October 2016 E-Newsletter

Jan Callison banner 2016

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.

October 2016


Jan Callison
6th District

Allyson Lueneburg
Policy Aide

Christine Hoyles
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

Elected & appointed officials

Hennepin County libraries

Hennepin County Medical Center

Hennepin volunteers

Online services

Phone directory

Service Center information

Southwest light rail

Understanding your property tax

Ridgedale Library renovations


The Hennepin County Board voted to approve a $21.4 million plan to refurbish Hennepin County Library-Ridgedale, in Minnetonka. The interior space of the library has not been updated since 1999, and many of the major building system components, such as air handlers, the chiller plant and electrical systems date from original construction in 1981. Community members were part of the planning process, and the renovation aims to improve access and efficiency for patrons and library staff. 

Read more about the plan to renovate Ridgedale Library.

Community Action Agency


On Friday, August 26, 2016, Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin (CAPSH) received Governor Dayton's Assurance Statement, officially recognizing CAPSH as the community action agency for the City of Minneapolis. 

In order to make sure the agency is adequately prepared to serve the new area, they are participating in a Community Needs Assessment. 

If you would like to participate in the Community Needs Survey, please find it here.

County Road 101 (Bushaway Road) in Minentonka, Wayzata and Woodland update

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One of the remaining milestones for the project has been reached! Bushaway Road is open from Minnetonka Boulevard (County Road 5) to Eastman Lane/McGinty Road. 

Work still going on

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to bring you a new and improved road. We ask that you continue to use extreme caution when driving through the area as it is still an active work zone. 

Crews will continue working on the pedestrian and bike trails, sidewalks, ornamental railing and other finishing touches for at least a few more weeks. 

And, if using Bushaway Road as a commuter or truck route, please be aware that the bridge remains closed (details below). For traffic travelling beyond Wayzata and Minnetonka, it is advised that you continue to use the official detour route of Minnetonka Boulevard (County Road 5), Interstate 494 and Highway 12. All large trucks should continue to use the official detour route.

Bridge construction update

Progress continues on the bridge, which is on-schedule to open November 1.

Now that the concrete pour has had time to cure, crews will be removing the forms (wooden molding) from the bridge deck. Forming and pouring of additional segments of the bridge is also underway. Further along the railroad corridor, workers continue driving sheeting for retaining wall P.

For more information:

Hotline: 866-981-1101 

Email: countyroad101@hennepin.us

Website: www.hennepin.us/countyroad101       

Twitter: @hennepinCR101

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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

September 8, 2016

Grant connects caregivers to respite opportunities

The board voted to accept an 18-month grant for as much as $350,000, to connect people with autism spectrum disorder to organizations that offer culturally competent respite care. The grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services will be used to help family caregivers find and pay for short-term, planned and emergency respite care services to prevent out-of-home placement, hospitalization, and caregiver stress.  In addition, the funding will provide cultural competence training for 150 respite workers, with a special focus on additional family members and members of underserved communities.  At least 125 people with autism will receive services through the grant. In 2014, Hennepin County served approximately 1,520 persons with autism spectrum diagnoses in our waiver and children’s mental health systems.

Read more. 

Southwest Light Rail funding increase helps project move ahead


Hennepin County will increase its funding commitment to the Southwest Light Rail Transit project, helping to bridge a funding gap left by the Minnesota Legislature. Acting as the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority, the Hennepin County Board agreed to increase its share of the project by $20.5 million, for a total funding commitment of $185 million, or 10 percent of the project’s capital costs. Combined with a similar increase from the Counties Transit Improvement Board and a plan by the Metropolitan Council to raise $103.5 million in Certificates of Participation – a financing tool used previously by the Met Council and the state – the county’s additional infusion is helping the project bridge the $144.5 million funding gap left by the state, and fulfilling the federally mandated local share. 

Read the full news release.

Rail authority approves proposed maximum levy

Acting as the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority, the board approved the agency's proposed 2017 maximum property tax levy at $33 million. That property taxpayers' share is only part of the agency's overall $100.6 million budget. 

The proposed 2017 Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA) budget supports the following priority projects:

  • $33.99 million for Southwest Light Rail Transit, as the project completes engineering and moves to construction
  •  $44 million for the Bottineau Light Rail Transit as the project completes the project development phase and moves toward engineering
  • $7.2 million for the Midtown Greenway Corridor Bridges for project development and construction
  • $6.9 million for debt service 

The 2017 HCRRA budget includes $8.6 million for maintenance of the 55 miles of corridor and staff support for transitways and oversight of HCRRA's infrastructure assets and operational needs. It is recommended that the HCRRA levy for 2017 be set at $33 million.  

The proposed maximum levy will be discussed at the county's Truth-in-Taxation hearing, Tuesday, November 29, at 6 p.m. It comes to a vote on Tuesday, December 13. 

Read more about the Railroad Authority's maximum levy.

September 20, 2016

Board approves max tax levy for 2017

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a $759.4 million maximum property tax levy. 

The board is required by state law to adopt a maximum property tax levy in September. The 2017 maximum property tax levy represents an increase of $32.6 million, or 4.49 percent from last year’s final levy. Last Tuesday, Hennepin County Administrator David Hough presented a proposed budget of $1.9 billion, a reduction of 2.57 percent from the 2016 budget. The board will vote on a final budget on Tuesday, December 13, 2016.

Top priorities

The 2017 budget reflects onetime and systemic changes with a goal of improving conditions for some of the county’s most vulnerable residents, increasing innovation, providing services to residents in order to promote self-sufficiency, and demonstrating a commitment to solid fiscal priorities and responsibilities that are reflected by more than three decades of AAA bond ratings. 

The 2017 budget demonstrates a commitment by Hennepin County to strengthen up-front, strategies that will reduce reliance on government assistance, reduce costs. This work will improve our community for decades to come.  

Child Wellbeing, which gives children early access to mental health and chemical health services, in-home visits and education for their parents, to identify problems and provide early support

Hennepin Health, a holistic approach to health care for some of the county’s most vulnerable residents, which includes not only preventive physical and behavioral health care, but connections to social services to help them access shelter and employment

Hennepin Housing Fund, a program to fund development and preservation of affordable housing for very low-income adults and families

Hennepin County Career Connections, a program to provide training and public- and private-sector career paths for people who face barriers to employment 

Transit and transportation, current and future initiatives to increase all residents’ mobility and access to good jobs and education

Adult detention Initiative, which provides alternatives to jail for low-risk offenders who do not need to be detained, but who may benefit from behavioral health services, or who could be supervised using a variety of detention and processing strategies  

“It just makes good sense to help residents become more self-sufficient and successful," said County Board Chair Jan Callison. “Our hope is that today’s investment will lead to a more prosperous future for everyone." 

Next steps

The property tax levy that the commissioners ultimately approve in December may be lower than the approved maximum, but it cannot exceed the maximum levy adopted at Tuesday’s meeting. In November, property owners will receive a notice that shows the impact of the county’s maximum levy on their properties, as well as the impact of taxes proposed by other local units of government, such as cities and school districts.

The property tax levy is the segment of the budget that is covered by property taxes. The balance of the county budget comes from state and federal aid, as well as from other revenue sources. 

Housing and Redevelopment max levy approved

The board also approved a maximum property tax levy of $8.45 million and proposed 2017 budget of $13.58 million for the county's Housing and Redevelopment Authority. The budget and levy will be discussed at the Truth-In-Taxation Hearing, Tuesday, November 29, at 6 p.m.  

Read more about the Housing and Redevelopment Authority maximum levy.

Debit cards will ease reentry for people leaving detention centers

The County Board approved an agreement with Stored Value Cards to provide prepaid debit cards to people who are transitioning out of county detention facilities. Residents earn wages through their jobs or may have money left in their commissary accounts when they finish their sentences. Cutting checks (some less than a dollar) sometimes cost more than the checks were worth. Corrections officials have found that paper checks sometimes become damaged before they can be cashed, and people who do not have bank accounts or valid identification encounter barriers to redeeming them. In addition, the county incurs costs for issuance and printing, fraud prevention and lost check replacement.

Read more about the agreement with Stored Value Cards.

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.

Board briefings

In addition to our regularly scheduled board meetings, the board often meets on Thursday mornings to receive board briefings. These are informal opportunities to discuss emerging issues. No decisions are made. Board briefings occur in the board room on the 24th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center and are open to the public.

September 15, 2016

Transportation program


Topics discussed included wheelage tax results, utility coordination and proposed changes to permit fees, the Advance Transportation Management System, workforce planning (hiring challenges), road turnback options, and the identification and process for including projects in the capital improvement program.  Most discussion related to turnbacks and the capital improvement program and centered on how projects move into these categories and how county board members can be better involved. 

September 29, 2016

Recycling Update

Staff presented a series of recommendations intended to increase organics recycling.  This would include the reallocation of recycling funds to cities based upon organics recycling and revising Ordinance 13 to require cities to contract for organics service by January 1, 2021.  Business recycling grants and assistance would continue but Ordinance 13 would also be altered “to require food waste generators to recycle organics after January 1, 2021.”  Finally, county staff would like to release a request for proposals for an anaerobic digestion facility.

County calendar

2016 general election absentee voting


Avoid lines on Election Day and vote when it’s convenient. All eligible voters in Hennepin County can vote absentee — in-person or by mail — beginning Friday, September 23. This is the first presidential election that voters in Minnesota may vote absentee without any specific reason.   

Vote absentee in person 

In-person absentee voting is available  through November 7 at most city halls across Hennepin County, and four Minneapolis locations including the Early Vote Center in downtown Minneapolis, at 217 South Third Street. Each city location can accommodate voters who live in that particular city.

Check available locations

Voters who live anywhere in Hennepin County also may vote in person on the Hennepin County Government Center skyway level, 300 S. Sixth Street, Minneapolis. Voting is available 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, with extended hours the week before Election Day, November 8. 

Learn more about absentee voting in person. 

Vote absentee by mail 

Voters must fill out a paper or online application to get a ballot. Paper applications are available in English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese, Lao, Oromo, Khmer and Amharic.

Access the application

Absentee voters do not need to be preregistered to apply to vote. However, you can take steps to make the application process smoother.

Preregister for the general election

Confirm that you are already registered

Cast your vote

Absentee ballots will be mailed to voters within one to two days of receiving the application. 

Completed ballots must be received on or before Election Day, November 8. Voters can return ballots by mail or in person.  

Learn more about absentee voting by mail 

Upcoming budget hearings

Human Services and Public Health

Thursday, October 6, 2016, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. (follow-up, if needed)

Capital Budgeting Task Force and fees

Thursday, October 20, 2016, 9 a.m. – noon

Truth-in-Taxation public meeting

Tuesday, November 29, 2016, 6 p.m. Participants can park for free after 5 p.m. in the Government Center ramp. Enter on 3rd Avenue.

Administrator amendments

Wednesday, December 7, 2016, during Budget and Capital Investment Committee meeting

Commissioner amendments

Monday, December 12, 2016, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

County Board vote on 2017 budget and levy

Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 1:30 p.m.