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Commissioner, District 2
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Understanding your property tax
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It's an honor to serve the people of District 2. I'm ready to work with you, steering the kinds of smart public investments that make us all stronger, as you will see below with Hennepin County working our way into budget season.
In this issue of the newsletter, we also present in-depth coverage of some of the issues important to the people of District 2. Check out the articles about respite care for parents with autistic children and an innovative training program at Summit Academy OIC.
Be sure to check out all the great upcoming events this month, and think about subscribing to other interesting topics offered by Hennepin County.
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The 2017 budget will improve our community for decades to come.
County Board approves
$759.4 million maximum tax levy for 2017
The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners voted September
20 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.
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 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.
Child Well-being, 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
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
Hennepin Housing Fund,
a program to fund development and preservation of affordable housing for very
low-income adults and families
Career Connections, a program to provide training and public- and
private-sector career paths for people who face barriers to
Transit and Transportation, current and future initiatives to increase all residents’
mobility and access to good jobs and education
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
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 effect 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.
For the proposed 2017 budget, as well as the public hearing schedule, visit hennepin.us/your-government/budget-finance/budgets.
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
- $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
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.
Read more about the Railroad Authority's maximum levy.
Library tutors support K-12 student success
Hennepin County Library’s K-12 Homework Help program provides free
homework tutoring and resources at 12 library locations during the academic
year, with funding support from Friends of the Hennepin County Library. North
Regional Library, Northeast Library and Sumner are all Homework Help sites.
Each library Homework Help site has one paid lead tutor and
four volunteer tutors. The lead directs students to a volunteer who specializes
in certain subjects. And while most students are looking for help in core
subjects like math, reading and science, tutors can help with any work students
bring. See hennepin.us/stories/homework-help
for further information.
To volunteer with the Homework Help program, contact Barb
McKenzie, Library Volunteer Office, at 612-543-8579 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caregiving for caregivers
Support for Parents with Autistic Children
approved a $350,000 grant to to improve and enhance in-home and out-of-home
respite service for parents of children with autism.
Many children in our communities
are living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and need services and support
now and as they grow into adolescence and adulthood. While most focus is on the
children, the parents who strive to meet the demanding needs of caregiving also
need attention. This
grant will assist in bringing relief to parents who need relief and assistance
with the day-to-day care of their children. The help will be specialized and
About 1 in 68 children has been identified with ASD, according
to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM)
Network. That is more
than 3.5 million children.
The overall goals of respite service
providers are to:
- Provide relief
and support to caregivers
- Improve child
out-of-home placements and hospitalizations
- Increase safety
- Offer access to
activities and community that may not normally be present
Families living with ASD have unique stresses. Therefore,
it is crucial that service providers are properly trained and equipped to
provide specialized care. Communities and service systems must be
prepared to meet the needs of children and adults with ASD; otherwise, it takes
a toll on all family members.
- Therapies are expensive
and waiting lists are long.
- Many parents even report
having to stop work to care for their child with ASD.
- Annual medical expenses
can range from $2,100 to $11,200.
- Intensive behavioral
interventions for a child with an ASD can cost from $40,000 to $60,000 per year,
and the nonmedical costs of special education for a child with an ASD are about
$13,000 per year.
- Cost to individual
families extends into lost productivity and other financial problems for
Autism Statistics in Minnesota: Number of 7-9 year olds identified with ASD:
– 1 in 48
– 1 in 32
– 1 in 36
(Non-Somali) – 1 in 62
– 1 in 80
We are excited about the
opportunity we have to enhance the quality of life for parents and children in
our communities, providing support that will enhance caregiving and greatly
improve the overall quality of life for families.
Autism Speaks is
the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to
funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism;
increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs
of individuals with autism and their families. A very helpful tool is the 100 Days Kit for Newly Diagnosed
For more resource information for respite care services and
valuable resources visit:
Training and career development workforce growth
Summit Academy OIC to provide combined GED
education and construction training services
County 80,000 adults are without a high school diploma or its equivalency.
Academy OIC, a new program will provide a “contextualized GED” program –
combining classes to obtain a GED with construction training services.
Recently, Hennepin County gave a boost of support for the program with a $520,000
County grant prioritizes African American and Native American fathers and people
between the ages of 18-26 who have not completed their high school diploma or
GED. Hennepin County probation officers will identify and refer Community
Corrections clients to Summit Academy OIC’s GED and Post-Secondary Education
programs and encourage a training-to-career pathway leading to sustainable
wages starting at $32,000.
enrollment for correction clients will begin November 21, 2016, with a new
enrollment beginning every 10 weeks thereafter. The program is designed in
three phases, each a duration of 10 weeks. In the span of 30 weeks, students
will graduate with two credentials, a new set of skills and tools, and the
confidence and know-how on succeeding in the industry.
Photo: Mandy Nielsen, Summit Academy OIC
For more information visit www.summitacademyoic.org
FTA signs off on
environmental review for Blue Line Extension LRT
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has issued a Record of
Decision for the METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau) Light Rail Transit Project’s Final
Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS).
The Record of Decision means the FTA has signed off on the
environmental review process for the project. The next step is for the
Metropolitan Council as the Responsible Government Unit on September 28 to
determine the adequacy of the Final EIS. That will conclude the state
environmental review process for the project under Minnesota Rules chapter 4410.
After the Met Council vote on September 28, the project will ask the FTA to
authorize the project’s entry into the engineering phase.
Here is the link to the Record of Decision:
The Final EIS; including the Amended Draft Section 4(f) and
Section 6(f) Evaluation, USACE Section 404 permit application, and Section 106
Memorandum of Agreement, and all appendices; is available online at metrocouncil.org/blrt/feis.
New Douglas Drive
taking shape in Golden Valley
A full reconstruction of Douglas Drive (County Road 102)
roadway between Highway 55 and Medicine Lake Road (County Road 70) has been
underway since June. Crews remain on track to finish the first key segment,
between Duluth Street (County Road 66) and Medicine Lake Road, this year.
The project, which is expected to last into 2017, will
improve connectivity, pedestrian safety, traffic flow and aesthetics. As
part of the reconstruction, crews are also replacing and updating all below
ground utilities such as water mains, storm and sanitary sewer pipes.
More information about the project, including how to sign up
for regular email updates and contact the project, is available at hennepin.us/douglasdrive.
Hennepin County Career Connections
Hennepin County is recruiting participants for its Human
Service Representative Career Pathway program, which will begin in January
As part of this program, participants have the opportunity
to gain hands-on experience through an internship with Hennepin County and
earn college credits from Normandale Community College. Learn more about the program and hear
from program participants (YouTube).
For details, visit Hennepin County’s training programs
webpage. Start your application by attending a one-hour information
session every Monday at 9 a.m.
Project Pride for Living Learning Center: 1925
Chicago Ave (map)
Metro Transit buses 2,5, and 9
Hennepin County’s Career Pathway Programs are one of
several new ways the county is hiring new employees and changing hiring
practices to better reflect the work employees do. Other current Career Pathway
programs include training to become an office specialist, public sector
administrative professional, building operations technician and health
Left: Rick Carey (left) of Metro Transit shows President Obama
the controls of a new light rail vehicle during the president's visit to St.
Paul in early 2014. Photo from Metro Transit.
LRT career fair October 18 for professional and technical staff
The Southwest LRT
Project is ready to hire more professional and technical staff now that local
funding is secured and the environmental review process is complete.
Metro Transit is hiring 71 employees with backgrounds in
engineering, construction management, project controls, safety, quality
assurance/quality control, finance and administration. Interested applicants
can come to the career fair to talk with current employees in the project
office located in St. Louis Park, which today includes 45 staff and 86
Construction Professionals Career Fair
October 18, 3 to 6 pm
Southwest LRT Project Office,
Sixth Floor, Park Place West Building
6465 Wayzata Boulevard, St. Louis Park, MN 55426
Info at: metrocouncil.org/swlrt/construction
Salaries for these
jobs range up to $100,000
Starting annual salaries will range up to $100,000 for
construction managers. The office senior engineer and office engineer jobs will
have starting salaries of up to $77,000 and $71,000, respectively. Safety and
quality assurance/quality control inspectors’ salaries will start at $61,000.
The senior administrative specialist’s job will pay more than $53,000.
Check the Met Council website at metrocouncil.org/About-Us/Employment.aspx
for postings and application information. Positions will be posted in five
waves starting October 2016 through January 2018. For more information, see the
Metropolitan Council’s September newsletter.
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caregivers to respite opportunities
See story above
Rail authority approves proposed maximum levy
See story above
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 last week 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.
Board approves $759.4
million max tax levy for 2017
See story above
Redevelopment max levy approved at $8.45 million
See story above
renovation moves forward
The 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.
The 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. The cards will allow people to withdraw all of their funds without
fees, if they complete the transaction within five days of their release.
more about the agreement with Stored Value Cards.
Nine Hennepin County programs received recognition from the
National Association of Counties. Areas earning NACo Achievement Awards range
from environmental education to economic development, health, human services
and more. Information Technology also received a nod from NACo and the Center
for Digital Government for innovation in technology. Look
at the full list of Minnesota winners and program descriptions.
The County Board will hold a series of budget hearings, which
will continue until the final budget and levy are accepted in December. Unless
otherwise noted, the hearings are held on the 24th floor of the Hennepin County
Government Center, 300 South 6th Street, Minneapolis. Hearings and other
important budget documents are at hennepin.us/your-government/budget-finance/budgets.
Look for more news on the Hennepin County website at hennepin.us/news.
October 1, 9 am
13th Annual Historic Riverfront 5K Run/Walk. This
5K takes you through historic Northeast Minneapolis, along the Mississippi
River and over the Stone Arch Bridge. Boom Island
Park, 700 Sibley
St. NE Minneapolis. stawno.org.
Sunday, October 2, 11 am
Rummage Sale and Harvest Festival. Food, music, games, garden and more. St.
Lawrence-New Church, 1203 5th Street. umncatholic.com.
Friday, October 21, 1 pm
Northeast Minneapolis Food Tour. You’ll savor favorites from 6 locations
including sausages also served at Twins Stadium, authentic Neaopolitan Pizza,
traditional Greek desserts and gourmet cheeses, to name a few. twincitiesfoodtours.com.
October 15, 8am to 1pm
Health and Wellness – Caregivers Matter. Shiloh Temple Ministries. 1201 W.
Broadway Avenue, Minneapolis. eventbrite.com
October 18, 9am
People of Color Career Fair. Meet one-on-one with Minnesota Employers who are
ready to hire! U.S. Bank, Midco, State of Minnesota, Allianz, Medtronic, Metro
Transit and more. eventbrite.com
Wednesday, September 28, 6:30 - 8pm
Community Council - Gather in the Garden. Hennepin
County staff will discuss the benefits of strawbale gardens and how
community spaces like this can positively impact crime, safety and
behavior in our neighborhood. 24th
and Penn Avenue North (strawbale garden). Refreshments provided. jordanmpls.org
North Loop, Minneapolis
October 2, 16 and 30, 12-6pm
Movers and Makers Craft Market.The Minneapolis Craft Market is the best place to discover emerging
artists and new design talent of the North. Inbound Brewco,701 N. 5th
Thursday, October 13, 7pm
Plymouth Lions Dinner Meeting and Social. Medicine Lake City Hall, 10609 South
Shore Drive. plymouthlions.org
Monday, October 24
Valley Volunteer Day - Groups or organizations plan and coordinate activities to
coincide with Make a Difference Day, held annually the last Saturday
in October, nationwide for community service. There are a variety of activities.Volunteers can sign up to help out. For more information visit goldenvalleymn.gov
Ghoulish Golf. Visit Brookview for a spooky round of golf. Try out the
Haunted Hill, the Bat Wing Bunker, the Sand Witch Trap, and more. Big
pumpkin-faced putting cups. Fun for kids and
beginners.$12.50/person. $7/person if you are in your Halloween orange, or
in costume.200 Brookview Parkway. brookviewgolf.com
October 8, 1-4pm
Fire Department Open House. Fire Station Tours, Try on the Gear, Hot Dogs,
S'mores & Lemonade. Hands on Activities. Information here.
October 12, 7:30pm
SAV Chamber of Commerce
Coffee Club-Free Networking Meeting Business Networking with local
professionals and businesses. The Coffee Shop Northeast, 2852 Johnson Street. Information here.
Wednesday, October 5, 2:30pm-6:30pm
Plymouth Farmers Market. Parkers Lake Playfield, 15500 County Rd 6, plymouthmn.gov
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