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Continued: Records reveal troubled waters at Minnetrista City Hall

  • Article by: EMMA NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 29, 2014 - 4:13 PM

Tom Notch said he brought concerns about Funk to council members, but hasn’t had much other contact with them. “I’m nobody here,” he said. “I’m just a homeowner.”

‘A political game’

Locals trace this conflict back to the public works upgrade and police station, as well as to Notch’s time on the Westonka school board. In the most recent election, a group called Yes Westonka organized, in part, to successfully defeat him.

A group of 32, some who were part of Yes Westonka, have retained Mark Anfinson, a First Amendment attorney who has represented the Star Tribune, to look into potential open-meeting law violations by the current council.

“There’s certainly circumstantial suggestions that decisions were made by the council in kind of a mysterious way — major decisions that materialized from relatively little public discussion,” Anfinson said. “And that naturally invites some skepticism as to how it happened.”

And the plant? The council has asked for citizens’ input on what kind they’d prefer, but will make the final decision. Varying costs for a reverse osmosis system have been reported, but the current estimate is $16 million to $23 million in capital costs over 20 years. The estimate for WSB’s $5 million plant did not project costs past a preliminary stage.

In the meantime, residents are gearing up for the November City Council election. Jane Norling, part of the group that retained Anfinson, is also working with a much larger group to prepare candidates — an effort to elect “ethical, law-abiding council members,” she said.

Hunt is unfazed. “This is all a political game,” she said.

Staff writer Jeff Hargarten contributed to this report. Emma Nelson • 612-673-4509

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