January 2016 E-Newsletter

Serving Deephaven, northern Eden Prairie, Edina, Excelsior, Greenwood, Hopkins, Long Lake, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, northern Mound, Orono, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay, Wayzata and Woodland.

January 2016


Jan Callison
6th District

Allyson Lueneburg
Principal Aide

Becky Westergren
Administrative Assistant


The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners consists of one commissioner from each of seven districts. I am proud to represent Deephaven, north Eden Prairie, Edina, Excelsior, Greenwood, Hopkins, Long Lake, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, northern Mound, Orono, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay, Wayzata and Woodland.

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Callison 2013 district map


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County departments, agencies & other entities

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Hennepin County libraries

Hennepin County Medical Center

Hennepin volunteers

Online services

Phone directory

Service Center information

Southwest light rail

Understanding your property tax

County snowplowing

Hennepin County has more than 570 miles of county road.  It is likely that you travel on them on a daily basis. 

Keeping these county roads safe during the winter is our priority. Plow drivers get regular refreshers in training and do dry runs of their routes in the fall. When winter weather arrives, our primary goal is to get lanes passable. We have 66 plow routes to cover all 2,200 lane miles of county roads (a lane mile is the number of miles multiplied by number of lanes). During a typical storm we are out clearing and de-icing starting around 2 a.m. in order to help with a safe morning commute.

Working in shifts, our snow and ice removal team will stay active until roads are clear. Then comes post-storm clean up, when we work to clear everything from guardrail to shoulder. All in all, it can be a nearly continuous effort for several days, and – in some instances – almost daily for weeks.

You have a role to play too. Give plows room to work. Slow down. And remember, just because a plow has been through does not mean you should travel at normal speeds. Learn more at www.hennepin.us/plowing.  

Southwest Light Rail update from the Met Council

Plan for securing remaining local funds by June 2016

The Metropolitan Council is working with the state and project partners on transportation funding in the 2016 legislative session for the remaining $135 million state share of the cost to build the proposed Southwest LRT line.

The Council made significant progress on the project in 2015. Early in the year, President Obama recommended the project for a Full Funding Grant Agreement in his 2016 budget. Strong local support was shown throughout the municipal consent process that ended in September. Project design was 60 percent complete in fall 2015. Met Council submitted its notice to the Federal Transit Administration regarding its intent to apply for entry into Engineering in mid-2016.

Site preparation work to begin

Site work would begin in the fall, after receipt of the environmental Record of Decision, to prepare for the start of heavy construction in 2017.

Images show how landscape would change with addition of LRT

A series of new images created by Southwest LRT design and engineering staff shows how the proposed new LRT line and stations would be integrated into the surrounding landscape.

Below are images impacting District 6.  For larger images and additional information on the entire corridor, please see the Metropolitan Council Newsletter.

Eden Prairie

A new bridge would carry light rail vehicles near the Purgatory Creek Park pavilion in Eden Prairie (large image). Top view is looking northeast toward Prairie Center Drive.



A retaining wall would be constructed along the slope west of the Claremont Apartments in Minnetonka (large image, bottom). The existing trail would be preserved.



The Depot is a popular local meeting place south of Excelsior Boulevard in Hopkins. The existing outdoor patio and outbuilding would remain next to the LRT tracks. 


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I hope you are enjoying my electronic newsletters, and find them interesting and informative about county activities. In addition to my monthly newsletter, the county sends various newsletters and notifications available by email or text message. To explore the many opportunities to subscribe or to change your preferences, visit the subscription webpage.

Please feel free to send me your comments through my feedback form on issues that concern you or you would like covered. I value your opinions.

Warm regards,

Jan Callison

Board meetings

December 1, 2015

Solid Waste Enterprise Fund grants

The board awarded eight grants totaling $97,786 to improve recycling in public spaces. Grants were awarded to the cities of Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Minneapolis, New Hope, St. Bonifacius, St. Louis Park and Tonka Bay and the University of Minnesota. The projects will add recycling receptacles to parks and high-traffic pedestrian routes and expand organics collections programs. The public space recycling program, established in 2014, provides a financial incentive to municipalities and public entities to explore new opportunities to reduce, reuse, recycle or compost waste. Up to $100,000 from the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund, which is funded by fees that waste haulers pay to dispose of garbage generated by residents and businesses in the county, is available annually for these grants.

Learn more about the county’s public space recycling grants.

Southwest Light Rail trail crossings negotiations

The board authorized negotiations with the Metropolitan Council to fund three trail grade-separated crossings adjacent to the Southwest LRT (METRO Green Line Extension) route, in Hopkins and St. Louis Park. Construction of the three trail grade-separated crossings will be incorporated and move forward as part of the METRO Green Line Extension project. The county will contribute up to $2.6 million. Three Rivers Park District will reimburse Hennepin County $1.1 million for its share of the local construction costs. 

Three Rivers Park District 2016 budget approved

The board reviewed and approved the Three Rivers Park District superintendent’s proposed $35.9 million operating budget for 2016. The proposed budget reflects an increase of 3.45 percent from 2015. The total budgeted property tax levy including debt service is about $41.5 million, an increase of 0.66 percent over last year. 


December 16, 2015

Plans moved forward for Hennepin County / Ramsey County joint youth residential treatment facility

The County Board agreed to proceed with plans for a joint Hennepin-Ramsey County residential youth treatment center. Two existing residential treatment centers at the Hennepin County Home School and Ramsey County’s Boys Totem Town are in need of significant ongoing preservation and maintenance efforts. For the past 18 months the counties have worked toward creating a joint facility replacement. The next phase will:

  • Complete facility pre-design with an architectural consultant
  • Finalize site requirements, develop site option descriptions and finalize site selection
  • Finalize capacity, scope and staffing needs
  • Complete project construction, project cost estimates and update project schedule
  • Draft cooperative agreement and develop projected operating budget
  • Arrange capital funding

The cost for a facility pre-design is expected to exceed $50,000 to be shared equally between Hennepin and Ramsey Counties. Once a consultant has been identified, further approval will be sought from the respective county boards. This phase is expected to be accomplished in 12 to 14 months, at which time staff will be ready to seek final Board approval to begin the construction process of the joint facility.

Youth Sports Program grants awarded

The County Board awarded 39 Youth Sports Grants for projects ranging from a $225,000 baseball field complex in Minneapolis to a $1,000 disc golf course in Champlin. The board approved 14 large facilities projects in the amount of $1,815,000, and 25 small equipment grants totaling $125,000. The Hennepin Youth Sports Grant program provides substantial support to local communities throughout the county.  

District 6 awards include:

Shorewood: $200,000 for synthetic turf on the Badger Park multipurpose field

Eden Prairie: $5,000 for toddler equipment and pool features at Eden Prairie Community Center

Minnetonka: $10,000 for outfield fencing at Bennet Family Park

Spring Park: $923 for two soccer goals at Thor Thompson Park

Wayzata: $10,000 for a J22 sailboat

Search the list of 2016 Youth Sports Grant projects

Study to assess contracted food support programs

The board agreed to support a study of currently contracted food support programs, to look for opportunities for increased efficiency, effectiveness and maximum accessibility. Currently, the county works with six providers that provide emergency food support; in all, 80 programs provide food support in the county. The Human Services Department will report back to the board with recommendations by July 1, 2016.

2016 county budget approved

The Hennepin County Board approved the county’s 2016 budget of $1.9 billion. The budget includes a property tax levy of $726.8 million, an increase of 4.48 percent over 2015. The budget reflects increasing service demands across the county. 

Some elements of the 2016 budget include:

Child protection

A plan to improve the safety of children in the county includes increasing critical staff and reexamining current work practices.


The county is updating existing voting equipment in preparation for national and local elections in 2016.

Self-sufficiency and workforce initiatives

As baby boomer-age employees retire, the Career Connections program identifies, trains and hires qualified candidates for gateway county positions with opportunities for additional education and advancement. County officials are committed to sharing best practices with other employers in the region. 

Workforce competitiveness

The county and AFSCME, its largest union, have agreed on a series of contracts, reflected in the budget, continues to incorporate competitive compensation and benefits. They include an enhanced tuition reimbursement program, paid parental leave, progressive health and life insurance and a new salary minimum of at least $15 per hour. The measures are part of a larger effort to maintain Hennepin County’s status as an employer of choice in the region, and to maintain a high level of customer service to taxpayers.

Property tax levy

The increase in this year’s property tax levy follows several years of nearly flat increases. With this budget, Hennepin County’s property tax levy has increased by an average of 1.67 percent per year over the past five years.

The budget adoption follows more than six months of budget preparation and hearings focused on the county’s continued commitment to help residents to be healthy, protected and safe, self-reliant, assured due process and mobile.

Regional Railroad Authority budget approved

The county approved a $63 million budget for the Regional Railroad Authority. The budget supports the following priority projects:

  • The Southwest Light Rail Transit requires $33.1 million – as the project completes engineering and moves to construction
  • The Bottineau Light Rail Transit requires $12.33 million as the project completes the project development phase and moves toward engineering
  • The Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit requires $2.67 million for project development and property acquisition purposes
  • The Hiawatha Light Rail requires $2.89 million for debt service
  • The 2016 HCRRA budget includes $11.96 million for maintenance of the 55 miles of corridor and staff support for transitways and oversight of HCRRA's infrastructure assets and operational needs. 

Agendas and minutes of action taken by the Hennepin County Board are posted under Hennepin County meetings and agendas. For greater detail on the above agenda items and additional board actions, visit county news releases.

County calendar

January 1, 2016

Business recycling grant funding and assistance

Most commercial buildings in the seven-county metro area must be recycling at least three materials by January 1, 2016, according to state law. To help businesses, nonprofit organizations and institutions start or improve recycling programs, Hennepin County provides funding, technical assistance and guidance on best practices.

The following grant options are available:

  • Option 1: Receive up to $10,000. Applications accepted and reviewed beginning January 1 on an ongoing basis
  • Option 2: Receive $10,000 to $50,000. Applications accepted and reviewed three times per year on February 15, June 15 and October 15. 

Learn more and apply.

For more information, contact Andre Xiong at andre.x.xiong@hennepin.us or 612-543-1316.

January 5, 2016

Hennepin County Board organizational meeting

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners will be meeting off-site for the first board meeting of the year.  This meeting is held to determine the 2016 Hennepin County Board organizational structure, as well as the Regional Railroad Authority organizational structure.

The meeting will take place at 1:30 PM at the Minneapolis Central Library 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55401.  The meeting will be held in Pohlad Hall.

January 12, 2016

Hennepin County Committees and HRA meeting

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners will be meeting off-site for the first committee meetings of the year.  The normal committee meeting process will stay in place for the off-site meeting and the House and Redevelopment Authority will hold its organizational meeting immediately following committees.

The meeting will take place at 1:30 PM at the St. Louis Park City Hall in their City Council chambers 5005 Minnetonka Blvd, St. Louis Park, MN 55416

March 2, 2016

Central-Northeast Minneapolis Human Services Center

Mark your calendars for the grand opening of the Central-Northeast Minneapolis Human Services Center on Wednesday, March 2, 2016, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Health Services Building, 525 Portland Avenue, Minneapolis, 6th floor.

Learn more about Hennepin County's regional human service centers.