The city of West St. Paul is celebrating its 125th anniversary with an open house from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

The lobby will be transformed into a living past with historical photos, information and displays from the inception of West St. Paul all the way to present day. There will be a history quiz for attendees with two winners each getting $125.

Visitors can meet and greet Mayor John Zanmiller, the City Council and staff, and representatives of the local library and a long list of community groups. There will be demonstrations by the West St. Paul Police, public works department and the South Metro Fire Department.

The event also will feature a jump house and slide, photo booth, grilled hot dogs and mini doughnuts. Root beer floats will be provided by the Rotary Club.

People also can start learning and ask questions about the city before the open house by checking out West St. Paul on Facebook at


City OKs new school digital scoreboard

Burnsville High School plans to replace its high school stadium scoreboard by adding a live-video display monitor and panels bearing the names of sponsors on the sides and top of the scoreboard. It will be 40-feet high and visible from Hwy. 13.

The high school occupies 56 acres on the corner of Portland Avenue and Hwy. 13.

The use of the scoreboard will be limited to no more than 45 minutes before and no more than 30 minutes after an event. The panels carrying the names of sponsors will be static with no scrolling, flashing or continuous movement.

The school originally asked for a 45-foot tall sign. A school representative told the City Council that it was comfortable with the 40-foot limit.

Council Member Dan Kealey said he thought the city had micromanaged the school's request by placing limitations on the sign's size and use.

Treatments will shield trees against borer

Burnsville will pay Rainbow Treecare $46,850 to protect boulevard ash trees against the emerald ash borer this season.

The city's ash borer plan calls for treating 478 boulevard ash trees this year. The treatments are effective for two years.

The beetles, which girdle and kill ash trees, have been found at Fort Snelling, eight miles from Burnsville. City staff members recommended starting a treatment program in the northeast part of the city.

Rainbow submitted the lowest bid among four companies that competed for the contract.

New entrance sign

Burnsville will pay Schad Tracy Signs of Burnsville $48,000 to build a monument entrance sign into the city on the Hwy. 13 border with Eagan.

In 2013, the city advertised the project but the lowest quote was $109,000. Design changes were made that lowered bids this year.

Apple Valley

City touting rare feat with bond ratings

The city of Apple Valley this spring received two AAA ratings, the highest possible bond rating, from both Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investor Services. The city said it is rare for a city to hold two AAA bond ratings because the two agencies have individual criteria.

City Council Member Tom Goodwin said achieving the matching ratings is a "significant milestone" that has been reached by just 10 out of 854 Minnesota cities.

The ratings reflect the city's financial strength and stability. Top bond ratings are earned based on the strength of the economy and fiscal management practices. In the eyes of both rating agencies, Apple Valley rates high in terms of budgetary performance, flexibility, financial liquidity and debt management, said Ron Hedberg, the city's finance director.

Since 2001, Moody's has upgraded the city's bond rating four separate times.

Top financial ratings mean the city will have the lowest possible borrowing costs when it issues bonds. Apple Valley asked both agencies for a rating when it planned to issue $9.7 million in general obligation bonds for the expansion of the water treatment plant, Hedberg said.

Those bonds, sold April 24, attracted an average interest rate of 2.5 percent, "a little lower and a little bit better than our financial adviser had predicted," Hedberg said.

Staff reports