Business hours at many Washington County offices have changed to 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Most offices at the Government Center in Stillwater and the service centers in Cottage Grove and Forest Lake will be included in the changes, which began last week. The business hours change will not affect the county's license centers, Women and Infants Clinics, libraries or the county's Environmental Center. Information on the county's website, www.co.washington.mn.us, notes the hours for those county services.
Previously, offices were open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. As more services and information are being delivered online, and with the opening of service centers in the north and south ends of the county, the demand for in-person services during the last half hour of the business day has not been high, the county said.
Money also will be saved in staffing, the county said.Grant sought to help on courthouse repairs
Washington County is seeking a grant that would pay for half the $170,000 cost of repairing and restoring the flashing, fascia and soffits of the Historic Courthouse in Stillwater.
The $85,000 grant from the Minnesota Historical Society would be matched with money available in the county's Historic Courthouse Restoration Fund. The project would be completed next year.
The building's soffits and fascia -- parts of the roof near and under the eaves -- were seen to be deteriorating earlier this year. A closer inspection by a preservation architect confirmed they were in poor condition, and that the flashing along the roof's edge was in poor condition as well. It was recommended that all the work be done at the same time.Comments sought on Gateway Corridor plan
The Gateway Corridor transit study is nearly complete, and public comment is being sought on a recent study that selected a type of transit and a route -- bus rapid transit (BRT) line along Hudson Road from St. Paul to Woodbury.
Comments can be submitted by e-mail or mail by Dec. 3. E-mail GatewayCorridor@co.washington.mn.us. Mail Gateway Corridor, Washington County Regional Railroad Authority, 11660 Myeron Road N., Stillwater, MN 55082.
All public comments will be included in the final report. The Gateway Corridor Commission anticipates approving it Dec. 13. Visit www.thegatewaycorridor.com for more details on the transit study.
Community Thread's Holiday Bureau program provides gifts and a holiday meal for low-income families, seniors and adults with disabilities.
Sponsors are needed to provide $25 in gifts for each member of a sponsored family as well as the makings for a holiday meal. Sponsors will receive a wish list and be able to personally shop for gifts for their sponsored family.
The Holiday Bureau is also accepting financial donations as well as toy and gift donations. Most needed items currently are gift cards, toys and clothes for babies, arts and craft supplies, board games for older kids, gifts for teens, and warm weather clothes. Items can be dropped off at 2300 Orleans St. W., Stillwater, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The sponsor form can be downloaded from www.communitythreadmn.org, or it can be mailed by request by calling 651-439-7434. Sponsor forms are due by Dec. 7.
A small business symposium designed to help bolster sales and marketing techniques is being offered by the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce.
The event is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 7 at Globe University, 8089 Globe Drive in Woodbury. It will feature two keynote speakers and a variety of breakout sessions lasting through the day.
The cost is $49 for members and $59 for non-members if registration is completed before Monday.
For more information, go to woodburychamber.org.]Feedback sought on water, sewer billing
Woodbury's Utility Billing Division has set up a four-question online survey to help generate feedback about water and sewer bills.
"We hope our customers will take a brief moment to share their thoughts about the city's utility billing services," Finance Director Tim Johnson said. "We want to find out if we are doing the right things and gather input about our performance."
The anonymous survey is available online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/WoodburyUtilityBilling through Dec. 31.
The results will be evaluated as part of the city's annual Performance Measurement Program, which features comparative performance data in several key municipal service areas.
The program helps identify areas where the city is successful and indicates areas where improvements need to be made. It also provides information for strategic planning and helps the City Council and city staff make decisions about how to use city resources.
Questions about the survey should be directed to Mary Van Milligen, assistant to the city administrator, at 651-714-3514 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lots in Cottage Grove and Woodbury will be sold at a tax-forfeit auction at 2 p.m. Dec. 12, after Washington County commissioners approved the sale Nov. 13.
The auction will include two lots in Cottage Grove, a part of the Mississippi Dunes Estates which went unsold at a public auction in March. They will be offered as one sale item, with a basic sale price of $25,000.
The auction will also include 16 platted lots in Woodbury. This is the first public sale for the Woodbury lots. Two lots are in the Dancing Waters, Sixth Addition, and both have a basic sale price of $85,000. Fourteen are in the Oak View Fourth Addition, and all 14 lots will be sold as one sale item. The basic sale price is $840,000.
The parcels were forfeited to the state for nonpayment of property taxes. The county will conduct the auction in Conference Room LL14 in the Washington County Government Center in Stillwater.
KEVIN GILES AND Jim Anderson