Fall/Winter 2010-11 In Touch
City of New Hope resident newsletter
Fall 2010 Number 179 A publication of the city of New Hope, Minnesota e www.ci.new-hope.mn.us Elder and Stauner Council presents RAVE Awards to four New Hope residential property owners reelected to Council Some highlights of this issue include: 2011 Budget and Tax Levy Overview of 2011 budget preparation New Hope In Focus Winners Photo contest winners selected 45th Avenue Pond Improvements Project will improve water quality In Business North Central Builders named Outstanding Business, Can Do Canines is New In Town, and new banners on 42nd Avenue 2 2 2 3 of the Quarter 4 Employees Penny Spitzer and Jann Widseth 4 recognized Planning For Arena Improvements Engineering firm will help city define ice arena improvement project City supports Highway 169 noise wall project I n late September, the New Hope City Council passed a resolution in support of a noise wall project by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) planned for 2011. MnDOT plans to construct a new section of noise wall on the east side of Highway 169 from approximately 36th Avenue north to near 42nd Avenue. The new noise wall will be located just north of a segment MnDOT constructed in 2003, from approximately Medicine Lake Road to 36th Avenue. In June, MnDOT advised the city that construction of a section of noise wall in New Hope was on the state’s priority list for 2011. In August, representatives from MnDOT made a presentation to the City Council about the proposed project. MnDOT staff was very interested in getting feedback from property owners from the neighborhood abutting the proposed project, and held an open house on September 9 to share (continued on page 4) City of New Hope M any New Hope homeowners spend a lot of time and energy to make their homes, yards and gardens something special. In 2006, the City Council established an award program to recognize excellence in residential properties each year. When residents take pride in their properties it makes their neighborhoods Robin Majestic and Dan Rudie's remodeled kitchen and dining room a better place to live, and it encourages others to make their Council presented awards to the properties just a little bit better as well. following homeowners… In 2010, nine properties were nomiInterior Renovation: nated for a RAVE! Award. In late July, Robin Majestic and Dan Rudie five volunteer judges evaluated the Majestic and Rudie’s split-level home at nominees and recommended award 8009 38½ Avenue had a modest-sized winners in four categories to the City kitchen that was walled off from the Council – Garden, Landscaping, Inliving and dining room areas of the terior Renovation, and Exterior Renohome. It didn’t really fit their lifestyle vation. While it was difficult for the – they love to cook and entertain, and volunteer judges to choose among the impressive collection of properties that their home simply didn’t have the space to do it comfortably. They considered were nominated, on August 9, the City moving to an outer-ring suburb where homes were available that had the type of space for entertaining they yearned for, but were deterred by home prices in those areas and they like their New Hope neighborhood. Instead, they decided to stay in New Hope, remove a wall, and remodel. Their new kitchen/ dining great room has a bright, modern, and open Tom Christensen's new workshop feel, with lots of counter and cabinet space, an expansive cooking island equipped with a hood and tall Prsrt Std stools, and cutting-edge appliances. U.S. Postage Majestic and Rudie are very happy with their “new” home. PAID Minneapolis, MN Permit No. 2330 A great place to grow! 4401 Xylon Avenue North New Hope, MN 55428 Current resident or Exterior Renovation: Tom Christensen Tom Christensen’s passion is woodworking. Since retiring, Christensen has more time to spend on his favorite hobby, but the old shed, behind the family home at 3639 Jordan Circle, didn’t provide all that pleasant a place to wile away the hours – particularly in the wintertime, when it got mighty cold. Christensen decided to build a new, larger workshop that matched the appearance of the house as closely as possible. (continued on page 4) C ongratulations to John Elder and Daniel Stauner who were reelected as New Hope City Council members on November 2. Council member John Elder was appointed to the City Council in May 2008 to fill an unexpired term. He was elected to a two-year term in November 2008. Elder has been a resident of New Hope for 22 years. A former police officer, D.A.R.E. officer, and detective with the New Hope Police Department, Elder currently works in sales. He represents New Hope on the Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission and is a board member for the New Hope Community Farmers Market. Council member Daniel Stauner was elected to the City Council in 2006. He is a self-employed attorney who has been a resident of New Hope for 21 years. Stauner represents the city on the West Metro Fire Rescue District Board, serves on the Shingle Creek Watershed Management Commission, and served as mayor pro tem (acting as mayor in the mayor’s absence) for 2010. The vote totals for New Hope City Council members were 3,436 for John Elder, 2,068 for Daniel Stauner, 1,849 for William Smith, and 1,582 for Wayne Detzler. New Hope’s voter turnout was 60.5 percent of registered voters. Statewide turnout in Minnesota was higher than any other state in the union, with 55.4 percent of eligible voters heading to the polls. When it starts snowing, the plows get going P ublic Works maintenance crews work throughout the winter months to remove snow and ice from New Hope city streets. Residents can help the process work a bit more smoothly by following a few simple tips: Street Plowing and Driveways v Community collector streets such as 36th and 49th avenues are plowed and sanded first, followed by residential streets and cul-de-sacs. v Thoroughfares including 42nd Avenue and Bass Lake Road are maintained by Hennepin County. Call the county at 612-596-0299 if you have maintenance concerns about these streets. v The city uses a mixture of coarse sand – to provide traction, and rock salt – to melt ice and hard packed snow. Unfortunately, rock salt starts to lose its melting ability when the temperature falls below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. v Snow from snowplows often obstructs mailboxes located in the boulevard. Residents are responsible for keeping their own mailbox clear of snow. (continued on page 4) City of New Hope, Minnesota e Fall 2010 2011 budget and tax levy to be adopted T he City Council adopted the final 2011 City of New Hope Budget and tax levy on December 13. The budget resolution was the final step of an intensive process which began in April. 2011 Proposed Budget Last spring, the 2011 budget process began with broad budget direction from the City Council and initial expenditure recommendations from the director of each city department. In September, the City Council adopted the city’s preliminary 2011 budget and property tax levy and certified them to the county auditor. The preliminary budget resolution called for a maximum 2011 budget of $10,705,523 with a maximum tax levy of $8,700,755. The Council considered the preliminary budget and tax levy as a starting point for ongoing 2011 budget discussion and analysis, which continued during October and November City Council work sessions. The preliminary levy represented a $260,711, or 2.87 percent, increase over the 2010 levy. This compared to a final tax levy increase in 2009 of 3.69 percent. A majority of the increase was the result of adding back local government aid (LGA) that was originally scheduled but not delivered to the city, and $185,000 in debt service for three new fire trucks. The Council’s key goals for the 2011 budget are to hold the line on spending while continuing to provide existing services with reduced resources. High budget priorities include police and fire operations, emergency management preparedness, and property maintenance and redevelopment. The city plans to continue with infrastructure and environmental improvements, maintain parks and recreation facilities and programs, and continue with the city’s emerald ash borer program on public land. Due to the unreliable nature of local government aid (LGA) in recent years, the City Council instructed staff to prepare a budget plan which assumes that New Hope will not receive any LGA in 2011. The city’s unalloted LGA totaled $375,000, $314,966, and $726,747 in 2008, 2009, and 2010 respectively. In addition, the city lost another $338,216 in Market Value Homestead Credit in 2010. Under the proposed budget plan, the city eliminated the $643,705 of LGA funds New Hope is scheduled to receive in 2011 from the revenue side of the budget. This budget adjustment was achieved by reducing expenses by about $290,000 (including cuts to central garage replacement charges and reductions in all city departments); deferring more than $115,000 in personnel expenses (including temporarily delaying the hiring of an additional police officer); and increasing revenue more than $250,000 (by adding permit fees for construction oversight of District 287's new building, and utilizing park infrastructure funds to subsidize the outdoor pool). The Council and staff also reviewed several budget adjustment scenarios that would lower the final levy increase from 2.87 to 1.83 percent, 1.5 percent, or 0 percent. The City Council provided interested residents with an overview of the proposed 2011 budget and tax levy and an opportunity to comment on the budget at a public hearing on Monday, November 29. At that hearing, the consensus of the Council was to move forward with a 1.5 percent levy increase in 2011. To view the November 29 budget hearing, the proposed budget Powerpoint, and for other 2011 budget information, follow the links on the bottom of the homepage of the city’s website, www. ci.new-hope.mn.us. Kathi Hemken Mayor 763-537-7990 firstname.lastname@example.org Eric Lammle Council Member 763-544-0912 email@example.com John Elder Council Member 763-442-0999 firstname.lastname@example.org Daniel Stauner Council Member 763-536-1415 email@example.com Andy Hoffe Council Member 763-537-2647 firstname.lastname@example.org Kirk McDonald City Manager 763-531-5112 email@example.com 2011 Budget Process Frequently Called City Numbers City Hall Address building permits, complaints City Website General Telephone............ 763-531-5100 Inspections............................763-531-5127 Parks and Recreation . .......763-531-5151 Public Works........................763-592-6777 sewer backup, snowplowing, forestry Utility Billing.........................763-592-6760 Police (non-emergency).....763-531-5170 TTY (through MN Relay)....651-602-9005 4401 Xylon Avenue North New Hope, MN 55428 www.ci.new-hope.mn.us Tell us what you think... 24-Hour Opinion Line..... 763-531-5102 E-mail........firstname.lastname@example.org City of New Hope, Minnesota e Fall 2010 Council recognizes photo contest winners N ew Hope's first ever photo contest, New Hope In Focus, was a big success! Both the quality of the photographs and the number of entries submitted far exceeded expectations. Nineteen New Hope photographers submitted 48 photographs before the August 31 deadline, including four youth under the age of 18. A panel of four volunteer judges who work in the photography and communications fields selected the winners in three categories – Nature, People and Places, and Youth Photographer. Local residents chose the People’s Choice Award winner, after a month of open voting. The winner in each category received a cash prize and was invited to an award presentation at the October 25 City Council Meeting. Congratulations to this year’s New Hope In Focus photo contest winners: Jennifer Schmidt - Nature and People’s Choice (tie), Terri Bangasser – People and Places, Naomi Chan – Youth Photographer, and Kenneth Fromm – People’s Choice (tie). 2010 New Hope In Focus photo contest winners are (clockwise, from top left): Winter Wonderland by Kenneth Fromm, Fire in the Sky by Jennifer Schmidt, Adventure by Naomi Chan, and Lake at Hidden Valley by Terri Bangasser. To see all the contest entries, go to photobucket.com and search for New Hope In Focus. Council approves contract for pond improvements T he New Hope City Council approved a contract with Minnesota Dirt Works, Inc. in November to construct a regional storm water pond north of 45th Avenue. Eighty-one acres of commercial, residential and park land in New Hope drain into the pond and, in turn, the pond is a tributary to Twin Lake, which has been identified as having impaired water quality. The improvement project will significantly increase the storm water treatment capabilities of the pond. The existing wetland north of 45th Avenue and just west of Winnetka Avenue currently provides virtually no storm water treatment. The improvement project will essentially replace the existing wetland with a permanent water quality pond. The inlet and outlet to the pond, which are currently close together, will be moved as far as possible to the west and east. The outlet of the pond will also be raised. These improvements will make it possible for the new pond to pretreat a much larger volume of storm water and to hold it for a longer period of time than the existing wetland. The pond's design will greatly increase the amount of suspended solids that settle out of storm water into the pond. Some storm sewer improvements related to the pond – those that do not involve infrastructure located beneath 45th Avenue – will also be included in this phase of the project. The pond improvements will be completed this winter with restoration of vegetation next summer. The water quality pond's inlet will be connected to a new section of storm sewer storm trunk line beneath 45th Avenue in a second phase of the project. That storm sewer work will be coordinated with an infrastructure improvement project on 45th Avenue planned for 2012. The 45th Avenue pond project will be funded, in large part, by a grant from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources and the Shingle Creek Watershed Management Commission's Capital Improvement Program. I North Central Builders receives Outstanding Business Award n August, the New Hope City Council recognized North Central Builders with the Summer 2010 New Hope Outstanding Business Award. The company has been doing business in New Hope since 1974. North Central’s office is located at 7401 42nd Avenue. North Central Builders is coFrank Wattunen (front row, left) and Larry Kraatz (right) accept owned by presithe Summer 2010 Outstanding Business Award from the New dent, Larry Kraatz Hope City Council. and vice president Frank Wattunen. The two have dubbed “Our name is North Central Builders, themselves “The Siding Guys.” In adand we don’t build anything. We are a dition to specializing in maintenancesiding and window company.” He confree siding, they also install windows cluded by thanking both the City Counand do some roofing work. The comcil and clients, “I would like to thank all pany has four employees, supplemented our customers and all the referrals they by subcontractors who have worked have given us over the years.” with North Central for many years. North Central Builders was nominated Kraatz and Wattunen have always for the New Hope Outstanding Busistrived for their company to be a leader ness Award by Mark Jennings of Fratin value and service, which has led to tallone’s Ace Hardware. thousands of satisfied customers over The City Council considers nominations the years. Mayor Kathi Hemken, who for the Outstanding Business Award had North Central Builders install sidfour times a year. The award recognizes ing on her home several years ago, can businesses that have become a valued attest to their excellent service. “They part of the community, and is intended put siding on every single house in my to encourage other New Hope busineighborhood. These guys come out nesses to strive for excellence. Any twice a year to make sure their former local resident, business patron, or busicustomers’ siding is okay.” She added, ness person may make a nomination. “They are good, honest business people For more information, call the New who have been here for a long time, and Hope Community Development Dewho are very deserving of this award.” partment at 763-531-5196. When accepting the award from the City Council, Frank Wattunen noted, C New banners for 42nd Avenue olorful new banners will soon grace the light poles along 42nd Avenue in New Hope. The new banners represent a series of firsts for the city’s banner program. The new banners will be printed in full-color and feature photographs for the first time. The theme for the banners is “New Hope – A place for all seasons.” Photographs of New Hope taken by residents, that were selected from entries in the first annual New Hope In Focus photo contest, will represent each of the four seasons. Because the new banners have a year-round theme they will, for the first time, remain up year-round. Previously, the city has always had two sets of banners – one set for spring and summer and a second set for fall and winter. Public works crews changed out the banners twice each year. Staff estimates that leaving the same banners up for two years will save the city more than $2,900 in personnel and material costs. And, for the first time, each of the new banners will be sponsored by a New Hope business. Not only is recognizing local businesses on the banners a great way for New Hope to demonstrate pride in its excellent business community, but the participating businesses are also helping to pay about half of the cost of the new banners. The new banners should be up before the end of the year. I New in Town: Can Do Canines assistance dogs client, to ensure that they will make a n early 2010, Hearing and Service good team. The dogs generally receive Dogs of Minnesota moved into its about 16 weeks of training, including new home at 9440 Science Center one-on-one training with the client. A Drive in New Hope and, at about the dog/human team is certified and gradsame time, the non-profit changed its uates from the program only after the name to Can Do Canines. dog has demonstrated all of the skills The new name reflects how the orgarequired and has proven that it can benization’s mission has changed and have appropriately in public situations. grown since it was first incorporated, Although it costs more than $28,000 to as well as the positive impact its more graduate a human/assistance dog team, than 330 canine graduates have had with the help of its generous donors on their disabled human partners. Can Do Canines provides assistance The new, much larger building in New dogs to its clients at no charge. Hope provides the space Can Do Canines will need to train more dogs, and Can Do Canines is very happy in its to do so more efficiently, as they connew home in New Hope. The organitinue to grow in the years to come. zation moved from a cramped building with less than 7,000 square feet Al Peters founded Hearing Dogs of of space in Minneapolis to a spacious Minnesota in 1987 because he believed 32,000 square foot building in one of more needed to be done to provide New Hope’s industrial areas. trained hearing assistance dogs to the thousands of deaf and hard-ofhearing persons who could benefit from having a canine helper. Can Do Canines' dogs are specifically trained to enhance the quality of life of their disabled human partners by assisting them with a wide variety of everyday tasks. The dogs deliver personal dignity through the gifts of independence, freedom and peace of mind. Over the last 20 years, Can Do Canines has expanded its services to train assistance dogs for people dealing with five types of challenges: ✦ Hearing assist dogs make physical contact to alert their partner to the source of a sound. ✦ Mobility assist dogs can pick up or carry objects, pull wheelchairs, This Can Do Canines assistance dog has been retrieve a phone, and open a door or a drawer for a client with a physi- trained to open doors for her disabled partner. cal disability. Their old building had indoor kennel space for 10 dogs, while the new facility ✦ Diabetes assist dogs alert a diabetic has indoor/outdoor kennel space for 20 if they smell a specific scent related to dogs with future expansion space for up rapidly falling blood sugar. to 42 dogs. The old facility had a little ✦ Seizure assist dogs comfort and stay over 300 square feet of exercise area for with a person experiencing a seizure the dogs – with no grass, while the new and wear a cape with medication and facility has more than 20,000 square feet medical information. of outdoor exercise space with plenty of ✦ Autism assist dogs help provide segrass. And, the old building backed up curity and peace of mind to children to a bar, while the new building has an with autism and their families. excellent location with easy access and To help carry out its mission, Can Do visibility from Highway 169. Canines has 16 employees, 20 field Other amenities at Can Do Canines' trainers, 75 puppy raisers, and more New Hope facility include two large than 200 dedicated volunteers. training rooms, a training apartment, Some of the organization’s dogs are do- separate rooms for veterinary care/ nated as young puppies; others are grooming, and areas for preparing dog adopted from local animal shelters. meals and isolating dogs. There are Young dogs are nurtured by puppy also several offices, meeting rooms and raisers until they are mature enough a large gathering space. And, perhaps to begin assistance training, typically best of all, plenty of currently unused at about the age of 1½ or 2. The dogs space for future expansion. then go through “puppy college” where For more information about Can Do trainers evaluate what they are best at Canines, visit its website at www.canand what they love to do. do-canines.org. Or, call 763-331-3000 Each assistance dog trainee is assigned to learn when their next one-hour to a trainer and carefully matched to a "Tails to Tell" facility tour is scheduled. In Business e Fall 2010 RAVE! Awards (continued from page 1) Spitzer and Widseth named Employees of the Quarter He did much of the work on the new workshop himself, and his son and neighbors helped out when they could. The new workshop has plenty of open space to work, better lighting, and insulation and electric heat to make it more pleasant during the winter months. Christensen enjoys building bird houses with the neighbor kids in his new shop. P Joan and Bob Sable's beautiful side yard garden Landscaping: Truong Family The Truong family clearly takes meticulous care of their large corner lot at 9432 Northwood Parkway. A bed of beautiful roses graces the front of the house, paired with a second bed of large marigolds along the front walk. A landscape block bed with ornamental shrubs and flowers steps its way down the hill along the side of the house to the back yard. The highlight of the back yard is a large, attractive, two-level wooden deck surrounded by a refined selection of bushes and flowers. In a corner of the back yard stands a more casual garden, with a mix of vegetables and flowers. Garden: Joan and Bob Sable The gardens of Joan and Bob Sable, at 5242 Quebec Avenue N, are both extensive and breathtakingly beautiful. Gently curving beds, filled with an impressive array of annuals and perennials, embrace nearly every nook and cranny of the Sable’s property. And each bed has its own special charm. One judge noted that the gardens contained more than 80 kinds of day lilies. Another was particularly taken with the “nice textures, great colors, and accents.” A third was impressed by the back yard waterfall and “very nice shade garden.” Congratulations to this year’s RAVE! Award winners. Each recipient was invited to attend the August 9 City Council meeting, received an engraved paver or plaque to display in their home or garden, and had their name engraved on a plaque at City Hall. The Truong family's backyard landscaping and deck Engineering firm will help plan ice arena improvements T he New Hope City Council approved a proposal with Stevens Engineers in November to develop a phased plan for implementing improvements at the New Hope Ice Arena. In August, Stevens Engineers completed an engineering study which identified 11 high priority improvements that are needed at the ice arena. Stevens is now being retained to develop a plan that will group top priority improvement needs into a project or a series of projects. The plan will address the most time sensitive improvements first and will determine appropriate phasing to provide the best value for the city. Improvements likely to be addressed first include replacement of the ice refrigeration system for the north sheet of ice, replacement of the dehumidification system for one or both ice sheets, and building infrastructure maintenance. As part of the project planning process, a subcontractor will evaluate current energy usage at the ice arena and calculate the energy savings that would result from energy efficiency improvements which potentially could be used to leverage funds for the project. After Stevens completes its recommended plan of action in February 2011, city staff will share the plan with ice arena stakeholders and begin working with Abdo, Eick and Meyers, the city’s financial consultant, to identify potential funding options for the ice arena improvements. Snowplow (continued from page 1) v Don’t throw snow from your driveway into the street. It’s against city ordinance, and it can cause slippery spots. v If it snows on trash collection day, please keep trash carts out of the street. v If a mailbox that is properly installed is physically struck by a snowplow city workers will make the mailbox serviceable as quickly as possible. The city will return in the spring to permanently reinstall a mailbox of a standard design. v The city is not responsible for improperly installed mailboxes, damage to items located within the city rightof-way (including irrigation heads), or damage caused by snow thrown by a city snowplow. City of New Hope, Minnesota e Fall 2010 enny Spitzer, administrative support specialist in the Parks and Recreation Department, and Jann Widseth, administrative support specialist in the Police Department, were chosen to be New Hope Employee of the Quarter in the second and third quarters of 2010, respectively. Penny Spitzer was recognized for the extra work she put in during the hiring and orientation process for seasonal employees who work at the New Hope outdoor pool and “for the great job that she does day-in and day-out” with her regular job responsibilities. Because the pool manager is only part time, it fell to Spitzer to organize the packets of employment information of the 44 seasonal pool employees; confirming that forms were filled out correctly and required certifications were in order. At the same time, she needed to keep on top of her usual job responsibilities during the Parks and Recreation Department’s busiest time of the year. Penny Spitzer As the administrative support specialist for the Parks and Recreation Department, Spitzer is a key cog in keeping the department running smoothly. For many residents, she is the face (or voice) of the Parks and Recreation Department – much of her day involves customer contact both on the phone and at the counter. In addition, Spitzer prepares countless documents for department staff and coordinates records management. This wide variety of responsibilities and challenges is one of the things that Spitzer enjoys most about her job. She has been a city of New Hope employee for 16 years. Spitzer has an Associate Degree from North Hennepin Community College. v When grass is damaged by a snowplow, maintenance workers will repair the damage with black dirt and grass seed in the spring (typically by early May). Sidewalk Snow Removal v Property owners are responsible for removing snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their home or business in a timely manner. v The city removes snow from city sidewalks when time and resources permit, but maintenance workers’ first priority is to clear city streets. New Hope does not budget for sidewalk plowing on overtime or on weekends. To report a slippery intersection or damage caused by a snowplow, call New Hope Public Works at 763-592-6777. She was previously named Employee of the Quarter in 2003, and in 2005 and was recognized as Employee of the Year for her “consistently outstanding performance each and every day.” Jann Widseth Jann Widseth was recognized for the tremendous help and was during the police officer recruiting process which took place this fall. She processed 240 applications, entered candidate scores into a database, and prepared and mailed letters to each of the applicants. Widseth set up appointments for the 39 candidates that were selected for an interview, prepared score sheets, and arrived to work early the three days interviews were held to facilitate candidate testing. She also prepared and copied extensive background packets for the candidates who advanced to second interviews. At the same time that the recruiting process was going on, Widseth also needed to fulfill her regular job responsibilities. As the administrative support specialist for the Police Department, Widseth acts as an assistant to the chief. Among her many responsibilities, she transcribes recorded statements for court prosecutions, coordinates court appearances for officers, processes confidential reports for command staff, investigates applications for permits to purchase firearms, and coordinates department purchasing and payroll. Widseth has been an employee in the New Hope Police Department for 33 years. She has an educational background in criminal justice and sociology along with specialized training she has completed during her time with the department. Recipients of New Hope Employee of the Quarter recognition are nominated by coworkers and selected by a committee with representatives from each city department. Congratulations Penny and Jann, for being selected for the award! Noise Wall (continued from page 1) information and listen to comments about the plan. The vast majority of residents who attended that open house were in favor of the noise wall project. The state will fund 90 percent of the estimated $1.2 million cost of the noise wall project. The city’s 10 percent in matching funds, or about $120,000, will come from an existing construction project fund.