County board actions: Legislative platform approved, 2017 budget set

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Contact: Carolyn Marinan, Communications, 612-348-5969

County board actions

Votes Tuesday set the board's priorities for the 2017 state Legislature, approved the 2017 budget, commended Commissioner Randy Johnson for his service on the county board, awarded Youth Sports Grants and established a rapid re-housing program for homeless families.

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Board approves 2017 budget

The board voted Tuesday to approve the county’s 2017 budget of $1.9 billion, $14 million less than the 2016 adjusted budget. The budget includes a net property tax levy of $759.4 million, an increase of 4.49 percent over the 2016 final net property tax levy. The 2017 budget supports some of the county’s most vulnerable residents, by strengthening early interventions and promoting self-sufficiency. Read more.

  • The board also approved the Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority budget of $14.2 million. The budget includes a net property tax levy of $8.5 million. Read more.
  • The board also approved the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority budget of $100.6 million. The budget includes a net property tax levy of $33 million. Read more.
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Board thanks Randy Johnson for nearly four decades of service

The board commended Randy Johnson for his 38-year career as county commissioner serving the residents of southern Hennepin County suburbs – a career that will soon be coming to an end with his retirement.

Johnson, who was elected to the board in 1978, also served nine years as county board chair. Throughout his career, he has worked across party lines on behalf of all the residents in Hennepin County and District 5, initiating, collaborating and overseeing county staff, nonprofit and business leaders, regional policymakers and dealmakers to improve residents’ health and education, safety and self-sufficiency.

See the full commendation and read more about Johnson's accomplishments during his tenure as county commissioner.

Environment and Energy Department director appointed

Rosemary Lavin was appointed as director of the Environment and Energy Department. The department, which focuses on responsibly managing waste, protecting land and water, delivering clean energy and promoting environmental stewardship, is part of the Public Works Business Line. Lavin, who has worked for the county for 29 years, has been serving as the acting director for almost a year. Before that, she served as assistant director of Environment and Energy, overseeing the Environmental Protection Division. 

2017 Youth Sports Grants awarded

The board awarded the 2017 Hennepin Youth Sports Grants totaling $1.8 million for 14 sports facility projects in Hennepin County and an additional $125,000 in for 21 small equipment projects.

Cities, schools and parks received funding for an array of projects, such as athletic fields and courts, ski areas, a gym floor and a skate park. Equipment projects include nets, bleachers, lighting and utility vehicles for use at athletic fields.


Since the program began in 2009, the county has awarded $17.6 million to 108 facilities, 200 small equipment projects, five playground projects and a swimming lesson pilot project. During spring 2017, Hennepin County will award additional Youth Sports Grants for playground projects and a second round of equipment grants.


Read more about the Youth Sports Program.

Grant will provide rapid re-housing and enhanced employment services for 100 families experiencing homelessness

The board accepted a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help 100 Hennepin County families experiencing homelessness transition quickly into permanent, decent and affordable housing.

Last month, HUD awarded the county $883,402 through its new Continuum of Care Program Grant. Hennepin County will match 25 percent of these funds. Families will receive housing placement services, links to integrated, enhanced employment services and continued support to maintain housing. 

Read more about the rapid re-housing program.

Board approves 2017 State Legislative Platform

At its meeting Tuesday, the board approved its 2017 legislative platform. These are the priorities the board and county administration will support during pre-session committee meetings and once the Legislature convenes in March. 


  • Regional Medical Examiner’s Facility—$25.9 million
  • Bottineau Light Rail Transit/Metro Blue Line Extension—$20 million
  • Access to I-35W from Lake Street—$25 million

Support others:

  • Artspace/Hennepin Center for the Arts—$6 million
  • Cedar Cultural Center—$3 million
  • Local bridge and historic bridge bonding—Support MnDOT’s request for $100 million
  • Local road improvement bonding—Support MnDOT’s Local Road Improvement Program’s (LRIP) request for $100 million

Criminal justice and public safety

Preserve and protect public safety through state funding that covers counties’ costs and state mandates.

  • Increase Community Corrections Act (CCA) funding to ensure adequate state funding for supervision of offenders in the community.
  • Support increased funding to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to meet its obligations for timely processing of drug chemistry evidence.
  • Support legislation and continued funding for offender reentry, including transitional housing, work opportunities and community-based treatment.
  • Support full funding of the state No Wrong Door program to address the identification, recovery and safety of children and young adults who are victims of sexual exploitation.

Data practices

Improve the delivery and coordination of supportive services through the use of data-driven strategies.

  • Support legislation that promotes streamlined service coordination and data sharing across health, education, public safety and human services organizations.

Environment and energy

Protect the environment and conserve resources through responsible management of waste and natural resources and promotion of environmental stewardship.

  • Restore SCORE funding to its original purpose (funding county waste reduction, recycling and composting efforts to meet state solid waste goals) by eliminating the diversion of SCORE revenues to the General Fund.
  • Ensure that Hennepin County receives a fair share of revenues from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.
  • Support the efficient, transparent and accountable management of water resources.
  • Support legislation allowing the county to use electricity produced by county facilities.
  • Support legislation and state funding to local jurisdictions within quarantine areas for planning and response to the loss of trees due to invasive pests and pathogens, such as emerald ash borer.
  • Support the Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board (SWMCB) 2017 legislative package adopted by SWMCB.

General government

Improve government services delivery, reduce mandates on local government, re-prioritize government spending and promote effective management of county programs.

  • Remove obligations and liabilities created by easements and other encumbrances on properties that, when in tax forfeiture, result in costs to the county or taxpayers.
  • Support improved efficiency of election administration through the use of e-poll books and electronic signature during early voting.
  • Amend state statute to allow local governments to publish official documents electronically.
  • Support renewal of the allocation of Legacy/Arts and Cultural Heritage funding for libraries.
  • Support others’ efforts to modernize investment statutes to allow large local governments to make collateralized investments with the same entities currently authorized for uncollateralized investments.

Hennepin County Medical Center health system 

Ensure access to the full continuum of health care services for all.

  • Support legislation to obtain vital funding that secures the financial vitality of Hennepin County Medical Center, including maximizing existing supplemental and Medicaid payments, creating new supplemental payments and mitigating the impact of revenue assessments on supplemental payments.
  • Support comprehensive reform of the state’s mental health system to ensure patients receive the appropriate level of care and to improve patient outcomes.
  • Target increased payments to safety-net hospitals with the largest uncompensated and undercompensated care burden; including the establishment of a Medicaid payment enhancement that accounts for the patients’ social determinants of health.
  • Support Medicaid care delivery reform demonstration projects that benefit patients seen by safety-net providers, including the creation of care models that integrate primary care and addiction medicine and dental care.
  • Support funding and development of policies that encourage the state’s adoption of best practices in health disparities reduction and health equity.
  • Create a mechanism to reduce the burden of uncompensated and undercompensated care created by changes to Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA).
  • Maintain or increase current state investment in medical education and health care workforce development funding for HCMC.

Health and human services

Ensure that health systems work to improve outcomes for all residents, especially the most vulnerable.  

Administrative and technical improvements

  • Support funding necessary for the Minnesota Eligibility Technology System (METS) to function properly and reliably, alleviate excessive burdens on county property taxpayers and improve services provided to customers.
  • Support modernization of Minnesota’s state and county computerized systems used for human services and health care eligibility to include simplification efforts.
  • Support reforms to the Minnesota Family Investment Partnership (MFIP) that streamline eligibility determination in ways that align it with other income support programs.

Investment in well-being of our children

  • Substantially invest in and reform early childhood development programs, including basic sliding fee child care, foster care child care, early learning scholarships, Head Start and evidence-based targeted home visiting.
  • Promote child well-being and achieve positive outcomes for county-involved youth by investing in both the child protection system and foster care system.
  • Support school educational stability for foster children and county-involved youth by stabilizing their access to transportation supports when they are placed in settings outside of their original school districts.

Investment in health through mental health and chemical health improvements

  • Support state funding and systems redesign to meet the needs of individuals with mental illness, including supportive housing options and services required for stabilizing individuals in the community.  
  • Support efforts to improve our children and adult systems of chemical health treatment to leverage federal funding and assure timely access to effective care.
  • Support efforts to integrate mental health, chemical health and criminal justice interventions to address the needs of justice-involved persons, to ensure better outcomes for residents and to reduce recidivism.
  • Support legislation that promotes and sustains efforts to develop a comprehensive and integrated model of health and human services delivery to assure access to county health and human services systems.


Leverage limited resources more efficiently and advance stable housing for individuals and families.

  • Support investments that provide greater access to Group Residential Housing (GRH), affordable and permanent housing options for vulnerable or low income persons and families receiving county services. Seek demonstration pilots to test how reforming income disregards and eligibility criteria expands pathways out of poverty and options for long-term stable housing.
  • Maintain funding for homeless prevention, outreach and emergency shelters.
  • Support legislation and administrative reforms that provide a continuum of services and housing, including 24-hour supervised care options for persons with acute and chronic care needs.


Protect state funding for mandated services and assure flexibility to serve our residents without undue reliance on property taxes.

  • Protect essential County Program Aid (CPA) that supports county-mandated services and reduces reliance on property tax.
  • Revise inconsistent state statutes to include the more widely used term “targeted communities” to facilitate quicker restoration of blighted properties.
  • Support alternative tax forfeited lands (TFL) sales methods to promote home ownership and achieve improved outcomes.


Strengthen the long-term value of neighborhoods and communities through strategic public investments in infrastructure.

  • Support a comprehensive transportation package that provides new revenue for roads, bridges and transit.
  • Modify the special distribution of leased vehicle sales tax in the metro area to fairly include Hennepin and Ramsey counties.
  • Oppose any increase in weight or size limits for commercial trucks and other motor vehicles.

Workforce development

Meet future workforce needs and address disparities by connecting well-trained and qualified individuals to high-demand jobs.

  • Increase funding for regional training partnerships among employers, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and community organizations.
  • Seek expansion of and increase flexibility for existing programs to provide more training and employment opportunities to better address the persistent employment disparities.
  • Seek funding to increase vocational training and employment services to clients in correctional programs.
  • Support reforms to the SNAP’s Employment and Training Program that streamline program administration and restructure participation sanctions.

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