Mayor's Message June 2021

Mayor’s Message – June 2021

Many of us consider the start of summer to be Memorial Day, even though summer doesn’t officially start until June 22. Hopefully, you are having a relaxing and enjoyable start to your summer!

On May 8, the City (in collaboration with the City of Mound) held the annual Clean-up Day. After cancelling this event in 2020 due to COVID-19, we were excited to host this event. It was a successful event, and hopefully this signals a return to other events and activities.

In recognition of National Police Week that occurred May 9–15, I would like to say thank you to Chief Paul Falls and all our officers and police staff for their dedication and service to our community. They continue to do an excellent job!

To better equip our officers to perform their daily duties, the Council approved a number of items. New squad and body cameras have been approved in addition to approving a policy for their use. The City Council may also approve hiring an Embedded Social Worker (ESW) in 2022. In order to address core mental health issues like resources and follow up care, the City is discussing utilizing a multi-pronged approach that includes mental health professionals. Mental health professionals are able to provide vital follow up in order to determine the most appropriate care and resources. They are also in the best position to assist individuals navigating through what can be a complex process to getting the help they need.  The ESW does not replace or go with our Police Officers to calls, but rather helps out individuals afterwards, once referred by Police.

The cost of a ESW is typically close to $100,000 annually. However, with a grant through Hennepin County, that cost has been reduced to approximately $60,000 annually. Also, Minnetrista Police will be partnering and sharing the utilization and cost of the ESW with seven other lake area law enforcement agencies. A formal agreement will be presented for approval in the future.

In May, the Council approved a new solar ordinance. This was brought to the Council’s attention last year when an application for a “solar farm” was submitted. Our original ordinance had some ambiguities that needed to be cleared up, and the process for these changes were quite extensive. After recommendations from staff to the Planning Commission, discussions with residents, and a recommendation from the Planning Commission to the City Council, the draft ordinance was approved by the City Council at the last meeting in May.

Council and staff continue to discuss expanding broadband to unserved residents at the second work session of every month. Two additional providers that may be able to provide wireless broadband to residential customers gave presentations to the City Council at the May 17 Work Session. Discussions with these other providers, as well as with Mediacom will continue, and we are hopeful we are getting some solutions.

Until my next message, stay safe.

Lisa Whalen