County board actions: new transit transportation sales tax approved, county sells Century Plaza, veterans service director appointed

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

County board actions

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Board approves new sales tax for transit and transportation

The board voted 5-2 to terminate the joint powers agreement establishing the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) and impose a half-cent sales tax in Hennepin County supporting the county’s transit and transportation projects. 

The four other CTIB counties — Anoka, Dakota, Ramsey and Washington — all must do the same for CTIB to dissolve and the new tax to take effect in Hennepin County. 

Should CTIB dissolve, the current quarter-cent CTIB sales tax will end on September 30, 2017, and the county’s half-cent sales tax will begin on October 1, 2017, for a net quarter-cent increase on taxable goods and services in Hennepin County. 

A $20 excise tax on new car sales will replace a like CTIB tax, as well.

Annual county revenue from the sales tax could be as much as $125 million initially. This is projected to be enough to cover the local share of capital and operating costs for the county’s current and future transit lines through 2036. 

These lines include the current Blue Line, Green Line and Northstar Commuter Rail, and the future Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension), Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension), I-35W South BRT (Orange Line) and Riverview Corridor.

Sales tax revenue also has the potential to cover county transportation projects and improvements, for example, road and bridge work planned in the county’s Capital Improvement Program, if designated in the future by the board after a public hearing.

Read more about the action.

See the sales and use transportation tax implementation plan.

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County sells Century Plaza for estimated $9.4 million

The board approved negotiation of the sale of Century Plaza, a former county human service location, to DEHL Properties. The developer proposes to renovate the six-story, 297,650-square-foot building into office and flexible space to complement the Minneapolis Convention Center and downtown hotels. The county selected DEHL Properties out of four responses to a request for proposals issued in January. Hennepin County officially closed the 1930s-era building in May as part of a multi-year effort to re-locate human services closer to where people live, work and attend school. 

Learn more about the sale of Century Plaza.

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

Veterans services officer appointed

Neil Doyle

The board appointed Neil Doyle as Hennepin County’s veterans services officer, effective June 25. Doyle brings 15 years of veterans service experience to Hennepin County, most recently serving as veterans services supervisor for Olmstead County. His experience also includes 15 years of service with the Army National Guard, a master’s degree in management with an emphasis on healthcare management and a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management. Doyle will lead Hennepin County’s veterans service office, a team of nationally-accredited staff helping service members, veterans, survivors and family members get the benefits they’ve earned.

Learn more about the appointment.

Learn more about veterans services. 

Program will provide pathway to commercial driving careers

The board approved a $150,000 agreement with Summit Academy OIC to implement a program to recruit, train and place up to 24 people into jobs as commercial drivers. This program will become one of several Career Pathways training programs that connect people facing employment barriers to jobs with Hennepin County and other regional employers. The board Tuesday also approved an agreement to renew funding for Career Pathways.   

Read more about Career Pathways training programs.

Regional effort will deliver emergency alerts in multiple languages

The board approved a $165,000 agreement to broadcast and stream emergency preparedness information using Twin Cities Public Television channels. Funding will provide for a regional effort, one of the first in the nation, to deliver emergency alerts in multiple languages: Spanish, Hmong, Somali and English. Regional programming will also deliver information to help residents prepare for a variety of emergencies. Hennepin County Emergency Management will administer the program on behalf of regional emergency managers in partnership with Twin Cities Public Television, ECHO Minnesota and other public and private partners.

Learn more about this partnership.

Learn more about emergency management.

Funding will continue family planning program in North Minneapolis

The board accepted $343,631 of grant funding to continue family planning services for North Minneapolis residents at risk for unplanned pregnancy. This new round of funding from the Minnesota Department of Health will allow NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center to extend services until June 2018. Hennepin County is committed to reducing unintended pregnancies through a multilayered education and clinical approach. The teen birth rate in Hennepin County decreased by 52 percent between 2007 and 2014. 

Read more about this action.

Member reappointed to Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Board

The board reappointed Jenny Winkelaar to the board.

Read more about this action. 

Read more about citizen advisory boards in Hennepin County.

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