Savage expects to dip into its reserves to keep property taxes from going up next year.
That was but one topic covered during a more than four-hour City Council retreat recently devoted to dozens of topics.
Among the issues covered, according to informal minutes:
• The need for tenants and users for lots of city-owned space.
The withdrawal of the latest coffee shop/caf attempt at the downtown Depot building has created a void, and there was talk of finding a tenant compatible with its historic character. At the same time, on its municipal campus, the city seeks occupants for space that is or will be vacated by both the Postal Service and the county library system. And there was consensus to make its environmental learning center, which has empty times, available for "all user groups," either for free or with a rental fee.
• Proper maintenance of housing.
The city over the winter will consider following Lakeville's model in creating a new ordinance aimed at avoiding housing blight.
• Garbage collection rules.
Continuing a long-contemplated attempt to deal with the side effects of numerous garbage trucks plying city streets, the city plans to work with refuse haulers to scale back the number of days on which their trucks could roar through residential streets to just three: Tuesday through Thursday.
Lakeville has settled a lawsuit with a resident who objected to Malt-O-Meal Company expanding on land that was covered by a conservation easement intended to prevent development.
The unusually broad easement gave the city power to permit development on the site. The City Council did so in March 2011 when it approved up to 405 parking spaces and a possible future office building on the 2.4-acre easement area owned by Malt-O-Meal. The company agreed to plant large trees between their new 170-space parking lot and neighbors to the north.
Neighbors Jim and Emily Reiter and others, including the Minnesota Land Trust, had expressed concerns about the city violating the easement's intent to prevent development "in perpetuity."
Under a mediated settlement reached last week, the City Council unanimously agreed to pay 25 percent of the Reiters' legal expenses up to $15,000. Malt-O-Meal agreed to do the same, said City Administrator Steve Mielke.
"I feel good about the fact that the council's actions are allowed to stand, but not that we had spend money on a lawsuit," Mielke said. Still, "It made more sense to settle than take it to the next level."
He noted that Malt-O-Meal recently bought a neighboring office building where it will move its corporate headquarters from the IDS Tower in Minneapolis.
The easement area was part of 4.5 acres the company bought in 2009 when it opened a technology center, at 20802 Kensington Blvd., in a city business park.City names park after Michaud
Lakeville has renamed North Park and its conservation area after long-time Park and Recreation Director Steve Michaud, who retired last month.
The City Council resolution noted that during Michaud's 38 years the park system has expanded from 13 parks in 1974 to 59 parks, 112 miles of pedestrian-bike trails, 130 acres of greenways and 432 acres of conservation areas. He also helped create the Senior Center, Lakeville Area Arts Center Heritage Center and other facilities.
During Michaud's tenure the city won many honors, including Tree City awards for 18 years from the National Arbor Day Foundation and an Outstanding Conservationist Award from the Dakota County Soil and Water District.
Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke and school superintendent Rod Thompson will team up tomorrow for an assessment of successes and challenges for city and schools alike.
The city's Chamber of Commerce is to host the breakfast event starting at 7:30 a.m. at Turtle's, 112 Lewis St.
It's open to the public. The cost is $20 for chamber members, $30 for non-members. Call 952-445-1660 for more information, or e-mail email@example.com.
A south metro area that's not exactly overflowing with college-level training now has a few more options.
Inver Hills Community College is partnering with St. Paul's Concordia University to offer graduate degree programs and more bachelor's degree offerings.
Never before, it says, could one do an MBA right there, from start to finish.
The agreement concerns business and accounting programs, although it does require students to apply to Concordia.
A social work B.S. degree has been available at Inver Hills through the College of St. Scholastica since last year. The Inver Hills campus itself was created in 1970.