St. Francis Regional Medical Center has teamed up with Hy-Vee to set up health care clinics in its Shakopee and Savage markets.

The clinics will include two exam rooms, lab services, self-serve kiosks and an optional online check-in to remotely schedule appointments.

St. Francis President Mike McMahan said the clinics will enhance the grocery chain’s one-stop shopping service model.

“People today want to buy groceries, grab a coffee, and get a flu shot all under the same roof,” McMahon said.

The Hy-Vee grand opening in Shakopee will take place in November. The clinic will open at the same time. The clinic in its Savage store should be open by year’s end.

St. Francis owns a hospital campus and two urgent care facilities in Shakopee, imaging centers in Savage and Chaska and a primary care clinic in Jordan.

Liz Sawyer

Dakota County

County approves preliminary tax levies

The Dakota County Board on Tuesday approved a maximum property tax levy of $136,651,774, up 2.9 percent from last year.

According to a county analysis, the average property tax levy proposed by other metro-area counties is up about 4.4 percent for 2018.

The County Board also set its maximum Regional Rail Authority property tax levy at $334,991, a 79.5 percent dip from last year’s levy.

Officials said the county plans to use $12.7 million in its Regional Rail Authority fund balance to pay for this year’s upcoming transit projects. The county recently exited the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB), so it will get the proceeds from a quarter-cent sales tax and a $20 excise tax on vehicle sales that once went to the collaborative group.

Commissioner Chris Gerlach said looking only at the maximum property tax levy increase without considering the Regional Rail Authority’s tax levy decrease could be misleading. “It looks like we made a bigger jump than we really did,” Gerlach said.

Together, the maximum increase in the two levies for 2018 is about 1.9 percent, county documents say. Owners of a median-priced home in Dakota County — valued at $243,900 — would pay $8.61 more in property tax to the county in 2018 compared to this year.

Counties must set their maximum tax levies by late September. After that, they may lower their tax levies but cannot increase them. Commissioners vote on a final budget in December.

Erin Adler


City Council considers designs to remodel City Hall, police station ahead of Nov. 14 vote

Eagan city officials and staff reviewed schematic designs for a City Hall and police station remodeling project at a Sept. 12 City Council work session.

Staff said the city has outgrown its current facility, which the Police Department and city staff share. The new building will also bolster security, ensure access for those with disabilities and upgrade electrical and mechanical components.

Over the last four months, the city has been working with Wold Construction and Engineering on design and construction support.

The design presented at the work session would increase the building’s size by more than 30,000 square feet at a cost of about $15.7 million. About 20,000 square feet would be dedicated to a police garage. Plans would rebuild the plaza in front to accommodate a police addition and move the entrance.

The building redesign would add more than 5,000 square feet to City Hall to be used for IT support and space for staff and administration.

The council is expected to vote Nov. 14 on a final design, with final approval at the Nov. 21 meeting. The project is projected for completion by the middle of 2019. The city plans to issue bonds to pay for the remodeling.

Erin Adler

Inver Grove Heights

Sex offender ordinance approved without exception when living with a family member

The Inver Grove Heights City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Sept. 25 that restricts where the most serious sex offenders, designated as “Level 3” offenders, can live in the city. The ordinance bars them from residing within 1,000 feet of a school, day care, religious facility, park or library.

Council members decided not to include a controversial provision that would have allowed certain exceptions to that distance if the offender were to live with a family member. At a previous meeting, council members said they worried about making the ordinance too restrictive, lest it prompt a lawsuit. At present, no Level 3 sex offenders reside in Inver Grove Heights, police said.

Erin Adler

Apple Valley

Minnesota Zoo extends AZA accreditation

The Minnesota Zoo has been reaccredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

“AZA accreditation signifies that the Minnesota Zoo is committed to meeting the very highest standards in the zoological profession,” AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe said in a statement. “It means that the Minnesota Zoo is a proven leader in animal care and welfare and in providing educational and meaningful experiences for visitors.”

The zoo has been accredited by the group since 1990. Minnesota Zoo director John Frawley said the organization is proud to be a member and is “always striving to maintain and improve our world-class facility.”

AZA officials noted that the zoo in Apple Valley zoo has an experienced conservation department, which works locally and globally to save wildlife, and has a long-term master plan focused on nature and a dedicated animal care team.

Liz Sawyer