-This is the state of our city.  There is so much to say about more businesses leaving our city. Anyone who is experienced in business management or with any common sense knows that businesses fail or close for a variety of reason. Many are due to under performance or the unrealistic demands put on them by inexperienced city councils.

Rainbow was a anchor store in our community for years. Sears was an anchor store in our city and in the Maplewood Mall for years. Both stores closed for several reasons. The one reason they both have at the top of their list in under performance. (You will see in the photo of the former Bremer Bank the bank vault soley standing in the forefront of the now deserted Sears building in the Maplewood Mall.)

Under performance is a key phrase that incorporates several meanings. It is most often used when circumstances outside their building are adversely affecting their business. Crime is the top reason that all businesses I talk with have listed as why they are leaving, have left or will not come here to our city.

This has been mentioned for years and now has increased to the point that businesses are demanding a change at our city council.

I agree. I am working with our business district and we will be making a positive change. Together we can make a difference.

Over a year and nothing has been done to remove this.

This graffiti is what is welcoming people coming into our city.

Un kept debris laying throughout of community in plain view of the public is another.

This is another sign of the state of our city.

This is a main entrance into our declining business district.

This tag has been here for over a year. Our councilmembers, city staff and our police drive on Beam Avenue. They should have taken action to remove it long before now.

They have had 5 years to remedy even the simplest of details to improve our city, yet this remains. This increases crime. This reflects the rising crime in our community.

Businesses don't want to come here. Many have left or are leaving. New residents’ question if they want to live here. This is something that should be a routine in crime prevention. The appearance of our city means everything. We must be proactive instead of reactive. The time for change it now.

We need a new city council. One that will do the work they are elected to do.

Common Sense Governance

How many times have you driven down Beam Avenue In our business district?  I know that I have seen our police department arrive on Beam Avenue I have seen city staff drive on Beam Avenue I've seen public works in Ramsey county public works drive on Beam Avenue I have even seen city council members driving on Beam Avenue. 

 Yet none of this has been addressed. 

Maybe if the City Council would concentrate on taking care of the needs of the city. It instead of trying to turn our city into something it's not. 

 We would have less the issues with crime and the steep decline of our business district.  We must elect a brand new city council and mayor.

 People look at our city and comment about how dumpy it looks. 

 We pay very high taxes here and our city should look alot better. 

We should have a thriving city. We should have an active city. We should have all of our fire stations open and fully operational to protect our city. We should have our own ambulance service. We should not have to rely on emergency responses from outside agencies. 

The looks of our city may only be a symptom of a larger underlying issue. Please know that the current state of our city tells the truth. Enough is enough. We needed a change. 


Once it's gone- It's gone.

In north Maplewood near our business district we have one recreational asset that many people use daily. The Vento Trail.

South Maplewood has many trails and Fish Creek and many hiking trails in Battle Creek Park. There are many places to hike, ski and walk and enjoy along with all of our city parks and preserves.

We must halt the plan for Bus Rapid Transit on the Vento Trail. It will destroy neighborhoods and our green way.

Pushing this BRT line on the trail will create a permanent divide of our community.

It will destroy the community engagement and unity along the proposed route.

It will jeopardize our Green Steps City program. It will hamped our healthy lifestyle and our enjoyment of our natural spaces.

It will destroy the trail that many love so dear.

It will destroy the one recreational asset that is in north Maplewood. 

Once it's gone it's gone. It will never be the same.

The Bus Rapid Transit route should be on TH HWY 61. The ridership is there. It is more cost effective and a more efficient use of all resources for Maplewood and other cities along the route.

We must elect a new council to stop this inappropriate plan.

Once it's built you never get that back. Nature destroyed.

Please share.

The citizens of Maplewood have one recreational asset in northern Maplewood . The Vento Trail. This route would destroy neighborhoods, private properties, habitat, our greenway. This trail is one of the few places that people with disabilities are able to access and enjoy nature at it's best while being close to avenues of accessibility The preferred route that would be most cost effective and efficient is on TH HWY 61. Plus, the riders are there. They are not on a nature trail in residential neighborhoods. The Maplewood group on Facebook "Save Our Trail " is working to stop this ill proposed action by Ramsey County and the city of Maplewood pushing it. It's time to put the will of the people first.

One street partially maintained with Mill & Over Lay. All of our roads can be maintained using this accepted and mostly used technique. Our roads used to always be done like this. When pipes need to be replaced. They can use the new sleeve insert method that is widely promoted and used as the new best practice. This is so roads don't required total reconstruction. The roads aren't torn up to replace the pipes. 

The end result is better then the original pipes. This is the method that our city should be using as our stand practice. Take out the excessive assessments and take out the major inconvenience and hardship off the taxpayers. There is a better way. With a new council. Together we will be using more effective and efficient methods to repair and maintain our roads and infrastructure.

Connectivity is really an illusion in our city. We really don't have entire routes where you can access one part of our city with the other. We can bike, walk or ride in some parts but they are not truly connected. Hwy 36 at Hazelwood. Years ago when I was little my neighbor was killed in a car crash crossing Hwy 36 at Hazelwood. The crossing there was closed. We were still able to at least access on and off both sides of the Hwy to enter our neighborhoods.

Now those entrances are gone. Thus- disconnecting our neighborhoods and separating community. This has occured on many areas of our city. Poor planning and creating issues from convenience, to longer response times from our already strained emergency services. Poor planning does not build community.

Another crime call for service in or business district today. It's sad that this is getting to be all to frequent. It's definately a sign of changing times. We need strong and experienced leadership to work on these and other issues facing our community. I'm ready to take this on. I have the experience and the leadership to meet this challenge and make the necessary changes to protect our community and to grow and develop our business district.

Now is the time to make a change. Our community is in decline and the crime is rises. The two go hand in hand. To recover our community we must stop crime. To grow our economy we must stop crime. To lessen the tax burden on the taxpayers. We must grow our economy. Together we can make a difference if we work together.  This declne never should have happened. It was all preventable.

Many of our roads in Maplewood are horrible. (the second and third photos). They are so neglected and in disrepair that they must be "replaced". Roseville does Mill & Overlay (the first photo) which Maplewood used to do also. Our roads lasted many years using that method and they were always in great shape. Now- the city's new method of lack of maintenance and disrepair and neglect is used to justify new road reconstruction with curb and gutters which are unnecessary and ill advised in some areas. The city wants to use "Living streets" as their model which also is not appropriate for some areas. 

The taxpayers don't want these reconstructions. They have already been excessively accessed for their roads and should not be forced to pay again. We already pay extremely high taxes in our city which is suppose to be used in part for our roads. The council also uses "Franchise fees" for roads. That is their justification of putting more monetary charges to the taxpayer. The council is elected to serve the citizens. Not to dictate and over tax them. They are not elected to police or to control them. To serve them is the role. We need to stop policies of wasteful spending and get back to basics that have positive and proven quality and lasting results.

Government should be meeting the needs of those they represent. They should not be taxing them out of their homes. They should not be creating projects and policies to police the taxpayers or to take away their property. With a new council we can work together to review and redefine policies that are of a negative impact on us the taxpayers. We have so many policies that are in contradiction of others in our city that we must review them all. 

We must protect our property rights and the rights of the people we are elected to represent. There are bad decisions being made that negatively impact our property rights. The Rushline BRT Project for one. That line should have gone down White Bear Avenue or TH HWY 61. Not down the Vento Trail. This route doesn't even make sense and it is a contraindication of safety and our habitat and other natural areas of health and recreation. In addition, This line is too close to residential housing and schools.

Vento Trail Train vs. BRT.

I grew up within a block of the trains. The signs actually say it was for future Light rail. Not transit corridor. 

It never mentioned anything about BRT. 

The trail is the wrong place for a bus that can easily and more efficiently be run on a dedicated BRT on TH Hwy 61 or White Bear Avenue.

 In addition. 

That's where all the ridership is already and that is where the most efficient use of the system would be.

Quality leadership would never disrupt residential areas or recreational areas for a unnecessary BRT route that can be better planned and constructed without putting the health, safety and enjoyment of the taxpayers at risk.

No vision. None.

Nora Slawik was elected to the City Council and started serving in January 2014. She and this council have had years to remedy these road issues. She has done little.  People are extremely upset. Where are our tax dollars going?

It's pretty sad when your grandchildren decide to create a new game as you drive through your community. "Dodge the potholes".

There are numerous roads in neglected condition. Roads that have gone years without maintenance as our own city staff has sad. So long that they are beyond repair and must be reconstructed at a very high assessment because pipes need to be replaced. Our own city staff also sad that our pipes are able to be lined which is cheaper and better in the long run. Plus you don't rip up the streets. Why hasn't that been the practice? That would have saved the taxpayers millions.

A resident forwarded to me the above photo and caption as quoted below. "What do you think is the number one complaint I get from residents in Maplewood? The poor condition of our roads. Thanks to Ananth for contacting me and showing me all the potholes and issues with his street. We have to do better."  Keep in mind that the Mayor and council changed the elections to even year elections and gave themselves an extra year on their original terms without voter input or approval. They raised our taxes. They have failed to repair our roads. Yet she turns out to do a photo shoot at election time about how we have to do better. This is extremely sad. Our roads our our lifeline to our jobs and our community and our schools, our supportive services and healthcare and yet she did nothing to remedy this the entire time she's been Mayor. This is disappointing. We deserve better and yes. This Mayor and council should have done better.

Public Trust

The public trust has been damaged and is desperate need of repair.

People are very upset at the things this council has done without our knowledge, behind the scenes and out of public view.

Some of the issues are listed below.

The list is long and it's very disheartening that the taxpayers, 

the residents,

the voters were disregarded in these and other important issues.

1.This council went behind the voters backs and gave themselves an entire year to their first term. *Without voter approval or input.

2. This council fired our part time firefighters without public input.

The public has the right to know. *Without taxpayer approval or input.

3. This council closed and sold some fire stations, Leaving our large city without proper emergency protection and coverage for our large city.

*Without taxpayer approval or input.

4. This council is closing another fire station according to the current mayor next year. Leaving our large city with only two (2) fire stations.

*Without taxpayer approval or input.

5. This council has neglected our roads and leaving them in disrepair to the point that reconstruction is necessary for some. Then they laugh and make jokes about it on televised City Council mtg of 9-10-2018.

*Without taxpayer approval or input.

6. This council approved a program to charge taxpayers another fee / fine for calling police for calls for service.

*Without taxpayer approval or input.

7. They have refused the voice of the taxpayers. The residents of our city at city council meetings.

*Without the approval or input of the voters.

8. This council has denied the voters. The residents access to public access programming of which we are paying for through franchise fees and taxes.

*Without taxpayer approval or input.

ETC.............

There is such a lack of transparency and so much damage to the public trust that it will take time to repair the damages that have been caused.

Without public trust and transparency we have nothing.

The public trust must be restored. I will be making this a priority in 2019 with a new council.- Together we can make a difference.

I always enjoy being approached in public and recognized. Today as I was grocery shopping after work. A couple of seniors were out getting their Saturday running done. The husband stopped and asked if I was the lady running for Mayor of Maplewood this election. I replied yes I am. The man threw his arms up and slapped his cart and said. "Thank you. We need a change." The mans wife approached and was I thought was allergy sniffing. Instead her eyes glazed with tears. She said that the cost of living in Maplewood is too high for them. They are going to have to sell the home that they have lived in for over 68 years and move to a smaller home in another city. 

This is absolutely heartbreaking to me. Nobody of any age should be taxed out of their homes and away from their community, family and friends and much needed services. This should not happen. We need to make a change. Too many of our community members are being put in hardship positions because of the high taxes and wasteful spending by this council. This is happening to people of all ages in our community. This must stop.

Another sign of business gone. Unfortunately this is another medical provider leaving our city.

I remember growing up here and watching from my house the construction of Beam Avenue and the Maplewood Mall.  I remember that my folks kept saying that even though the country life was changing and the fields would not longer be dark at night. The growth and development of our community was important to our futures. We would have a great life in our city with great opportunities to serve and to live. It is so sad to see our city in such a state of decline. The vacant businesses. The empty store fronts, the vacancy signs everywhere and the lights off once again. I am committed to filling these empty spaces so our nest generation will experience the growth and development of the changing community that we call home. Maplewood. 

Building a community and community partnerships is important. Empty business parking lots during the work day will not build our economy or enhance our community development. I have a history of building community partnerships. I have worked in education, healthcare, social services, county, state and local government. I was the president of the Ramsey County League of Local Governments for the maximum terms allowed. 

I have years of community involvement building positive and beneficial partnerships. To create a positive community foundation. This is what we need. NON-political sincere and genuine relationship building. Building partnerships that will last. Our community must make a change. We need a new city council. Please join me on this mission to improve the community that we call home. Together we can make a difference.

#Togetherwecanmakeadifference#MaplewoodStrong

Our city should not be raising our taxes so they can go out and buy up property. That is not their role.The taxpayers are not the bank for the city. The city is supposed to be working for the taxpayers. Instead they fire our part time firefighters. The close 40% of our fire stations. They sell our fire stations. They don't hire enough police to protect our city effectively. Our businesses our leaving our city. Our roads are horrible. 

Our community center is declining deeper into the red. Buying property is another attempt at a quick money grab by this council. It's shameful. The people should be the priority. Our council should be working on lowering taxes, building our economy and bringing in new businesses with sustainable jobs while enhancing our current business district. #Togetherwecanmakeadifference#MaplewoodStrong

Recreational and transit should not share space. 

The safety of the people should be the priority.

I believe that the Bruce Vento trail should stay a strictly recreational trail for safe public use. I grew up watching the trains going through my neighborhood and it was always a dangerous place to be close to. There were accidents on the tracks, Track fires and it was no place for children or families to recreate. To compare BRT to a train may be non consequential to some. It brings many real issues about sharing recreational space and transit space together. It's not a good idea. I have a great deal to say on this issue and I have several people that have contacted me regarding the trail. So far. We all agree that a better route would be on White Bear Avenue or TH Hwy 61. These options would have also been more efficient and more cost effective.

We must protect and invest in our public employees.

Bad decisions, by inexperienced decision makers approving privatization policies lead directly to cutbacks in government investment in skill development and to reductions in workers’ pay and benefits. This affects our community.

In turn, workers have less income to invest in their households, their children and their neighborhoods—leaving individuals and their communities poorly served in the present and ill prepared for the future. Our city has cut essential services, closed fire stations, sold fire stations and fired our part time firefighters and our Maplewood Community Center employees.

Regardless of level of government, the story of privatization remains much the same. Elected leaders, often under legislative or political pressure from their political party, try to reduce spending or taxes by relying on contractors for services instead.



With me. This would never happen. As an experienced business manager. I know the value of employees and I invest in them. 

As an experienced business manager. I know how to train, appraise and goal set to meet and exceed the expectations of my business and my employees.  I had great results and a great team of 182 dedicated employees.   My employees  were committed to their goals and to being the best they could be and wanted to be part of a great team. 

We need to invest in our public employees to get our best return for our tax dollars.

Government privatizer's turn over huge swaths of public service work to private contractors—jobs such as corrections officers, nursing aides, teachers, school support personnel, clerks, waste haulers, food service workers and many others.


This has a great impact on our community.

Public workers are a strong part of our community. We must invest in them and make sure they know they’re valued.

Where you live matters.

Congratulations to Maplewood’s Mayor Nora Slawik on her marriage, this past May, to Mark Buckwheat. The couple homestead in Lake Elmo, Washington County.

Mnwashington.manatron.com/…/…/AccountDetail/BillDetail.aspx…

https://web1.co.washington.mn.us/…/AY18-34.029.21.41.0034.p…

On Friday, August 10, 2018, I attended the funeral of longtime resident and community leader, Annemarie Fosburgh, age 89, who had been active in shaping Maplewood and served as an election judge for 40 years. While there, Representative Leon Lillie stopped by my table to say “Hi.” When asked if he had been over to Nora’s homestead in Lake Elmo yet, he stated he hadn’t been there yet, that he wasn’t able to go because he had something else to do. Keep in mind Leon and Nora are “best of buds” from their time of serving together in the MN State Legislature.

Should the residents of Maplewood re-elect a Maplewood mayor who homesteads in Lake Elmo, in Washington County? Read the MN Statute to find the answer.

Minn. Stat. 351.02: … office shall become vacant on the happening of ….

(4) the incumbent's ceasing to be an inhabitant of the ….city for which the incumbent was elected…..

The answer, plain and simple, is “No.”

Maplewood is my hometown, where I have lived my entire life, raised my children and served the community in both volunteer and elected positions.

There is no question as to where my homestead is.

Thank you so much for your continued support. I am truly blessed to have so many people who are so engaged and inspired to be a part of my vision for our community. For our city. Here are the documents that define the purpose of dissolving the Minnesota State office of the Ramsey Conservation District. 

The RCD has been absorbed by Ramsey County Parks and Recreation.

Click this text to start editing. This simple title and text block is great for welcome or explanatory text. When writing, try to keep things down to a few lines at a time. Break up your content into different blocks to keep your page interesting.

MWFD Fire/EMS Cadet Program - Apply Today



The ink isn't even dry on the settlement of the fired part time firefighters that this council has cost the taxpayers yet.

Please note- It was at the last council meeting that the council voted to accept the settlement of the fired part time fire fighters.

It was also advertised the very same morning for new fire fighters and they hadn't even accepted the settlement yet.

This is a new recently posted recruiting video.

This is shameful-

This chief also got rid of our volunteer fire fighters years ago. They were the foundation of our community. They had dances, dinners, community events, fundraisers. They were awesome. The presence in our community of a strong and united fire department is critical in our emergency responses. Our EMS department will be beyond compare. We will rebuild our fire department via personnel. Our police department will be strong in unity and in numbers. Our community will be safer, stronger and better.

I have a lifetime of working with various agencies and emergency response personnel. 

I know that value of those professionals and in Maplewood they have not been valued. It's shameful.

Please support me as Mayor and two new council members in this election cycle.

https://youtu.be/qxYRksVvi-Q

Together we can make a difference.



While the current Mayor is preparing for her re election and the St. Paul White Bear Avenue Parade. 

(This is  to kick off the Ramsey County Fair. Which of course is not a Maplewood Community Event it's a Ramsey County event)

I am meeting and working with Maplewood businesses to put together a plan to bring businesses into our city and to build our economy. We are working to replace all the businesses that have left our city and to prepare remedies for all of the reasons they left our city.

Taking the Burden Off the Taxpayer

In my first year I'll will direct the city manager to re examine the fees recently passed. How can we lower the burden on citizens. 


These excessive fees on top of our already high taxes need to be researched and reexamined.

We pay high taxes in our city and they keep getting higher. 


Our roads should be in much better condition then they are now even if they were only supported by our high tax dollars.

Sadly, the city is too focused on reconstruction projects that they have purposefully waited for years to maintain roads. Letting them go neglected until they are in such disrepair and not maintained. They must be replaced according to them. I just drove through our neighboring community of Roseville They do Mill & Overlay. That is what I have wanted done in our city for years. They used to do it all the time and our roads were great. To neglect roads to justified expensive reconstruction is shameful. Our high taxes already pay for our roads. We are not getting our tax dollars worth in our city anymore. This is shameful and We deserve better.

 This council keeps raising our taxes, creating new fees. Raising franchise fees. All in the name of road repairs and maintenance. Clearly. That is not where all the money is going. It is time for a new mayor and a new council. We need a fresh start.  We cannot have a council with no sense of financial boundaries. No sense of fiscal responsibility. This mayor and council are writing checks they cannot cash at our taxpayer expense.  They need to realize that we the taxpayers are not banks. We cannot afford the mayors rich lifestyle and the councils irresponsible spending habits. This is Maplewood, Minnesota. Not Manhattan NY.

We need leadership that will protect the pocketbooks of the taxpayers while getting the job done.  

3M Corporate welfare rewards for contaminating our community and those of our surrounding community partners.

Here is a recent article about more drinking water emergency's. 

Please think about how the quick un-researched decisions by our city council affects our surrounding communities.  Just think about how the victims of the 3M water contamination think about our city council rewarding and praising 3M for everything they do to protect the environment.  That's insulting and sickening. 

Our city must step up and actively engage in not only working to clean and protect our drinking water but to help our surrounding community partners. I will put an end to the habit that our city is in by doing favors for 3M. I will never reward a company for their business being in our city. 

Rewards aren't the role of government.  There are many other ways to support businesses to help themselves to be successful.

In a game of environmental whack-a-mole, underground pollution in Washington County is popping up and shutting down city wells.

Officials have closed 16 wells in five cities because of the unpredictable ebbs and flows of PFCs made by the 3M Co.

The latest is in St. Paul Park, which recently shut down two of its three wells because the pollution in the water doubled. The levels of pollution have danced above and below safety limits in Oakdale, Woodbury, Lake Elmo and Cottage Grove — making it a harrowing and expensive problem to solve.

“The one thing you don’t mess with is people’s drinking water. They freak out,” said Kevin Walsh, St. Paul Park’s city administrator.

Officials are baffled by the pollution levels that should — theoretically — be dropping.

The perfluorochemicals, or PFCs, were dumped into landfills in the 1970s and discovered in drinking water in 2004. Since then, the levels of PFCs in human blood and in Mississippi River fish have dropped sharply, as have the levels in most wells.

Yet in city after city, the pollution can mysteriously flare up over safety limits.

“People envision pollution as an underground river or lake, but that’s not it,” said Ginny Yingling, hydrogeologist with the state Department of Health. (Yingling served on the Maplewood Environmental and Natural Resources Commission with me)

The PFCs do not steadily emanate from the sites where 3M legally dumped them. Instead, the plumes of pollution slowly flicker, pulse, disappear and re-form.

Over decades, the polluted water slips around broken and uneven layers of underground rock. “The water is twisting and turning and wending its way,” said Yingling.

The shape of the plumes can be changed by humans. When a water well is turned on, for example, it sucks up water and pollution-bearing water flows in to replace it.

Even well-intentioned environmental actions can cause pollution surges.

In 2009, a landfill in Lake Elmo was excavated so a plastic liner could be installed. That may have prevented a long-term leak of the PFCs, said Yingling, but in the short term, it backfired.

Digging up the material, exposing it to the air and letting rainwater seep into it sent an underground surge of pollution into Lake Elmo.

“We saw a little pulse of chemicals moving away,” said Yingling. “It is surprising, but that’s what can happen when you mess around with the source areas.”

Another reason the plumes shimmer and pulse is that the pollution exists in incredibly small quantities. Environmental PFCs are measured in parts per trillion; for perspective, a trillion seconds equals 33,000 years.

With levels on that scale, the shape of a plume can be changed in an instant.


PFCs that exist within safety limits today could be declared unsafe, if the safety limits were lowered.

This has happened before. In May 2017, state officials slashed the acceptable amount of two types of PFCs in half — to less than 35 parts per trillion.

The move effectively labeled eight out of the 11 wells in Cottage Grove as unsafe.

That triggered a cascade of responses — shutting one city well, putting filters on others, imposing an outdoor watering ban. The city anticipates spending $15 million on the temporary fixes to the problem, and is asking the state for a $50 million water-treatment center.

When pollution is detected, state officials never order that polluted wells be closed. They inform the cities of the pollution levels, and city officials decide how to respond.

Which is why the responses vary so much.

Lake Elmo reacted quickly after the pollution was discovered in 2004. Two of the city’s four wells were shut down, and the city spent “tens of millions” piping clean water to well-closure areas, according to city administrator Kristina Handt.

Oakdale adapted, too, but didn’t spend nearly as much money.

In 2006, the city found that six of its nine wells were polluted. The city shut wells down, dug a new one and installed filters on the water system. 3M paid $4.7 million for the filtering system, but it has not paid to improve any other city’s water system.

Two of Oakdale’s closed wells have been reopened with filtering systems, and four remain unused.

Woodbury, too, seemed to adjust fairly easily. Five of the city’s wells are polluted, but the city was able to make up the difference with its 14 other wells.

St. Paul Park officials thought they might escape unscathed. But that was before the sneak attack on Well No. 4.

In 2010, that well had 10 parts per trillion for one pollutant called PFOA, which was far below safety limits. But by last May, something underground shifted — and the pollution surged nearly four times higher to almost 40 parts per trillion. The pollution in two other wells doubled.

Officials were flabbergasted. Suddenly, the city is limping along with one water well.

New watering restrictions are in place. The single well could not provide enough water to fight a large fire, said public works supervisor Jeff Dionisopoulos, who would have to use water from the polluted wells.

The city will spend $3.8 million on a temporary filtration system, expected to be operational by the end of the year.

In addition, said Dionisopoulos, the city is looking at the possibility of building a permanent water-filtration facility.

PFCs have caused thyroid problems, birth defects and cancer in laboratory mice when given in mega-doses but have not been proven to cause health problems in human beings. Traces of PFCs have been detected in people and animals around the world.

Last year, the state attorney general sued 3M for $5 billion for allegedly damaging the environment with the PFCs. In February, 3M settled the suit for $850 million, and the attorney general’s office said the money will be spent to ensure safe drinking water and protect natural resources.

Advisory groups are being formed to recommend ways to spend that money — and city officials hope their water-system improvements will qualify.

Hydrogeologist Yingling said it’s surprising to see bursts of pollution develop, 14 years after it was first discovered. But she said there’s nothing that can stop them.

St. Paul Park is not sitting on an underground lake of pollution, but is getting whacked by the flailing tail of a pollution plume.

“It is getting a little contamination from Oakdale, and possibly Lake Elmo, flowing intermittently to the Mississippi River,” said Yingling.

“St. Paul Park is on the downstream end of everything. We have a lot of moving parts going on there.”

This report contains information from Forum News Service.

Maplewood OK’s tax increment financing for 3M project

Submitted by admin1 on Wed, 07/31/2013 - 9:50pm

By:

Johanna Holub

The project area for the research and development building is part of the 28-acre 3M corporate headquarters, located on the corner of McKnight and Conway avenues in Maplewood. (submitted graphic)

$156 million R&D building will house 700 employees

At the July 22 city council meeting, Maplewood officials held a public hearing and voted to establish a tax-increment financing district with 3M for the construction of a new research and development laboratory on its 28-acre campus on the corner of McKnight and Conway avenues.

The TIF agreement will help 3M move forward with the project, which is estimated to cost around $156 million and will house about 700 employees and support staff when it is completed in two years. These employees already work for 3M, but will be relocated into the new 400,000-square-foot building.

The property value of the project area, where the R&D facility will be built, will be frozen and any property value increase over the term of the agreement will count as “incremental value.” The property taxes paid on the incremental value then are placed into a TIF account, which is used to pay the expenditures of the redevelopment project.

The term of the 3M TIF agreement is 25 years and will begin after the date of the first increment in 2015.

At the meeting, Tom Denaway, an analyst with Springsted Incorporated, gave a presentation detailing the specifics of the TIF agreement. Springsted Inc. has been working with the city and 3M to prepare the plan.

“3M and the city worked together to receive special (state) legislation which provided special authority to the city,” Denaway explained. “The city now has the ability to create more TIF districts within the project area (the 3M campus)...and removes the blight requirement for redevelopment.”

Normally, for a project to be classified as “redevelopment,” there must be some level of blight - whether aesthetic, physical or financial - on the property. Then, 90 percent of the TIF dollars would need to go toward removing that blight.

However, with the new legislation, the city was able to bypass that requirement so all of the TIF funds would be spent within the project area.

Agreement to retain 700 employees

For the city, one of the most attractive reasons for helping 3M with the facility is the retention of about 700 R&D employees.

3M made it clear to the city that but for the TIF aid, the company would not be able to keep those positions in Maplewood. This “but-for” provision played a large role in city council members’ decision to garner their support.

“The 3M position is that they need to upgrade their facilities to retain and attract the scientists and technical employees that will serve the company for the next 15-20 years,” the agenda item reads. “They have indicated that many of their current staff are nearing retirement and as they compete for the ‘brightest and best,’ they want their Maplewood campus to reflect an attractive and state-of-the-art facility and campus.”

City manager Chuck Ahl informed the council that the average salary for the R&D employees is about $50 an hour. In order to ensure that the employees will stay on the Maplewood 3M campus, the two parties will enter into a business subsidy agreement. This agreement allows 3M to formally present employee and wage goals for the R&D facility, and those numbers must be met within a few years of development in order to continue receiving TIF money.

“If those goals aren’t met, the development agreement provides that the TIF that has been paid would be repaid to the city,” Denaway said.

Each year, 3M will provide documentation to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development proving that it is reaching those goals.

Housing and economic development commission member Mark Jenkins said that he believes the benefit of retaining those employees outweighs the cost of the TIF.

“(The agreement) preserves 700 jobs and prevents the relocation of 700 area residents who spend their money at Maplewood’s small businesses and support our community,” he said. “I estimate those employees have about a $72 million regional impact.”

Possibility for future development

Denaway explained that the redevelopment project meets specific city criteria including the maximum opportunity for development, conformity to the city’s development plans and that without the TIF, the project would not be able to move forward.

“Because the TIF is being used, the amount of value that’s being generated would be much greater than if it weren’t being used,” Denaway said. “We assume that very limited growth would occur on the site if not for the TIF assistance.”

In addition to the R&D building, 3M has agreed to reinvest an additional $50 million in its campus by 2022. This will include at least one more building project, not including the R&D facility.

Originally, Maplewood had hoped to construct a new fire station just north of the new R&D building on the 3M campus, but the legislation was not approved.



The TIF agreement will allow the city to capture 20 percent of future revenue from the project, about $1.25 million, which the city will use to fund the construction of the fire station.

Approval from city officials

After hearing positive remarks from members of the planning commission as well as the housing and economic development commission, the council opened the public hearing. No comments were made, so the council voted unanimously to pass three resolutions regarding the TIF agreement.

The first two resolutions develop and execute the TIF plan, and the third allows the city to use money from the TIF account to finance the project.

“Now that all this has been approved, 3M is going to start work almost immediately,” Ahl said. “The project will get going right away.”

Mayor Will Rossbach expressed his appreciation to 3M and city staff as they negotiated the agreement over the course of the last year.

“This has been a long process for both entities involved, and probably during the negotiations had some interesting moments, but I think we felt all along that we would eventually get to a point of resolution that was satisfactory to both parties,” Rossbach remarked. “We are very appreciative of the chance to partner with a company of this stature.”Council member Kathy Juenemann reminded 3M that Maplewood recently became a Step 3 GreenStep city for its sustainability and environmental practices.

“Since you are always trying to be an environmentally friendly company ... you’re in the right place,” she said.

Johanna Holub can be reached at [email protected] or 651-748-7814.

We must have two new members elected to our Maplewood City Council. 3M has taken so much away from our city at taxpayer/community expense. They have contaminated our water and our environment and Kathy Juenemann praises that. Corporate welfare to 3M when taxpayers are loosing their homes. Shameful.

I am all about transparency. I want everyone to be information and educated on the topics that matter. Our city council has been less than transparent. What about 40%of our fire stations being closed. The man reported it over a year before it happened and was bullied and called a liar and other nasty names. The FBI investigation. What happened with that? If there was nothing to it. Our city council would have shouted that to the highest. The firing of our part time fire relief personnel. Absolutely shameful. How about denying our chief of police more officers when he requested them? Crime is damaging our business district and our community The police should have been a priority over a 2nd community center at Wakefield Park. Our fire fighters should have been a priority over going to the mall and laughing.

Stay up to date with everything Kid City has planned via Facebook, Twitter, and our hashtag #KidCityMN.

The program below is an expense that is unnecessary and this council should have invested in our essential services instead.

#Exciting things are on the way in 2018!

Everyone is invited to the August LAUGH IN: Celebrate Maplewood's Day of Laughter with the Joke Swap Challenge, performances and lots of laughs at Edgerton Park. FREE fun for the entire family!

Maplewood Parks & Recreation's Celebrate Summer Events: Jump into creative mayhem and fun surprises with KID CITY artists at these FREE Wednesday night events at various Maplewood Parks.


Upcoming Kid City Programs:

Somalia's Balloon, June 6 from 6:00pm - 7:30pm at Afton Heights Park

Giant Birds Puppet Lab, July 4 from 6:00pm - 7:30pm at Hazelwood Park (Light it up Maplewood Celebration)

A La Carte, July 18 from 6:00pm - 7:30pm at MCC/YMCA

Community Night, August 2 from 6:00pm - 7:30pm at Gladstone Park

3rd Annual Laugh In, August 22 from 6:00pm - 7:30pm at Edgerton Park

Kid City Programming Overview:

Laughter Labs - Get Maplewood laughing! Explore humor from all angles with jokes, improv and clowning around.

Laugh In - On August 22, 2018, the entire community is invited to celebrate Maplewood's 3rd Annual Day of Laughter at Edgerton Park.

Laughter Museums - Hee hee hee and ha ha ha. At these interactive kiosks you can hear laughter and see a funny face gallery of Maplewood youth and adults.

Brainstorm Theater - Brainstorm, improvise and act out solutions to real-life challenges in Maplewood. Share your ideas with the City!

KID CITY Council - Youth explore the stories of community organizations and individuals who are making a positive, creative contribution to making Maplewood strong.

Happy Places - Where is your Happy Place? Design your own toy theater and use green screen video to put yourself in your Happy Place.

My City Parks - Explore ideas to bring citizens of Maplewood together across divides by collaboratively envisioning and creating models of parks and public art. Make miniature versions of your ideal city parks which will be presented, video recorded and shown to the Maplewood City Council.

Celebrate Summer - Free outdoor events at various Maplewood Parks. Explore your creative side with fun activities for all ages

I. UNFINISHED BUSINESS

1. Resolution Adopting Revised Assessment Roll, Farrell-Ferndale Area Street

Improvements, City Project 17-18

J. NEW BUSINESS

1. Beebe Meadows, SVK Development, LLC, 2135 Larpenteur Avenue

a. Comprehensive Plan Amendment (4 votes)

b. Zoning Map Amendment

c. Preliminary Plat

2. Repeal of Coin-Operated Amusement Devices Ordinance

3. Maplewood Fire Relief Association

a. Special Legislation

b. Settlement Agreement – Intent to Close Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes

§13D.05, subd. 3(b), Attorney-Client Privilege

AGENDA

MAPLEWOOD CITY COUNCIL

7:00 P.M. Monday, June 25, 2018

Maplewood City Hall – Council Chambers

Meeting No. 12-18

CITY COUNCIL STAFF REPORT

Meeting Date June 25, 2018

REPORT TO: Melinda Coleman, City Manager

REPORT FROM: Mike Funk, Assistant City Manager/HR Director

PRESENTER: Melinda Coleman, City Manager

Ron Batty, Kennedy & Graven

Mike Funk, Assistant City Manager/HR Director

AGENDA ITEM: Maplewood Fire Relief Association

a. Special Legislation

b. Settlement Agreement – Intent to Close Pursuant to Minnesota

Statutes §13D.05, subd. 3(b), Attorney-Client Privilege

Action Requested:  Motion ☐ Discussion ☐ Public Hearing

Form of Action: ☐ Resolution ☐ Ordinance  Contract/Agreement ☐ Proclamation

Policy Issue:

There are two items on the agenda for council consideration as it relates to the Maplewood Fire Relief Association regarding the final steps in the transition to a full-time/career Fire/EMS Department.

The first item is to approve Special Legislation that was recently approved by the Minnesota State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Dayton. The second item staff recommends the City Council close the regular meeting and proceed into a closed session to discuss the consideration of a Settlement Agreement related to the City’s litigation against the Maplewood Fire Relief Association.

Recommended Action:

a. Motion to approve the Special Legislation as presented.

b: Staff recommends the following two motions:

1. To proceed to the closed session: Motion to close the regular meeting pursuant to

Minnesota Statutes §13D.05, subd. 3(b), attorney-client privilege, to discuss pending

litigation and Settlement Agreement related to the Maplewood Fire Relief Association.

2. Once out of closed session and back in regular session the City Council may take the

following recommended action: Motion to approve the Settlement Agreement.

Fiscal Impact:

Is There a Fiscal Impact? ☐ No  Yes, the true or estimated cost is TBD at closed session.

Financing source(s): ☐ Adopted Budget ☐ Budget Modification ☐ New Revenue Source

☐ Use of Reserves  Other: Discussed at closed session.

J3 Packet Page Number 438 of 441

Strategic Plan Relevance:

☐ Financial Sustainability ☐ Integrated Communication ☐ Targeted Redevelopment

☐ Operational Effectiveness ☐ Community Inclusiveness ☐ Infrastructure & Asset Mgmt.

N/A

Background

More information provided during the meeting.

Attachments

1. Special Legislation

2. The proposed Settlement Agreement will be presented during closed session

The council hasn't even voted in public view yet and they already posted to hire. Shame on them.

Firefighters Pensions-In fight to replace part-time firefighters, Maplewood sues, alleging financial shenanigans

Maplewood decided to switch to a full-time staffing model in the fire department in January in response to increased calls and a decreased part-time staff.

City staff proposed severance packages and a March 9 termination date to the association, and the city council approved the packages Feb. 12.

Before the council approved the decision, members of the association expressed concern that the city would not offer what they considered to be fair severance packages. The packages were approved without agreement from the relief association.

The city said the severance packages were fair and generous, as ordered by the council. Jeff Morgan, a member of the relief association, strongly disagreed. -By S. M. CHAVEY | [email protected] | Pioneer Press

PUBLISHED: February 28, 2018 at 10:18 pm | UPDATED: March 2, 2018 at 11:33 am

25 Part-Time Firefighters to Lose Jobs in Maplewood

Another sad example of our city's lack of leadership.  We are paying much higher taxes and getting much less bang for our bucks. 

Before the closing of 40 % of  our fire stations and the destruction of our once thriving and very popular volunteer firefighter program. We had great response times and great service. Service from our neighbors. Our fellow members of our churches, our community our schools our work in some cases.

Here are some of the stories about the changes that have come at the expense of our community and the taxpayers.

January 18, 2018 06:35 PM

At least 25 part-time firefighters in Maplewood are expected to lose their jobs in a matter of months.

The fire department is planning to transition to a new system where the community will be served only by full-time personnel.

While the move will help position the department to better respond to an increase in emergency calls, firefighters said it could have been handled differently.

Maplewood Chief of EMS Michael Mondor said the administration reached the decision after commissioning a year-long study.

The change means eliminating 25 part-time positions and adding six full-time positions.

“These people have given a lot to this community and it's difficult to make these decisions,” Mondor said. “There was disappointment. There is a lot of emotional attachment with the services we deliver.”

One firefighter described the decision as more than just disappointing.

“We don’t understand why there isn’t room for a gradual transition," said the firefighter, whom KSTP agreed not to name. "Ramping up full-time staff over a few years… and why such an option was never discussed.”

Mondor argues the administration has tried to be fair and open.

“I realize this is a difficult transition, and the communication is not always perfect, but we have engaged them to try to make this process go as smoothly as possible,” he said.

Mondor said the new system is expected to shave a few seconds off response time – going from 8.3 minutes to a straight eight minutes.

The firefighters had a closed door meeting Wednesday night with the city. There remains a dispute over severance pay, their pension and also a cut-off date.

The city proposed the 25 firefighters impacted have their lockers cleaned out by the start of March.

Credits

Ryan Raiche

Updated: January 18, 2018 06:35 PM

Created: January 18, 2018 04:55 PM

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company



SF 3585 -Senator Wiger Chief Authored this bill by request To Fire Our Relief Firefighters #Shameful! This puts our city at risk.

as introduced - 90th Legislature (2017 - 2018) Posted on 03/27/2018 09:14am

SF 3585

Status in the Senate for the 90th Legislature (2017 - 2018)

Current bill text: As Introduced

Add SF 3585 to MyBills

Version List Companion: HF4162;

Companion Text

House Search Revisor number: 18-7165

Long Description Committee Hearings and Actions Senate Counsel & Research Summary

Description

Maplewood firefighters relief association distribution prohibition, condition satisfaction, and dissolution

Authors

Wiger ; by request

Actions

Separated Chronological

Senate

03/19/2018 Introduction and first reading pg. 6785 Intro

03/19/2018 Referred to State Government Finance and Policy and Elections

03/22/2018 Chief author stricken Rosen pg. 6930

03/22/2018 Chief author added Wiger (by request)

03/26/2018 Withdrawn and returned to author pg. 6990

Version List Authors and Status

Bill Text Versions

Engrossments

Introduction Pdf Posted on 03/16/2018

Jump to page/line #

eg. 2.1

A bill for an act

relating to retirement; Maplewood Firefighters Relief Association; modifying

distribution requirements; requiring dissolution.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1. DISTRIBUTION PROHIBITED UNTIL CONDITION SATISFIED.

(a) The Maplewood Firefighters Relief Association shall not make a distribution of

benefits to any member or pay any expenses, except usual and customary administrative

expenses, until the relief association either:

(1) obtains the consent of the governing body of the city of Maplewood to any amendment

of the articles of incorporation, bylaws, or plan document of the relief association adopted

since January 1, 2018, that is intended to convert the relief association's plan from a defined

benefit plan to either a hybrid defined benefit and defined contribution plan or a defined

contribution plan; or

(2) pays to the city of Maplewood the lesser of:

(i) an amount equal to the surplus over full funding as determined under Minnesota

Statutes, section 424A.092, subdivision 3, paragraph (b), clause (3), based on an audited

annual financial statement for the year ended December 31, 2017; or

(ii) an amount equal to all contributions made by the city of Maplewood to the special

fund of the relief association since the establishment of the Maplewood Fire Department

on January 1, 1997.

(b) Any payment to the city of Maplewood under paragraph (a), clause (2), shall be

credited to the general fund of the city of Maplewood and used for expenditures related to

firefighting or emergency medical services.

EFFECTIVE DATE. This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Sec. 2. DISSOLUTION OF THE MAPLEWOOD FIREFIGHTERS RELIEF

ASSOCIATION.

(a) The Maplewood Firefighters Relief Association is dissolved as of December 31,

2018. The dissolution shall occur in accordance with Minnesota Statutes, section 424B.20,

as if the city of Maplewood had dissolved or eliminated its fire department. The board of

trustees of the relief association shall take all actions necessary or required to dissolve the

relief association under Minnesota Statutes, section 424B.20, including transferring the

assets of the special fund as required by Minnesota Statutes, section 424B.20, subdivision

4, and winding up the affairs of the relief association as required by Minnesota Statutes,

section 424B.20, subdivision 5.

(b) In the event that the board of trustees of the relief association fails to complete all

activities required to dissolve the relief association by January 31, 2019, the city of

Maplewood shall appoint a three-member board to replace the board of trustees. The

three-member board shall be responsible for completing the dissolution of the relief

association pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 424B.20.

EFFECTIVE DATE. This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Line numbers1.11.21.31.4

1.51.61.71.81.91.101.111.121.131.141.151.161.171.181.191.202.12.22.3

2.4

2.52.62.72.82.92.102.112.122.132.142.152.162.172.182.19

2.20

HF 4162 As Authored By Representative Fischer this election year

HF 4162

Status in the House for the 90th Legislature (2017 - 2018)

Current bill text: As Introduced

Add HF 4162 to MyBills

Version List Companion: SF3585;

Companion Text

Senate Search Revisor number: 18-7165

Long Description Further Committee Actions House Research Summary

Description

Maplewood Firefighters Relief Association distribution requirements modified, and dissolution required.

Authors

Fischer

Actions

Separated Chronological

House

03/22/2018 Introduction and first reading, referred to Government Operations and Elections Policy pg. 7691 Intro

05/20/2018 Motion to return bill to author, motion prevailed pg. 11822

Retrieve by number

HF 4162

as introduced - 90th Legislature (2017 - 2018) Posted on 05/29/2018 08:22am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language. underscored = added, new language.

PdfRtf

Version List Authors and Status

Jump to page/line #

eg. 2.1

A bill for an act

relating to retirement; Maplewood Firefighters Relief Association; modifying

distribution requirements; requiring dissolution.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1. DISTRIBUTION PROHIBITED UNTIL CONDITION SATISFIED.

(a) The Maplewood Firefighters Relief Association shall not make a distribution of

benefits to any member or pay any expenses, except usual and customary administrative

expenses, until the relief association either:

(1) obtains the consent of the governing body of the city of Maplewood to any amendment

of the articles of incorporation, bylaws, or plan document of the relief association adopted

since January 1, 2018, that is intended to convert the relief association's plan from a defined

benefit plan to either a hybrid defined benefit and defined contribution plan or a defined

contribution plan; or

(2) pays to the city of Maplewood the lesser of:

(i) an amount equal to the surplus over full funding as determined under Minnesota

Statutes, section 424A.092, subdivision 3, paragraph (b), clause (3), based on an audited

annual financial statement for the year ended December 31, 2017; or

(ii) an amount equal to all contributions made by the city of Maplewood to the special

fund of the relief association since the establishment of the Maplewood Fire Department

on January 1, 1997.

(b) Any payment to the city of Maplewood under paragraph (a), clause (2), shall be

credited to the general fund of the city of Maplewood and used for expenditures related to

firefighting or emergency medical services.

EFFECTIVE DATE. This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Sec. 2. DISSOLUTION OF THE MAPLEWOOD FIREFIGHTERS RELIEF

ASSOCIATION.

(a) The Maplewood Firefighters Relief Association is dissolved as of December 31,

2018. The dissolution shall occur in accordance with Minnesota Statutes, section 424B.20,

as if the city of Maplewood had dissolved or eliminated its fire department. The board of

trustees of the relief association shall take all actions necessary or required to dissolve the

relief association under Minnesota Statutes, section 424B.20, including transferring the

assets of the special fund as required by Minnesota Statutes, section 424B.20, subdivision

4, and winding up the affairs of the relief association as required by Minnesota Statutes,

section 424B.20, subdivision 5.

(b) In the event that the board of trustees of the relief association fails to complete all

activities required to dissolve the relief association by January 31, 2019, the city of

Maplewood shall appoint a three-member board to replace the board of trustees. The

three-member board shall be responsible for completing the dissolution of the relief

association pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 424B.20.

EFFECTIVE DATE. This section is effective the day following final enactment.


Closing of Our Firestations

Maplewood city council approves changes for a more efficient fire department- This article was written and originally made public  by Lillie News as

Submitted by admin on Wed, 01/31/2018 - 11:09am  By: Aundrea Kinney

 Changes are in store for the Maplewood Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, which will begin transitioning from a primarily part-time workforce to an entirely full-time workforce. Part-time firefighters will only be employed until March 1, but are encouraged to apply for the department’s nine new full-time positions.

Part-time firefighters to be terminated in favor of more full-time positions.

Maplewood will begin transitioning its fire department from a model employing mostly part-time firefighters to a model employing entirely full-time firefighters, after a Jan. 25 city council decision.

City staffers have also been directed by the council to begin planning community meetings to discuss with residents the possibility of closing the central-most fire station in the city and reallocating its resources to the northern-most fire station.

The Maplewood Fire Department currently staffs 18 full-time and 28 part-time firefighters out of three stations. South Fire Station is located at 600 McKnight Road N. Fire Station 2, otherwise referred to as the central station, is located at 1955 Clarence St., and North Fire Station sits at 1530 County Road C.

The model the city is now moving towards involves 27 full-time employees. Although the change will cost the city about $200,000 in the first year, the city expects this to be offset by reductions in overtime pay, training costs and other savings. In addition, the full-time model is expected to provide less complicated and more consistent scheduling.

All of the council members at the meeting — council member Kathleen Juenemann was absent — noted how difficult the decision was, but also said they think it is necessary in order to provide the best care they can for residents while being good stewards of taxpayer money.

“We need to make sure that we are spending our money wisely,” said Mayor Nora Slawik. “It doesn’t mean that the part-time firefighters aren’t important.”

Researching a more efficient model

The council’s Jan 25 decision to change the staffing model and consider utilizing one fewer station followed a presentation by Dr. Steven Knight on behalf of Fitch & Associates, a consulting firm that was hired by the city about a year ago to identify a reliable and sustainable staffing model for the fire and emergency medical services department.

The research by Fitch & Associates shows that only about 500 of the more than 5,000 incidents the fire department dealt with in 2016 were actually fire related, with the remaining calls — about 85 percent — being of a medical nature, reflecting a trend experienced by cities throughout the metro area.

The Fitch & Associates research also revealed that during peak hours, from about 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., there is consistently one ambulance out transporting people, leaving the two other stations to cover any other emergencies that may happen throughout the city.

When examining the locations within the city that firefighters from each station can reach in the standard eight minute or less response time, about 99 percent of the central station’s reach was redundant, overlapping territory firefighters at the North and South stations can cover. In addition, because of its location, firefighters at the central station are not positioned well to quickly travel to the furthest reaches of the city on the occasions when the ambulance at an outer station is already busy transporting a patient.

This combined information led to recommendations that Maplewood transition from a part-time employee group to a full-time employee group, reallocate resources from the central station to the North Station, near areas generating the greatest number of medical related calls, among other changes.

The difficult decision

Before the council’s vote, members from the Fire/EMS workgroup and International Association of Firefighters Local 4470 shared their support for the proposed changes. Public Safety Director Scott Nadeau, Fire Chief Steve Lukin and EMS Chief Michael Mondor also supported it.

Tracy Imm, president of the Maplewood Volunteer Firefighters Relief Association, was the only speaker at the meeting asking the council not to accept all of the recommendations. He spoke on behalf of the part-time firefighters who were informed Jan. 17 that they would be terminated at the end of February.

City Manager Melinda Coleman explained at the meeting that the part time firefighters are encouraged to apply for the nine new full-time positions that the city will be looking to fill, adding that they will even be given preference.

“Obviously, they’re familiar with our community, and we would love to see them apply for those positions. That would be ideal,” Coleman said.

When asked at the meeting to verify how much longer the part-time firefighters will be employed by the city, Coleman described the transition period as “a very difficult subject.”

“We had hoped to have a long transition period up to the end of this year,” she said. “We are not able to accommodate that because of some proposed legislation that does affect our financial situation, as well as the Fire League Association.”

She added that the city is open to continuing discussions with the part-time firefighters about possibly extending the transition time. No clear termination date was offered at the meeting, but the following day Coleman clarified in an interview that March 1 is the termination date listed in the city’s last proposal to the part-time firefighters, though negotiations were still underway.

Community meetings to discuss the possibility of closing the central fire station on Clarence Street are expected to be scheduled during the spring or summer months.

– Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or [email protected]

Maplewood has been engaged in a money squabble ever since it announced a shift to a full-time firefighter model.

S.M. CHAVEY MARCH 22, 2018 PIONEER PRESS, ST. PAUL, MINN. wrote-

That battle could end with a city victory if recently proposed legislation is passed this session at the state Capitol. 

**Side note-(The legislature is a tool that Maplewood City Councils use frequently to get their way at taxpayer expense. They used them to get TIFF Funding for 3M too when 3M didn't qualify they went to the capitol to get the law changed for 3M to get 13 25 year TIFF districts.They are not creating new jobs. They are moving jobs from one building to another. All this means to me is that 3M. the company that has contaminated our water and is enjoying high stock returns and billion dollar sales is getting a free pass at our expense. It seems like nothing less than corporate welfare).  3M also got a brand new fire station at taxpayer expense.

At the center of the feud is a $1.6 million fund that only the fire relief association can access. Association members want to use a big chunk of the fund to pay severance they believe is fair.

The pending legislation would limit the association's control over the fund and dissolve the association before the end of the year.

"I think (the legislator who proposed this legislation) just got their ear bent and I think the story that got told was quite a bit different than what's been going on," said Jeff Morgan, a member of the association. "Hopefully, they'll do the right thing and pull the bill."

City officials say the fund belongs to taxpayers and should be spent for their benefit.

"We are taking every measure available to the city to protect Maplewood's taxpayers' money ... to invest in the future of the city's public safety services," Maplewood City Manager Melinda Coleman said.

Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center, proposed the legislation last week and planned to transfer it to Sen. Charles Wiger, DFL-Maplewood.

Disagreements began when Maplewood decided to switch to a full-time staffing model in the fire department in response to increased calls and a decreased part-time staff.

When the city offered severance packages that Fire Relief Association members said were unfairly small, the association changed the structure of retirement funds in order to boost their severance packages.

The city sued, alleging financial shenanigans. The litigation is ongoing. According to the the Pioneer Press 

St. Paul officials critical of new Maplewood Fire Station

Credit to: Patrick Larkin, Lillie News

A rendering of the new Maplewood fire station shows its four bays as it would look from McKnight Road. 

Neighborhood objects to loud sirens and bright lights

As plans move forward for a new fire station for Maplewood, St. Paul city officials say the city and its residents were left out of the planning process.

“I wish I could unring the bell,” said city council president Kathy Lantry, who represents the St. Paul neighborhood across the street from the proposed Maplewood fire station. “I had no idea.”

The facility will be built on the 3M campus along the east side of McKnight Road, halfway between Conway and Minnehaha avenues, right on the border of the two cities.

According to Maplewood fire chief Steve Lukin, the new station will be constructed on land donated by 3M. The project will go to bid in December, he said, with the goal of starting construction early spring 2014, and occupying it next November. A 2012 estimate for the total cost of the project, including the four-bay, 26,000-square-foot structure and surrounding parking lots and patios, was around $5,525,000.

Betsy Leach, director of the District 1 Community Council in St. Paul, said she’s unhappy with how late in the game St. Paul residents heard about the plans.

“It should have gone through a genuine community process that included the residents who would be affected,” she said.

Now, it’s too late to change anything, she added.

She said she’d spoken with Maplewood city planners, and the word was this: “They basically say, yeah, it’s going to affect you, come and voice your dismay, but they’re not going to change their plans.”

Leach said, “I don’t think there’s anything we could do about it.”

While the new station won’t be close to any Maplewood houses, it will indeed be right across McKnight Road from St. Paul residences.

Lukin said a few St. Paulites attended an Oct. 2 meeting, expressing concerns about the possibility of sirens and bright lights.

“Unfortunately, there will be a little extra light and sirens,” Lukin said.

He said in total the fire station might see somewhere between 800 and 1,000 calls annually.

“Unfortunately there will be a little extra lights and sirens,” he said, but “it’s not like there’s going to be one every hour.”

He said that the fire department looked into leaving the facility without sirens and lights, but since McKnight is a large, busy road, the lights and sound is needed for safety reasons.

“Late at night, we’ll try to be as courteous as we can,” he said.

In total the department sees about 4,500 emergency calls a year, he said.

“I have no doubt that the city of Maplewood and 3M had a very thoughtful process,” Lantry said. But they forgot the St. Paul residents, she said.

To add to their displeasure, the St. Paul residents will not receive fire service from the station that’s 75 feet away from them, Lantry said.

Still, Lantry acknowledged that “everyone understands that emergency personnel need to be housed somewhere.”

Chuck Ahl, city manager for Maplewood, said that legalistically, the city did what it was required to in terms of notifying St. Paul residents.

But “with 20/20 hindsight ... it would have been a courtesy to let them know (earlier),” he said. “But that’s not always easy,” he added.

The land donation from 3M is still pending, he said. The grassy field is at the northwest corner of 3M’s international headquarters and south of the Wells Fargo Bank.

Cross-city communication woes are nothing new, Ahl said. “That issue between St. Paul and Maplewood has been around for years.”


This is exactly what happens when you have a lack of leadership from the Mayor and council. Building community partnerships is key. This council needs more experience in building partnerships and trust with other community's and agency's.

This is another great example of a community building event. 

The Isanti Firefighters have a rodeo. Here is a description of their 2018 community events.


2018 will bring us another great Rodeo in Isanti!

Please mark your Rodeo calendars for July 6-7, and July 8th for a new family/kids day at the Isanti Firefighters X-treme Bulls competition!

Rodeo Performance Times

Friday July 6th-6:30 PM

Dance with us afterwards to the Shane Martin Band!

Saturday July 7th- 6:30 PM

Dance with us afterwards to the Amie Austin Band!

Sunday July 8th X-Treme Bulls KiDs! Day- 3:00 PM

KiDs! Day will include a Mutton Bustin' Showdown!

(The 2018 Mutton Bustin' Showdown signups are full!)




The showdown is a multi stage competition where the top sheep riders will compete to be a champion, just like the X-Treme Bull riders!! Scroll down for registration information!

Rodeo slack will be run Thursday July 5th at 1:00 PM

CLICK BELOW for DAY SHEETS/contestants entered in Rodeo events

Thursday 7-5-2018 Slack (link)

Friday 7-6-2018 Rodeo Saturday 7-7-2018 Rodeo


This is only one example of the Fire Fighters Associations across our state that are actively participating while serving their communities. 

Our city council instead of praising and appreciating our Fire Fighters. Fires them. Cutting the essential services of the taxpayers.


Our Maplewood Fire Fighters used to have dinners, dances, and fundraisers. Our Firefighters were a cornerstone of the foundation of our community.

We must do better. 

Our community and our economy depend on it.

Today is Sunday morning. You can see the same homeless woman and her shopping cart parked at the HealthEast Building in Birchrun Station.

 If you look closely. You can see a Maplewood Police Officer parked in the foreground. I watched as he sat there testing his lights and drove passed her never stopping to check on her to verify her safety and well being. 

If I am elected as our mayor in November with two new council members. 

I will work to implement new policies and standards for our work with the homeless and our response as a city. We will work to have specialized training for all of our officers. Scenes like this tell people we don't care. 

This tells people that our value is not with our businesses or with the people in our community. This must change.

We must do better and we will do better. The health, well being and safety of our community and our citizens, taxpayers and businesses depend on it. Our economy will not thrive until we get our city cleaned up and recovered from the years of neglect that it''s suffered.

Our Community Center is not a Social Services Program Center

Thousands of teens can access free memberships to YMCA locations across metro-area

This is a nice thought but we have so many taxpayers who are not able to use our community center because of it's pricey membership fee. 

The price should be reduced for everyone. Giving away free memberships and meals to those who "qualify" for them is simply a social service type program. That is not what of community center was meant to be. Any program that is associated with our community center should be open to the taxpayers who are flipping the bill for the community center. Social service programs are not our role. The department of Human Services and other social service agencies are responsible for programs like this. When it comes to getting our community center back to the intended purpose. We need revenue generating programs and memberships that are affordable so people can actually get one. 

Here is the story that talks about the program.


By SARAH HORNER | [email protected] and MARA H. GOTTFRIED | [email protected] | Pioneer Press

PUBLISHED: May 30, 2018 at 1:01 pm | UPDATED: May 30, 2018 at 4:44 pm

Thousands of high school students across the metro-area can hit the gym this summer free of charge thanks to a program aimed at offering young people safe and healthy options when school is not in session.

The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities are partnering to offer some 6,000 youth free memberships to 25 YMCA locations scattered throughout the Twin Cities-area.

The organizations’ effort aims to decrease risky behavior such as drinking, drug-use and violence that teens are more apt to engage in during summer months.

Only about 20 percent of 16 and 17-year-olds hold a summer job these days, according to research the groups cited from the Pew Research Center. That figure is even lower for teens of color.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said he hopes teachers, parents and other adults in the community will help spread the word to teens and encourage them to take advantage of the program.

“I think it’s great to have these types of opportunities to keep high school kids engaged during the summer months,” he said Wednesday. “… You’ve got parents who might be working during the daytime and the whole host of issues where you’ve got young people without that structured school setting. Having things to keep them occupied and their mind and body engaged is always a positive thing.”

In addition to offering the free memberships, health and well-being classes, leadership and development programs, youth specific fitness challengers and job readiness workshops will all be offered at participating locations.

“Any time kids have something positive to do, somewhere safe to spend their time, that’s a good thing,” said Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman. “Our officers love and support the YMCA and YWCA and all youth programming in the city.”

Since some teens don’t get healthy meals at home, eight locations also will offer free meals to youth that obtain memberships. Those sites include Blaisdell in Minneapolis, Burnsville, Coon Rapids, East St. Paul, Maplewood, Midway St. Paul, New Hope and West St. Paul.

All teens entering ninth grade through 12 are eligible to participate by visiting one of the 25 involved locations beginning June 1 with a valid ID, class schedule or report card along with the permission of an adult.

Adults can sign registration forms at home and bring them to their YMCA-site or complete the online registration for teens at home.


Maplewood breaks ground on $6M firefighter training facility

The meetings I was at when this project was discussed was again an necessary project that is at taxpayer expense. The promise of paying partners. Agencies already signed up to partner and use the center. Driving by today you seldom see any activity there. It's another example of unnecessary spending and lack of leadership.

Here is the story By SARAH HORNER of the Pioneer Press It was first PUBLISHED: June 12, 2012 at 11:01 pm |then UPDATED: November 10, 2015 at 10:45 am


Construction on a fire training facility in the east metro will begin Thursday, June 14.

Firefighters from across Ramsey and Washington counties were expected to gather at 9:30 a.m. to mark the occasion, meeting just west of the intersection of Minnesota 5 and Minnesota 120, where the new East Metro Public Safety Training Center will be built in Maplewood.

The $6 million complex will sit on about 5 acres and include a training and simulation building, a five-story burn tower for high-rise training and a concrete two-story house to simulate residential fires.

State bonding money and contributions from Ramsey County, Maplewood, the St. Paul Regional Water Services and the Minnesota Department of Transportation are funding the project.

“It’s been a lot of work up to this point, so this kind of feels like a milestone,” Jeff Anderson, chief of the Oakdale Fire Department, said of the groundbreaking. Anderson and Maplewood Fire Chief Steve Lukin were the driving forces behind the facility.

“I think all of us in the east metro are pretty excited about the prospect of having this type of facility,” Anderson said.

About 25 fire departments and various law enforcement agencies from Ramsey and Washington counties will have access to the center. The next closest training facility is in St. Paul, which has added extra time and hassle to training for east metro agencies.

Construction of the facility is expected to be completed by late summer or fall 2013.


Meeting with our Maplewood seniors. They all stress how they wan to feel safer and have better transportation options in our city. They want more police. More Fire/EMT's and more transportation. The seniors like most taxpayers. Are very upset about the council cutting our fire department. They want our fire department fully staffed at all stations and along with a volunteer program that was a foundation to our community. They are also extremely angry about not hiring more police that are obviously needed. They do not want BRT on the Bruce Vento Trail. They say that's a very bad route and a very bad public transit option. 

They are tired of Maplewood being the dumping ground for Ramsey County. Our city is not developed well. It's development is mismatched half baked like a bad patchwork quilt with many missing pieces. The planning of the city is poor. We need to get what we can done and try to recover as much as possible while building our city up to where it should be as reflected by the high taxes we are paying. I agree with the seniors. 

Together we can and will be making a difference.

FBI Investigation

FBI conducting probe of Maplewood city…

Maplewood City Hall is the subject of a federal investigation.

On Thursday, Maplewood officials declined to comment about the specifics of the FBI inquiry, other than to say the city requested the probe.

“You want to have some investigative integrity … so we are not going to talk about the scope or what this is, but there is an investigation that we requested,” said Maplewood Police Chief Paul Schnell. “What this may yield, in fact it may yield nothing. We have no idea at this point in time. It’s very early on.”

Maplewood Mayor Nora Slawik said the FBI is conducting the investigation and that it involves city operations “in some capacity.”

She declined to elaborate; In April, Maplewood City Manager Chuck Ahl gave abrupt notice of his decision to retire, just three days before the city council was scheduled to meet in closed session to discuss “allegations against a person under the authority of the city council,” according to city documents. The excerpt of the article by  SARAH HORNER of the Pioneer Press First PUBLISHED: October 15, 2014 


Instead of working on behalf of the taxpayers of Maplewood. The Mayor and council allowed this issue to costs us more money. 

The Mayor did not do her Due diligence and she did not suspend the person under investigation for wrong doings.  He should have never been allowed to retire without the closed session and without the council working a plan to protect our taxpayers and our city. 

**Where is this investigation now? The FBI says it's ongoing.



Using Parks for Community Gardens

The Community Garden Program was started to meet the growing needs of our diverse community and to unite people through the gardening programs.  This program was never meant to be made within our parks. Our parks are for everyone. Not to till up for gardens.  I created this program to build community partnerships to work together to  use private land that is donated for people to garden on. Our parks were never even considered to be included as part of this program. 


Urban Ag Ordinance Amendment- This council is allowing our parks to be used as community gardens.   This is absurd If this council wants to promote the concept of community gardens that I brought to the city many years ago. They should use some of the property that they bought at taxpayer expense and zone it agriculture. They should not be using our parks for gardens. 

 Taxes & Excessive Assessments

Our city council is taxing us beyond the limits. So far beyond that they must create new words for the mandated money demands of us. Abatement's, fees, franchise fees and so on. Our council, Ramsey County, Minnesota. They are putting many of our neighbors in hardship positions. For what? They aren't paying down debt.  Bonding isn't paying off debt. It's like charging on a credit card to pay off another credit card.  This council has made a habit of this. At our expense I will add. They have cut critical essential services. They have done unnecessary road reconstructions at great costs  instead of doing proper Mill & Overlays.

Irresponsible Spending 

There are many examples of irresponsible spending on behalf of this council under the lack of leadership of the Mayor. Here is just one.

Kid City Laugh In.  We should be spending money our families for programs of benefit with purpose. The programs should be free for all Maplewood citizens. We already pay one of the highest rates of taxes in the state of Minnesota.  It is unthinkable to charge an added fee to a program that our tax dollars are already paying for. Our families would be happy a laughing if they weren't being taxed out of their homes. The stress that this mayor and council have inflicted on the community with their excessive taxing concepts are unexceptionable. To spend money on "laughing" is absurd.  There are so many quality programs our there that have grant funding attached to them that would benefit our community with skills and experience that they can take with them for future use is more appropriate. It's about priorities and balance. There is a lace for programs like this but they should not be the priority before essential services.

Purposeful Programs vs. Neglecting Our Real Needs

These programs may be fun for some. They should be free to all. But when we have basic city services being neglected and roads in such disrepair that they require costly reconstruction. These programs are frivolous. What real skills are being taught here? Who is benefiting? Where is the fee revenue going? 

How are our challenged youth benefiting? How are the needs of our our seniors being met through this program? Will this program teach lifelong employment skills and experiences? What are the remainder of our taxpayers benefiting from this?

Based on the state of our neglected city. There is nothing to laugh about. 

We need real leadership to turn our community around for everyone united. Not just the few who can "afford it".

These are examples of things that we should be doing at our community center ourselves.

We need to be fiscally responsible and do what we can in house before we do wasteful spending on something that we could do ourselves. Especially before our essential services are met.

Contracting Out our Community Center to the YMCA Instead of Making it Work for the Taxpayers

This is another example of the very poor leadership and decision making by the Mayor and council. 

This should never have happened and the Mayor should have called a special workshop to resolve the issues of the Community Center and to make a plan to get it on track. I have a plan to get the center out of the red and into the black. A place where it's never been before. 


Here is the article that was published about the YMCA-


At a community meeting Sept. 13, Maplewood city officials and YMCA representatives answered questions and shared additional details with community center members regarding the possibility of the YMCA operating the MCC.

When the Maplewood Community Center was built in 1994, it was part of a nationwide trend of cities looking to provide residents with a place to gather, swim, exercise, take classes or go to a live theatrical production.

In addition to a six-lane lap pool and a leisure pool with a children’s water play area in the shallow end and a 120-foot water slide, the MCC offers users a banquet room, a child care facility, a two-court gymnasium for basketball, volleyball, floor hockey and other activities, space for hosting private events like birthday parties, racquetball and wallyball courts, a performing arts theater, as well as strength and cardio centers.

City officials say that when the center opened 22 years ago, it was not intended to be a money-maker. However, in recent years the center’s deficits have been mounting, while at the same time the building is showing signs of age and in need of major repairs.

“This is a wonderful asset,” said city council member Marylee Abrams, but she also explained, “When this community center was built, the community and the council that served our community did not do a really good job of planning ahead.”

She went on to explain that before she and mayor Nora Slawik joined the city council two years ago there was no asset management plan or funds set aside for repairs, something the two have tried to remedy.

“When you walk around you can see that we have not taken care of [the MCC] as we should,” Slawik said.

Deferred maintenance

A Sept. 6 release states that Maplewood has spent several months looking for ways to make the MCC financially stronger due to the facility’s projected deficit of about $450,000 this year, and the significant maintenance the facility now needs.

“I’d be hard pressed to find any community center in the state of Minnesota that actually makes money,” said DuWayne Konewko, Maplewood’s parks and recreation director. “We’ve never made a profit.”

He added that over the years it has become increasingly difficult to keep the MCC afloat because of the deferred maintenance.

Abrams explained that the MCC is a large building and the new roof it needs will cost $1 million. Including the roof project, there are about $15 million worth of maintenance and repair projects the building will require over the next 10 years.

“[That money] has got to come from somewhere. It either comes from raising ... taxes or it comes from trying to be more creative,” Abrams said.

Abrams explained that the city can’t keep doing the same things with the community center because it is “bleeding money,” and in order to preserve this asset, the council has decided to “be bold” and try a creative solution.

This creative solution entails leasing the building to the YMCA, and allowing it to take over operations of all aspects of the MCC except the performing-arts theater, which will continue to be operated by Ashland Theater Company.

The potential partnership is still in the draft phase, but the draft states the lease would last 10 years with two five-year extensions. The partnership between Maplewood and the YMCA would involve sharing the burden of the facility’s costs, but this part of the agreement is still being negotiated.

“It has us making some pretty big investments up front, but we were going to do them anyway,” explained city manager Melinda Coleman.

“We have to do them anyway. We have no choice,” Abrams added.

Abrams and Coleman said that they want to be sure to continue investing money toward improvements in the building in order to preserve it because the city will still own the building, even if the YMCA runs the operations.

Coleman said that if Maplewood moves forward with the proposed partnership, in three or four years the city will start having money that can repurposed towards other city needs, namely park improvements. Konewko said the park improvements that could be benefited are outlined in the park master plan adopted January 2015.

The partnership will be further discussed at a Maplewood City Council workshop planned for Sept. 26, and it will be an action item on the Oct. 17 special city council meeting. If the city council votes to pass this change, it would be effective Nov. 1.

“Is it going to affect your workouts? Is it going to affect your membership? Is it going to affect the staff? Yes, it is,” Slawik said, but she added “I am a believer in the Y. I think they do a good job.

”How the YMCA expects to succeed where the city did not. Shane Hoefer, executive director of the White Bear Lake YMCA will become the director at the MCC if the agreement is finalized. He explained that because the YMCA is a large organization, it has some opportunities that a stand-alone community center doesn’t have.

For example, the YMCA has a marketing department that creates advertisements that are aired on TV, distributed through the mail and printed in newspapers. This alone can encourage more people to join a particular facility.

Also because of their multiple locations, the YMCA can leverage companies for better rates than the city can. Hoefer used the example that the YMCA overall uses a lot more toilet paper than Maplewood city facilities use, so the YMCA is able to convince the toilet paper company to sell the toilet paper for a lower bulk price.

The YMCA also employs people who are professionals at what they do, and these professionals can train staff on the most effective methods to teach classes. The YMCA can form a network of expertise as opposed to just one individual doing the best he or she can to teach a class.

Changes to expect

Although some MCC members feel that the facility is operating at or above its peak capacity during popular hours, Hoefer said that overall there is room for more people. He adds that there are some times in the day, such as between noon and 4 p.m. on weekdays, when hardly anyone uses the space.

“There are a lot of places that we can add more people, and you’ll never even know that they’re here,” Hoefer said.

A current member pointed out that many members still work full time, and that she personally has had difficulties getting into classes because they are so popular at the time she is able to attend.

Hoefer explained that when a class at one time becomes overcrowded like that, it is important to create more classes to draw people out of that one. He also said that if it is the time of day that makes a class so popular, staff can offer multiple classes back to back to meet the needs of the interested members. For example if the popular class is scheduled for 5:30, the staff may change the times so one group meets at 5:15 and the other at 6:15.

He explained that it is the YMCA’s expertise to run facilities like this, and its staff members have several tactics to make it work and to help spread out the people in the space so it doesn’t feel overcrowded.

“Historically, the Maplewood Community Center had had much higher membership than it does today,” Hoefer said. Although increased membership will help the center’s bottom line, Hoefer listed several ways he thinks members’ experiences will change for the better as well.

He said the YMCA will be investing some money into the facility to help update exercise equipment, building access, locker room equipment, carpet and paint among other things.

“I’m not going to touch the mural. It’s beautiful,” Hoefer hastily added in reference to the mural in the aquatics area.

He also mentioned an investment in the childcare program over time. He expects the hours of operation to expand, though not to the full day.

Hoefer explained that the YMCA will try to avoid shutting down parts of the facility while crews do repair work, and any projects that can be done overnight will be.

“I am extremely confident that you are going to like what happens here,” Hoefer said.

This article was made public by Aundrea Kinney , Lillie News.


Another example of poor leadership- This direction of our Community Center should have been dealt with years ago. This Mayor and council are not taking any corrective actions to remedy the downward plunge of the MCC. Handing it over to the YMCA because they failed to change the management and create a business plan that would sustainable is shameful. This has to change.


Erin Hinrichs of Lillie News wrote the article below- It was published 6/3/2015

City hopes arrangement will help stem financial losses

The city of Maplewood recently announced it has entered into a new operational partnership with the YMCA, which will be assuming responsibility for management of the Maplewood Community Center's aquatics programs, along with supporting overall marketing efforts.

"We are very excited about this partnership and what it means for the children and families we serve," Parks and Recreation director DuWayne Konewko said in a press release. "The YMCA has an impressive track record of creating powerful collaborative relationships with other cities, schools and community organizations and its expertise in aquatics, fitness and healthy living will help us better meet the needs of our residents."

Looking to break even

"We haven't had success there for 20 years," council member Bob Cardinal said of the Maplewood Community Center. "Anybody that can help us learn how to market that facility or utilize it or bring more activity there is best."

Back when the MCC was built, it fit a nationwide trend of cities looking to provide residents with a place for people to gather, swim, exercise, take classes or go to a theatrical production. Over the years, however, Mayor Nora Slawik says the MCC fell victim to the same financial hardships that affected other city-owned community centers.

"As elected officials, we are responsible to the taxpayers and we should work to help manage the community center to break even," Slawik said. "It's been very difficult over the years for the council and staff to figure out how to do that. We've lost money [and] we're trying to turn that around."

As outlined in the contract, the YMCA has agreed to a fee and revenue sharing plan that would allow the city to essentially break even on the partnership.

Through 2018, the city will pay the YMCA an annual fee of $157,500 for managing and operating the MCC aquatic center, along with $30,000 to manage the city's beach contracts and $70,150 for marketing and management services. Payments were adjusted to reflect late start dates this year.

In turn, the city will retain all revenue generated from beach contracts and pool rentals, keep 25 percent of participant fee revenues collected from swimming lessons and receive an annual maintenance fee.

As the partnership matures, city staff anticipate the MCC aquatics program's profits will be equal to its expenses.

Pointing out areas of growth, Konewko said the YMCA will be adding two new swimming lessons, to start, bringing the total offering up to six classes.

"In doing that, we hope to get new families in our facility," Konewko said, adding he hopes new traffic translates into new memberships as well.

In addition to a six-lane lap pool and a leisure pool with a children's water play area in the shallow end and a 120-foot water slide, the Maplewood Community Center offers users a banquet room, a child care facility, a two-court gymnasium for basketball, volleyball, floor hockey and other activities, space for hosting private events like birthday parties, racquetball and wallyball courts, a performing arts theater, as well as strength and cardio centers.

Leading with swimming lessons

City staff presented the details of the proposed city of Maplewood-YMCA partnership agreement to council members at a Feb. 23 workshop. A key player in the partnership — Shane Hoefer, executive director of the White Bear Lake Area YMCA and the White Bear Lake Area Schools YMCA Aquatic Center — fielded questions at the workshop.

In a phone interview, Hoefer explained the partnership was equally appealing to the YMCA.

"As a nonprofit looking to serve the community, any time that a community seeks out the Y and engages us in a conversation about collaboration, it's something we're excited to do and be a part of," he said.

The YMCA will start offering swimming classes on June 15, implementing its nationally-recognized curriculum to teach water safety skills and connect students with the health benefits of swimming.

"The YMCA format is ... as good as, if not better than, any swimming program you can find in Minnesota," Hoefer said.

Hoefer also said the YMCA hopes to both keep traditional holiday-themed aquatics events at the MCC while adding new ones to the mix.

As for lifeguard training, YMCA certification classes will soon be held at the MCC.

Additionally, the YMCA obtained grant funding from the Hawkins Foundation and Abbey's Hope Foundation to offer free water safety classes to 250 local youth. Hoefer said they'll work with area schools to identify kids most in need of the lessons. Likewise, they've been surveying local demographics to better understand where future programming needs might exist.

New hires

According to Konewko, lifeguards currently employed by the MCC will first be given the opportunity to continue their employment under the new management.

However, not all city-employed staff members were so fortunate.

"There will be a reduction in city MCC staff, as a result of this [partnership]," Konewko said.

Most notably, one executive position was cut to bring on a new YMCA program executive, Susannah Peterson, was brought on board.

She comes to the MCC with more than eight years of experience working for YMCA, first in Dallas and Houston, then the Twin Cities.

"I think she's someone who's really going places, and we're lucky to have a manager of her abilities and background," Slawik said.



What does transparency mean to me? Words I live by because it's the right thing to do. It's the respectful way to live. It's the honest way to do business and it's the public's right to know. As our Mayor. I will make sure that this is the standard in which our city council conducts themselves and how our city operates.


Openness, accountability, and honesty define government transparency. In a free society, transparency is government's obligation to share information with citizens. It is at the heart of how citizens hold their public officials accountable.


Solar Panel Program Only Generating Added Costs to the Taxpayers.

Solar project on Maplewood Community Center approved

Submitted by admin1 on Thu, 12/23/2010 - 6:15am

By:

Cory Streeter

Maplewood is going green at the MCC.

The city council approved a resolution Dec. 13 to allow the city manager to enter into a contract agreement with ECS Maplewood, a subsidiary of Parsons Electric, that would get the ball rolling on installing a new, innovative set of solar panels on the Maplewood Community Center.

The main payoff of the entire project: a combination of a state energy grant, Xcel Energy Solar Rewards rebates and federal investment tax credits will pay for much, or all, of the project.

The original estimate for the project was $385,000. According to a Dec. 7 city report, that number has now been reduced to $329,000 for the initial project cost.

The agreement is essentially a five-year, lease-to-buy contract. ECS Maplewood will operate and perform maintenance on the solar array during that period. The city will then take on full ownership during the sixth year and take over costs for maintenance.

While the city will own the devices after five years, the city's lease with ECS Maplewood will be 20 years to match the commitment to Xcel's Solar Rewards - a 20-year program, according to a city report. The 20-year mark also matches the estimated life of the solar panels.

Right away, a state Office of Energy Security grant will provide around $100,000 for the project. Xcel Energy will also provide a direct payment of around $90,000 to offset initial project costs. Solar Rewards rebates will be received over the lifetime of the solar panels. ECS Maplewood will also apply for a federal grant, which gives tax credits to the company during the five-year period.

All these components will amount to the total of $329,000, according to a city report.

After five years, the best-case scenario - if no major maintenance is needed on the panels - the city would retain various credits from Xcel Energy, and make about $60,000 to $70,000 over the remaining 15-year period.

Win-win for city, state companies

As reported in the Nov. 24 issue of the Review, the rebates are contingent on using Minnesota-manufactured solar products. The Maplewood panels will be produced by tenKsolar, a Bloomington-based company. Power inverters will come from Silent Power, a Baxter-based company. Michael Krause, who wrote the initial grants for the city, said the rebate works to benefit recipients, but also generates jobs for local companies - a win-win situation.

The project will utilize a new style of photovoltaic panels created by tenKsolar, using technology developed by 3M. The RAIS panel uses a "V-shaped system with reflectors that allows it to accept imperfectly reflected light and tolerate shading or partial snow coverage without breaking the entire string of an individual panel or rows," according to a Nov. 3 city report.

Basically, the panels are designed to accept more sunlight at our northern latitudes.

The tenKsolar system is also unique because it requires no roof penetrations to install the device, and has been tested to withstand wind speeds up to 120 mph. That wind speed is equivalent to a category-three hurricane.

A 40-kilowatt solar electric system is currently the maximum allowed by the state; tenKsolar's project would be 39.8 kilowatts.

Two hundred total panels will be used for Maplewood's project, at 12.5 square-feet per panel.

City Manager Jim Antonen sees the project as a model for future solar development in the area. "Part of the attractiveness of it is ... obviously to advance solar energy power in Minnesota, but also to be a site where different cities, school districts and entities can come and actually see, and sort of kick the tires so to speak, on the actual project," he said at the Dec. 13 meeting.

"Hopefully, this gains traction and moves on for the benefit of Parsons Electric, tenKsolar, and ultimately 3M," he added.

Risk-reward

Becoming the model Antonen envisions isn't without risks. Progressions in technology often quickly make systems obsolete. Personal computers, for example, are already dated when they come out of the box. So there's a legitimate chance the panels could be obsolete when the five-year period expires.

Mayor Will Rossbach isn't so concerned though. Even if the system becomes outdated, the combination of grants and credits will still pay for the system, he said in a later interview. "It seems silly not to take advantage of it."

It's certainly possible that the city might be too early in jumping on the new technology, but the price is right. "I think that's certainly a risk worth taking," Rossbach said. "The first step is always the hardest."

"I'm a believer that in 20 or 30 years ... I wouldn't be surprised if every individual's house didn't have some sort of alternative energy system involved with it," Rossbach said.

Solar energy seems like a constant source of power, as opposed to other new forms, he added. "There's no way to beat the sun coming up every day."

A point of concern raised again at the Dec. 13 meeting was if the city would receive credit for unused solar energy from the panels. Alan Kantrud, city attorney, reiterated that it's a near certainty that this power will be completely used by the Maplewood Community Center, because that electricity generation is only a small portion of what is used by the building daily.

In light of the recent blizzard and subsequent snowstorms, council member Kathy Juenemann brought up another potential problem - heavy snow. Bill Richmond, representative for Parsons, said the 45-degree angles of the panels and small amount of heat generated from solar rays would heat up the panels, thus allowing melted water to flow into the valleys of the panel array.

Besides that, Richmond said his company would periodically go on the roof and clear off any heavy snow that might be obstructing the panel from performing at a high level.

Work starts now

A small amount of construction needs to begin before the end of 2010 for the city to cash in on some of the various grants.

But with all the snow? Chuck Ahl, assistant city manager, said a worker will get up on the flat roof and use a snowblower to clear the construction area as needed.

Crews will soon install the rails, which hold the panels in place, onto the roof of the community center, Antonen said. Weather permitting, the construction will wrap up when the snow is melting.

"We'll be generating (power) in the spring," he said.

Cory Streeter can be reached at [email protected] or at 651-748-7825.

Solar Panels Heating Up on the Taxpayers

“Free” Solar Subsidy Comes Back to Bite Maplewood

Written by Tom Steward in Environment, Energy on March 13, 2018 Print

Maplewood city officials hit the solar power jack pot back in 2010. After all, the solar panels installed on the community center roof were paid for with “free” money–a massive $310,000 subsidy from taxpayers and Xcel ratepayers.

“It seems silly not to take advantage of it,” Maplewood Mayor Will Rossbach said when the City Council approved the project in December 2010. “I think that’s certainly a risk worth taking.”

In fact, there was no risk for the St. Paul suburb to take. An American Experiment analysis of the ill-conceived green boondoggle in November put it this way.

Under the best case scenario, it would have taken 70 years for federal taxpayers and utility ratepayers to break even on their investment, based on the $4,428 in estimated electricity savings generated annually for the city.

Yet the novelty wore off long before the project could ever pay off, leading the city to remove the solar panels last fall in order to replace the community center roof. Easy come, easy go like the “free” grants that made it possible in the first place.

It cost the city the equivalent of three years’ worth of solar power savings from the project—about $13,000—to have a contractor break down the system in recent weeks. City officials estimate it would cost an additional $10,000 to $15,000 to have the panels reinstalled on the MCC roof.

While the solar generation system still works, it may never be plugged into the grid again, due to the reinstallation costs and its already outdated technology. A final decision will be made by spring.

“The technology has changed dramatically since 2011. They’re not even using those systems anymore,” said DuWayne Konewko, Maplewood Environmental and Economic Development Director. “They’re three or four steps ahead of that now. Way back then there was more money from the feds and the state. Most of that is drying up or has dried up.”

But now it turns out that Maplewood had skin in the game all along without realizing it. The Pioneer Press reports that the fine print in a grant agreement with Xcel Energy requires the city to operate the solar system for two more decades–or else pay a penalty of $100,000 or more.

Options were still being discussed when city staff found the agreement with Xcel that required the city to use the panels for at least 20 years.

“We may have reinstalled them anyway as a city, but (the agreement) kind of obviously pushed that to the forefront,” Konewko said.

Reinstallation will cost $7,500 — significantly less than anticipated — and the panels will save the city about $2,500 to $3,000 per year in generated power.

“There is still some benefit, so we want to capitalize on that,” Konewko said.

Ironically, the outdated solar panels going back up at the Maplewood Community Center will generate more savings for the city simply by being operational–$100,000–than the comparable trickle in energy savings over the next 20 years. Unless the community center needs a new roof before then.

Comments

Homelessness affects our entire community and economy

This lady is one of many homeless people living out of shopping carts in our city. Our city has many shelters for people who need them. We need to get these people off the streets and into the Supportive Services that they obviously need. Regardless of the circumstances. Having people living in parking lots out of shopping carts affects our economy and crime in our city. I have a plan to take action on this issue.  This lady is in this same spot everyday after hours and on weekends.  This person is a vulnerable adult in need of support.  The crime in this area is high and she is at risk. We must create and enforce policies to address this issue and provide the necessary resource referrals to prevent it.

Council Approved 2nd Community Center at Taxpayers Expense

***This project is another bad decision with no foresight or vision. No consideration for the taxpayers. **The description of this project is another community center paid for by us. The taxpayers. This council is making one bad decision after another. Giving our community center to the YMCA while taxpayers still paying the bills and the maintenance for it. Now also paying for our city staff to use our own community center which is paid by us. The taxpayers. This wasteful spending must stop. Who is going to operate and manage this center? The same people who operated/managed the community center this council is giving to the YMCA at taxpayers continued expense?

Wakefield Park Community Building

Audra Robbins, on behalf of the City of Maplewood Parks and Recreation Department, is seeking city approval to build a 3,300 square foot community use building at Wakefield Park which is located at 1725 Prosperity Road. This new multi-purpose facility at Wakefield Park would serve as a local “hub” and gathering place for residents. This facility will also provide programming space for youth/adult dance classes, arts and education programs, preschool classes and City Special Events.

The Approval Process - Where Does the Project Currently Stand?

Community Design Review Board - Will review the project on February 20, 2018.

The February meeting was cancelled. The project will be heard on March 20, 2018.

Staff Report

Meeting Minutes will be posted when available

Planning Commission - Reviewed the project on February 20, 2018 and recommended APPROVAL.

Staff Report

Meeting Minutes

City Council - Reviewed the project on February 26, 2018 and APPROVED the project.

Staff Report

Meeting Minutes

Related Documents

Public Hearing Notice

Neighborhood Survey

Applicant Narrative

Civil Plans

Architectural Plans

Landscape Plans

Tree and Wetland Plans


YMCA backcharging the taxpayers

The taxpayers of Maplewood were forced to pay for a community center that was not properly planned, marketed or managed.  The copy of the May expenses is only one example of the excessive charges that we are now paying on top of our original costs. Now due to the lack of leadership and business experience, this council has created a situation that is costing the taxpayers much more than the failing community center was prior to the ill advised contract they entered us into with the YMCA. 

Now. We must take a stand and take back our community center and start over and bring it to the vibrant and thriving community center that it was meant to be.

May 2018 Expenses No Questions Asked

Please checkout the expenses by month. 

Think about what we are being charged for our taxes. Then look at where our money is being spend. Then look at the excessive amount this council has our city in debt.

There should be a detailed explanation for claims made for payment or reimbursements.  This is only one example of what appears to be wasteful spending. No transparency. 

ECONOMY OVERVIEW

The unemployment rate in Maplewood, Minnesota, is 4.10%, with job growth of 1.27%. Future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 38.44%.

Maplewood, Minnesota Taxes

Maplewood, Minnesota,sales tax rate is 7.13%. Income tax is 7.05%.

Maplewood, Minnesota Income and Salaries

The income per capita is $29,864, which includes all adults and children. The median household income is $60,323.

Taxes

The combined sales tax rate for Maplewood, MN is 7.375%. This is the total of state, county and city sales tax rates. The Minnesota state sales tax rate is currently 6.875%. The Ramsey County sales tax rate is 0%. The Maplewood Council has continued to increase our taxes every chance they get. They can call their taxes different things like Abatement's, Fees, Charges etc. They are still taxing us out of our homes. They are not increasing services or programs or maintenance of our roads and infrastructure.  As a matter of fact they have closed 40% of our fire-stations and outsourced most of our services.  Too many people in our community are loosing their homes because of this uncontrolled spending.  We must be excellent stewards of the taxpayers money. Good isn't even close enough to what we need or deserve.

Benefit vs. costs are you getting your money's worth?

What great benefits have you and your family received from the high taxes and high costs of living in our city of Maplewood? Are you getting your money's worth? Has it made life easier for you? Would you like to see a positive change? Are you ready for a positive change?

Maplewood, MN Crime Rates and Statistics - NeighborhoodScout

https://www.neighborhoodscout.com › MN › Maplewood

From our analysis, we discovered that violent crime in Maplewood occurs at a rate higher than in most communities of all population sizes in America. The chance that a person will become a victim of a violent crime in Maplewood; such as armed robbery, aggravated assault, rape or murder; is 1 in 375.

This is not acceptable.

We really need to get this reversed.  We need safety and security as foundations of our community. Crime affects everyone. Changes in leadership are needed now.

Health Index for Maplewood, Minnesota

Air quality in Maplewood, Minnesota is 46 on a scale to 100 (higher is better). This is based on new measures of hazardous air pollutants from the EPA, called the National Air Toxics Assessment. This analysis models respiratory illness and cancer risk down to the zip code level, providing better detail and insight than the previous analysis based solely on results from air monitoring stations.

Water quality in Maplewood, Minnesota is 1 on a scale to 100 (higher is better). Note that this is a measure of Watershed quality, not the water that comes from your faucet. The EPA has stated that a healthy watershed is closely related to drinking water quality. The EPA has a complex method of measuring watershed quality using 15 indicators such as pH, chemicals, metals, and bacteria.

Superfund index is 91 on a scale to 100 (higher is better). The EPA’s Superfund program is responsible for cleaning up some of our nation’s most contaminated land. Our index is based on the number of active Superfund sites (over 15,000 in the United States), with particular attention paid to those on the National Priorities List which pose the greatest health danger.

Citizens Voices- A select Few

In the May 2018 edition of the Maplewood Living the city did a selective survey of what appears to have been selective participants.  I have talked to many community members and business members and my neighbors and not one of their households received any survey.

Selective Survey Results

There is nothing on track about these results.

These results are shameful.   This is not good enough. This is a disgrace considering the high taxes that we are paying. and considering the cuts that this Mayor and Council have done to our city services.

This survey is not a reflection of what the state of our city should or could be.

We must do better. We must have real leadership that will take on these issues and do the work to get the results that we deserve.

(On many other national surveys. Maplewood ranks well below on all of the items in the above graph.)


Learn More

We are one community.

Definition of Cultural Equity

Cultural equity embodies the values, policies, and practices that ensure that all people—including but not limited to those who have been historically underrepresented based on race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status, or religion—are represented in the development of arts policy; the support of artists; the nurturing of accessible, thriving venues for expression; and the fair distribution of programmatic, financial, and informational resources.

Integrity of our Maplewood Municipal Elections.

Dear Mayor Slawik.

As you are aware  I am campaigning for Mayor of Maplewood this election cycle.

A question has been brought up regarding your place of residency. Please note that this is not a question about the property that you own in the city of Maplewood. It is a question of where you reside and make your home with your husband.

You may be aware that this has been an issue in Maplewood in the past. There have been a couple council members who did not resided in our city and retained council seats that they did not meet the residency requirements to do so.

In the hopes of maintaining the integrity of our Maplewood municipal elections.

I wanted to bring this to your attention and request that you provide a notarized affidavit of residency for public view.

In the event that you are unable to do so. You are still afforded the time to withdraw your name and candidacy if you do not meet the residency requirements as required and as we all signed as described below:

Affirmation portion on the AFFIDAVIT OF CANDIDACY that all the candidates sign and swear to when we file for office.

I swear (or affirm) that this is my true name or the name by which I am generally known in the community. If filing for a state or local office, I also swear (or affirm) that: • I am eligible to vote in Minnesota; • I have not filed for the same or any other office at the upcoming primary or general election (except as provided in M.S. 204B.06,subd. 1 (2) ); • I am, or will be on assuming office, 21 years of age or more; • I will have maintained residence in this district for at least 30 days before the general election; and • If a major political party candidate, I either participated in the party’s most recent precinct caucuses or intend to vote for a majority of that party’s candidates at the next general election.

I hope that you will comply with the requirements and withdraw your candidacy if you do not live in and make your home in Maplewood.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration in this important matter.

I look forward to your response and a copy of your notarized legal affidavit of residency.

Sincerely,

Margaret Behrens

100all

More litigation- This Mayor and Council Pulled Out of The Ramsey-Washington Cable Commission 

A dispute between Maplewood and a suburban cable commission has turned into a legal battle. At stake: $1.15 million.

For years, Maplewood was a part of the Ramsey/Washington Counties Suburban Cable Communications Commission II, which regulated cable television delivery and services for its members.

Each year, the commission would collect franchise fees from the television provider and then redistribute the money proportionally to its 12 members. 

Maplewood typically received around 25 percent of those fees.

When Maplewood left the cable commission on Jan. 1, 2016, it expected to receive the redistributed franchise fee funds from 2015. It never did.

The cable commission contests it doesn’t owe Maplewood the money because the city left before the funds were redistributed.

The city sued the cable commission for $1.15 million, and a judge took the case under advisement this past week after a court hearing.

Maplewood joined the commission at its inception, about 20 years ago.

Before leaving, Maplewood said it attempted in good faith to negotiate a transition agreement with the cable commission, detailing the payments the city expected to receive, according to the lawsuit. In 2015, those fees came to about $325,000.

The city accused the cable commission of refusing to negotiate or to sign the transition agreement Maplewood offered.

But the cable commission says it engaged in negotiations — just not to Maplewood’s liking.

“We strongly deny the accusation that the city has made in its complaint that the commission didn’t negotiate in good faith,” said John M. Baker, an attorney representing the commission. “There were negotiations both sides actively participated in with regards to a potential transition agreement. What the city was asking for at the end was something that wasn’t agreeable to the commission so we didn’t come to terms.”

DIFFERING INTERPRETATIONS OF ORIGINAL PACT

Both parties point to a Joint Powers Agreement signed by the parties as the governing document. They disagree on how to read that document.

Maplewood says the agreement requires the commission to hand over the money.

“The city was a member of the Cable Commission for all of 2015, and it was the only member municipality not to receive a disbursement of excess franchise fees for that year,” John Boyle, an attorney representing Maplewood, said in an email. “In every prior budget year, for 20 years, the city had received a redistribution of its pro rata share of excess franchise fees.”

But because Maplewood was no longer a member of the commission when those fees were distributed, the cable commission says it doesn’t owe the city anything.

“We believe that those claims fall outside the scope of the agreement, and they contend that apparently they don’t,” Baker said.

MAPLEWOOD ALSO SEEKS SHARE OF RESERVE FUNDS

The city also claimed a right to a portion of reserve funds. The cable commission had accumulated those funds over the years to more than $3.3 million. The reserve funds were held by the commission for the benefit of its members and were not an asset of the commission, Maplewood said in the lawsuit.

Applying its 25 percentage pro rata share, Maplewood wants about $825,000 of that fund, the lawsuit says. The commission has denied that Maplewood is legally entitled to that money.

“It became clear to us that, for the commission, this really was a question of law,” Baker said. “So it made sense to have a judge decide this case based on what is and isn’t in the agreement.”

There is no set date in Ramsey County District Court for Judge Leonardo Castro to announce his decision.

Citizen's Censored

The Maplewood Mayor has encouraged and supported the quashing of citizens engagement in city hall. She has allowed the visitor comment agenda item to be removed from the city council meeting agendas.  She is not allowing citizens to address their elected officials during official public meetings. This is shameful. All citizens should have the opportunity to address their elected officials at the very least at public meetings. Many refuse to answer emails, phone calls. I have had this experience myself with this council. This is creating a non transparent and not welcoming environment in our city. This is another example of weak and very poor leadership. We must be allowed access to address our elected officials. 

The big plan for this council was to silence the citizens by pulling the city out of the Ramsey-Washington Cable Commission.  Another example of poor planning and poor leadership. In the above photo you will see that attorney fees this month for matters of the city pulling out of the cable commission.  You may remember that when the city did pull out of the cable commission. That took away public access programming and the religious programming that serve the shut in and home bound taxpayers and the most vulnerable in our community.  Now those people are without any faith or worship services that they enjoyed and looked forward to each week.

In the above photo you will see what is on the computer tonight and most nights when the city council is supposed to be meeting.  This is the current screen. Again.  Where is the money that the city promised they would be getting as "our share" of the cable commission?  Do you think your getting your tax dollars worth? I don't. 

Rules of Civility made by the city council  that only apply to the citizens.

Sign language interpreters for hearing impaired persons are available for public hearings upon

request. The request for this must be made at least 96 hours in advance. Please call the City Clerk’s

Office at 651.249.2000 to make arrangements. Assisted Listening Devices are also available. Please

check with the City Clerk for availability.

RULES OF CIVILITY FOR THE CITY COUNCIL, BOARDS, COMMISSIONS AND OUR COMMUNITY

Following are rules of civility the City of Maplewood expects of everyone appearing at Council

Meetings - elected officials, staff and citizens. It is hoped that by following these simple rules, everyone’s

opinions can be heard and understood in a reasonable manner. We appreciate the fact that when

appearing at Council meetings, it is understood that everyone will follow these principles:

Speak only for yourself, not for other council members or citizens - unless specifically tasked by

your colleagues to speak for the group or for citizens in the form of a petition.

Show respect during comments and/or discussions, listen actively and do not interrupt or talk

amongst each other.

Be respectful of the process, keeping order and decorum. Do not be critical of council members,

staff or others in public.

Be respectful of each other’s time keeping remarks brief, to the point and non-repetitive.

Agenda Statements that dictate the behavior and "civility" of the taxpayers.

I believe that as adults we understand what it means to be civil and to behave. The council doesn't seem to understand that we have the right to talk with our elected officials and we have the right to have our own thoughts and comments.  

When you have statements like this it is taking your rights away and dictating how you behave and conduct yourself. That is no role for government.  Especially when the rules made are for you not the council. They believe that they are above you. Not servant to you as they truly are.


C. ROLL CALL

Mayor’s Address on Protocol:

“Welcome to the meeting of the Maplewood City Council. It is our desire to keep

all discussions civil as we work through difficult issues tonight. If you are here for

a Public Hearing or to address the City Council, please familiarize yourself with

the Policies and Procedures and Rules of Civility, which are located near the

entrance. Sign in with the City Clerk before addressing the council. At the podium

please state your name and address clearly for the record. All

comments/questions shall be posed to the Mayor and Council. The Mayor will

then direct staff, as appropriate, to answer questions or respond to comments.”

Learning takes five years?

I was shocked that the excuses that this Mayor is just now working on racial equity issues and outreach and engagement with citizens. That's very disingenuous. This Mayor and council has shut the taxpayers/citizens out of access to elected council members and they have only appeared  to be interested now at election time. 

I have a lifetime of service to my community. I have a lifetime of working with all cultures and all demographics. I have years of successful policy and programming in outreach and education. I am a lifelong learner always working to improve and enhance my leadership and skills.  I am ready to hit the ground running. I don't have a slow learning curve.  I there already. I value all cultures and diversity.  For me. That's my life. It's not something that I have to learn. 

Council Members dictating what you can grow on your property.

Council members creating policies that dictate what plants you can grow in your yard. ​

On your property. No vegetables in your front yard. 

To all my senior citizen friends and my friends with disabilities. I will be working on this. You should be able to grow food where you are able to. Don't worry. You pay high taxes in Maplewood and high property taxes. You should be able to grow your food as you are able.

If native plants and natural yards are allowed. You should be able to grow your food as you wish.


* Note- during the same agenda item. The council approved having farm animals in the city. So you can't grow your veggies in your front yard but your neighbors can have farm animals in their yards.  Seriously? Priorities and balance are lacking on this council. We must get a fresh start to renew our city into one that is equal for all with balance and vision.


June 11, 2018 City Council Meeting

Commission Members confused due to lack of council leadership.  Bad decisions on commercial and residential future  potential conflicts.

Margaret Behrens for Maplewood Mayor


Last night's city council meeting like most was dotted with errors and bad decisions. Please watch the council meeting that was archived by the video company CTV 15. You will see and hear for yourself all of the ill advised decisions this council made under the leadership of the current mayor. You will also hear from commission members that the lack of direction they were given by this council made their work extremely questionable. They didn't know what they were being a...

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WEBSTREAMING.CTV15.ORG

Maplewood City Council June 11, 2018