A lot of business on the agenda for tonight’s meeting, but nothing very involved or controversial.
A few highlights:
- Pad Drive: Women of West St. Paul is hosting a pad drive fundraiser at Dunham’s on May 11. $5 and a feminine product to get in the door (or just $10). All donations go to Neighbor’s Inc.
- Senior Center: You can eat at Baker’s Square on May 2 and 20% of your bill will go to the Thompson Park Senior Center. You need a flier to get the donation, which you can pick up at city hall or from the senior center.
- Shred: Saturday’s free shred event was so successful people were turned away. Look for another shred event on June 26.
- Food Drive: The spring food drive raised more than 84,000 pounds of food for Neighbors Inc.—and the cross-town rivalry resulted in the South St. Paul city council donning Sibley hockey jerseys.
- New Police Officers: Two new police officers were sworn in tonight, a semi-formal ceremony instituted by Police Chief Bud Shaver who recalled his rushed ceremony in a hallway more than 30 years ago. Shaver will be retiring next month. (In addition to sharing pie with his new officers, Shaver also took a pie in the face as part of another fundraising challenge.)
- New Firetrucks: South Metro Fire will be getting new firetrucks. Fun fact: Fire engines serve on the frontline for 10 years and serve another 10 years in reserve. So South Metro will be retiring two 20-year-old fire engines.
- Marie & Oakdale Trails: With the help of a $1 million federal grant, new trails will be going in on Marie and Oakdale. Initially passed in 2017, construction is expected to begin in June and be done by the fall.
It’s April 15, which is tax day here in the U.S. Federal and state income taxes have to be filed by today. It’s also the first chance we can see the actual impact of the tax cut Republicans passed in late 2017.
So did you pay more or less on your 2018 taxes?
There’s been a lot of political rhetoric surrounding these tax cuts—that I think turns out to be wrong on both sides—as well as plenty of skewed perceptions.
Let’s look at the reality. Continue reading Tax Day: Impact of the 2017 Tax Cut
It was a pretty light city council meeting this week, so we’ve got a short recap.
- Pedestrian safety: Ken Paulman recently wrote about a missed opportunity to improve pedestrian safety at Smith and Dodd, and he shared those findings with the council. It’s an interesting read and can introduce you to the term “sneckdown.”
- Road repair: Another resident expressed frustration over cracks appearing in Charlton after it was just recently resurfaced. That’s actually expected because the road wasn’t fully reconstructed, it just received a mill and overlay—a bandaid solution that can stretch the life of the road another 10 to 12 years before a full reconstruction is needed. Why isn’t public works doing full reconstructions? Cost. If you want perfectly smooth roads, you have to pay for them. Given the current tax increases in West St. Paul, it seems like we’re doing the best we can with what we have.
- New restaurant: Hamburgeusas El Gordo is coming to West St. Paul at 1731 S. Robert Street (the old Rib Shack location). They hope to open this spring, though no exact date is known yet.
- Food drive: Final totals aren’t available, but the food drive has been a tremendous success—and definitely a community effort. Neighbors Inc. serves more than 500 families every month, so thank you to the many volunteers and donors who made this happen.
- Continued debate: The Open Council Work Session (OCWS) opened a debate on the Inflow/Infiltration (I/I) ordinance changes that didn’t past last meeting. Rather than debating the specific changes, the council mostly discussed the need for an I/I ordinance at all. It’s a convoluted debate with lots of questions and few clear answers. And this discussion didn’t resolve any of them, so look for this to be an ongoing conversation.
Library fines may seem like a minor annoyance, but when those fines add up you can be blocked from using the library. The blocking threshold is $25 for adults and $10 for kids. That can lock people out of vital resources. And the people with the greatest difficulty paying fines are the ones most in need of the library’s free resources.
23,000 people are currently blocked in the Dakota County Library system.
That’s a lot of people shut out of books, resources, and internet access.
Thankfully there’s a solution. For the week of April 6-13, 2019, Dakota County Libraries are hosting Fine Forgiveness Week. Simply use your library account online or in-person during the week and your fines will be waived. Continue reading Fine Forgiveness Week at Dakota County Library: April 6-13, 2019