The Washington County Board voted 5-0 last week to adopt an economic development strategic plan that's been in the works for more than a year. Commissioners Ted Bearth and Fran Miron, both former mayors, were elected on promises that they intended to help cities and businesses attract and retain jobs.
The county also wants to develop more taxable income and to compete better with adjoining counties for businesses. "I think growing that tax base is really critical," said Commissioner Lisa Weik.
The board contracted with Springsted Inc. to draft a plan with a policy statement, short-term and longer-term goals and guiding principles. It was sent to all Washington County cities for review. Two comments had been received, one from the city of Scandia and the second from the Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, relating to workforce and affordable housing. The plan was amended to include those concerns.
"I'm really pleased we got this far this fast," Commissioner Ted Bearth said.
Nitrate test planned for south county wells
Washington County will work with the state Department of Agriculture to conduct nitrate-N sampling in targeted areas in Washington County.
Testing will occur in private wells in Denmark Township and Cottage Grove. Because of sensitive geology and traditional agricultural use, both areas have pockets of elevated nitrate levels, the county said. State funds will cover the costs of mailing test kits to residents, lab analyses, and staff time.
The county will work with the Washington Conservation District to do the work. Data gathered will be used to better understand nitrate contamination in the southern half of the county. The project will go through June 2015.
Fallen officers to be honored at ceremony
The Washington County Board recognized Law Enforcement Memorial Day, Law Enforcement Week, and Correctional Officers Week at its meeting May 6. Sheriff Bill Hutton requested that the board pass a resolution recognizing the events.
May 15 will be recognized as Law Enforcement Memorial Day, and the week of May 4-10 is recognized as Correctional Officers Week. May 11-17 will be Law Enforcement Memorial Week in Washington County.
A ceremony to remember fallen officers will be held at noon Thursday, May 15, at the Washington County Historic Courthouse at the corner of 3rd and Pine streets in Stillwater.
Volunteers create forest garden
Volunteers on May 3 planted 500 trees, shrubs and perennials to create a forest garden in a former homestead in the Oakdale Nature Preserve.
City forester Chris Larson described the concept of a forest garden as "putting plants in woodland-like patterns that forge mutually beneficial relationship, creating a garden ecosystem."
Mayor announces bid for a second four years
Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens said last week she will run for a second four-year term as the city's chief executive.
Giuliani Stephens spent four years on the City Council before being elected Woodbury's fifth mayor in 2010. She is also the city's first female mayor. An attorney, she campaigned on job creation and "planning for future growth in a fiscally responsible manner," according to her website.
Stephens received her bachelor's degree in political science and speech communications from the University of Michigan and her law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. Her current term ends in December.
City hires officers to fill four vacancies
Four new police officers started patrolling the streets last month after the city of Woodbury filled vacancies created by two resignations and the addition of two positions in the 2014 budget, officials said.
The City Council at its April 23 meeting voted to hire Robert Mancini, Paul Larson, James Stoffel and Bryan Wagner.
Sunday liquor license gets county approval
The Washington County Board has approved the application of an on-sale and Sunday liquor license for the Outing Lodge on Myeron Road in Stillwater Township.
The county can issue a Sunday liquor license only if township residents have voted for it, which occurred in Stillwater Township.
The Sheriff's Office, County Attorney's Office, and the county Department of Public Health and Environment completed compliance and verification checks. The Outing Lodge complied with all requirements, the county said.
Kevin Giles and Libor Jany