MLS comes to Saint Paul!
Minnesota now has a Major League Soccer Team and Saint Paul
will be its home base. On Wednesday, August 17, the City Council adopted the
site and master plans for the Minnesota United Stadium that will be built at
Snelling and I-94. Two days later, Major League Soccer announced that Minnesota
United FC would join the league in 2017. This is going to be a game-changer for
that neighborhood, our city and the state as a whole. As an early supporter of
locating the stadium at that site, I am excited to see us get closer to
realizing this project.
The Mayor put together his budget assuming a Special Session of the Minnesota State Legislature would allocate $3 million in Local Government Aid to the City. Since hopes of a Special Session have been dashed, funding will either need to be made up through budget cuts, or a higher levy increase.
One quick point about the property tax levy—just because an increase is proposed, does not necessarily mean your taxes will go up. In the past year the City’s property tax base has increased 7.9%, while at the same time the home values in Macalester Groveland and Highland have only increased 3.9% and 5.2%, respectively. This means that other neighborhoods in the City are now sharing more of the tax burden and depending on the final levy increase and the budget decisions of the County and School District, you could see a decrease in your property taxes. For more information, I suggest you watch Ramsey County Property Tax Manager, Mr. Chris Samuels’, presentation to the City Council.
Please call or email my office to weigh in on what you think the City’s budget priorities should be. We are always happy to hear from you.
Flash back to February when the Council passed a resolution asking a Task Force to draft earned sick and safe time recommendations. Those recommendations were turned into an ordinance and vetted by residents, businesses and workers. I am proud of the robust public process this ordinance has gone through.
Earned Sick and Safe Time Update
August 24th, the Council got one step closer to adopting the Nation’s
strongest Earned Sick and Safe Time Policy. As you may know, “Earned Sick and
Safe Time” (ESST) means paid days off from work for employees to deal with
their own or a family member’s sickness, or domestic abuse situation. Under
this new ordinance every worker in the City of Saint Paul can accrue 1 hour of
ESST for every thirty hours worked, and up to 48 hours a year. This will ensure
that Saint Paul workers don’t come to work sick and that families don’t have to
choose between sending a child to school sick and putting a meal on the table. The
final passage was delayed by two weeks due to a last minute technical
amendment, but we expect to pass the ordinance September 7th.
Despite the delay, the ordinance would still be implemented it at the same time
as Minneapolis implements their ESST policy; July 1, 2017. Check out more
information about this monumental ordinance here.
LeCesse Development's Proposed Development
Proposed Development at Saint Clair and Snelling
There is a lot of buzz about LeCesse
Development’s proposed project at the southeast corner of Snelling and Saint
Clair. The proposal would have retail on the first floor and housing above. At
this point, no official plan has been submitted to the City and we are unsure
whether or not the plans on the Mac-Groveland website are a final
draft from LeCesse. Under their current drafts, the site would need to be
rezoned from B2 (Business) to T3 (Traditional Neighborhood). Traditional
neighborhood zoning more easily allows for mixed-use developments (retail and
housing), allows for greater density, and requires higher quality design
standards. The rezoning process requires notice to neighbors within 350 feet
from the property and two public hearings, one before the Zoning Committee of
the Planning Commission and one before the City Council. Learn more about the City's approval process here.
I am excited about the block getting a
much-needed facelift and I look forward to hearing from the community during
the rezoning process about what sort of zoning/development they see at working
at that corner.
Proposed Liquor Store Hour Change
Some members of the Saint Paul City Council are exploring
amending the allowable hours of liquor off-sale to 10:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday
to align with current regulations in surrounding cities. Currently the City of
Saint Paul requires off-sale liquor purchases to end at 8:00 p.m.
Monday-Thursday and 10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday. With the exception of
Mendota Heights (whose liquor stores close at 9:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday) every
other municipality sharing a border with Saint Paul is consistent with a 10:00
p.m. closing time Monday-Saturday.
One reason to consider changing the ordinance is because
Saint Paul has a burgeoning brewery culture. Right now, with the exception of
Sundays’, breweries can only sell growlers during legal hours for off-sale. So
while most breweries are open until 10:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday they cannot sell
take-home brews for the last two hours of business, meaning lost revenue for the
breweries and frustration and confusion for customers.
Let us know your thoughts. Should
the City change its ordinance to align with adjacent cities? Do you like the
ordinance as is? Send your thoughts to Libby Kantner. The Council will compile all received
comments for public review.
Boards and Commissions: Transit Advisory Board
I have had the privilege of representing St. Paul on the Transit Advisory Board (TAB) of the Metropolitan Council. The TAB along with the MET Council is the region's federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) , and we are responsible for the continuing, cooperative and comprehensive transportation planning process in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. The TAB is a 33 member committee, made up of a membership that includes 17 county or city elected officials, 4 representatives of government agencies involved in transportation issues, 8 citizen members, and 4 members who represent transportation modes.
The TAB helps shape regional and state transportation plans, transportation systems involving the regional highway, public transit and the airport, as well as bike and pedestrian facilities. A key responsibility of the Council’s TAB is to solicit, review, and evaluate local project applications for federal funding. For the 2018-19 funding cycle we will allocate $150 million across the region. Projects that TAB has supported in the past include:
- Reconstruction of Kellogg/3rd Street Bridge ($7M)
- Margaret Street Bicycle Boulevard & McKnight Trail ($1,251,549)
- Saint Paul Downtown Traffic Signal Enhancements ($2,222,800)
- Indian Mounds Regional Park Trail ($1,326,400)
- I-94/Dale Street Interchange Reconstruction ($5,565,626)