January 2017 News and Events from Commissioner Linda Higgins

Commissioner Linda Higgins, Hennepin County, MN




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Linda Higgins
Commissioner, District 2

Tina Sanz
Principal Aide

Beverly Hammond
Administrative Secretary

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District 2 serves the cities of Golden Valley, Medicine Lake, north and northeast Minneapolis, southeast Plymouth and St. Anthony.

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Understanding your property tax

The County Board has just wrapped up and approved the budget, and the holiday season is here. Everyone is rushing to get their end-of-year work and holiday tasks done, so we have a short newsletter this month. We’ll be back next month with a full issue.

Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season and a very happy new year!


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2017 Hennepin County budget

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Board approves 2017 budget

The Hennepin County Board voted 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. 

Priorities include:  

  • Child well-being, working to identify at-risk families earlier and providing practical supports to address the root causes of abuse and neglect
  • Hennepin Health, providing a holistic approach to health care for some of the county’s most vulnerable residents, including not only preventive physical and behavioral health care, but connections to social services to help them access shelter and employment
  • Hennepin Housing Fund, funding development and preservation of affordable housing for very low-income adults and families
  • Hennepin County Career Connections, providing training and public/private-sector career paths for people who face barriers to employment 
  • Transit and transportation, supporting the long-term value of neighborhoods and communities through strategic public investments in infrastructure that improves mobility and safety and connects people to jobs
  • Adult Detention Initiative, providing 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  

Other budgets

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.

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.

Board news

Full board meeting agendas, actions and background materials may be found at board.co.hennepin.mn.us/hcmeetview/.

November 29

Funding increased for residential organics recycling programs

Recognizing that organics recycling is the greatest opportunity to reduce our trash, the board adopted changes to the Hennepin County Residential Recycling Funding Policy to allocate more money to cities for organics recycling programs.

To support city recycling programs, Hennepin County distributes all of the funding that it receives from the state’s Select Committee on Recycling and the Environment (SCORE) fund to cities. The county distributed $3.5 million in 2016. 

Organic waste, including food and compostable paper, makes up about one-quarter of residential trash. Increasing organics recycling is the best opportunity to reduce waste and increase recycling.

Funding approved to replace East 46th Street bridge

The board approved funding to replace the East 46th Street Bridge over Godfrey Parkway in Minneapolis, at a proposed county cost of $3.6 million.  

Three Rivers Park District budget approved

The board approved the Three Rivers Park District’s 2017 budget with a total property tax levy of $41.5 million, which is a slight decrease from last year. 

December 13

Board thanked Randy Johnson for nearly four decades of service

The board commended Commissioner Randy Johnson for his 38-year career as county commissioner serving the residents of southern Hennepin County suburbs.

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.

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 Public Works.

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. Award details will be in the next District 2 newsletter.

Grant accepted for rapid re-housing and enhanced employment services for 100 homeless families

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. 

Board approved 2017 State Legislative Platform

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 January. 

Legislative priorities are updated annually at hennepin.us/your-government/open-government/open-government. For further information, contact 612-348-3233.

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