By Eric Roper

Special elections were a common occurence in Minneapolis over the last year -- and they came at a cost.

A city report says that three special elections (each of which featured a primary and general election contests) cost the city $163,748. About 82 percent of that was used to pay election judges and seasonal elections staff.

The good news? It's only about half of the contingency money the city set aside for off-year elections. The city clerk's office says much of the cost savings resulted from holding two contests on the same day in December and January.

"As a consequence, we were successful at bringing all three special elections in for about 50 percent less than originally calculated," city clerk Casey Carl wrote in the report.

The special elections resulted from a complicated string of retirements and vacancies. Sens. Linda Berglin and Larry Pogemiller both stepped down, triggering elections in south Minneapolis and Northeast.

Rep. Jeff Hayden won Berglin's seat, prompting yet another election -- this time for his House seat in south Minneapolis.