In 2013, Dakota County will again have the lowest tax rate among metro counties. County commissioners last week adopted a 2013 operating budget levy of $118.6 million -- a $225,000 reduction from the 2012 levy.

The levy will lower the property taxes on a median-priced home in Dakota County by $23.

The new budget will give Dakota the lowest tax levy per capita of all metro counties. Dakota also claims the fewest employees per capita of all metro counties.

According to figures from Dakota County, Dakota's levy calls for spending of $325 per person. Anoka County's calls for spending of $362 per person, Washington County's levy calls for spending $363 per person, Scott County comes in at $442 per person, Carver County at $492 per person and Ramsey County at $534 per person.

Hennepin County will spend the most per person of all metro counties next year at $580 per capita.


Learn to build a rain garden

The Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District has set up the 2013 Blue Thumb Program schedule of workshops to teach area residents how to build rain gardens on their property to use storm water runoff and help improve water quality. The workshops, all at 6:15 p.m., are scheduled for:

Feb. 28: Apple Valley Municipal Center, 7100 W. 147th St., Apple Valley.

March 4: Burnsville City Hall, 100, Civic Center Pkwy., Burnsville.

March 12: Schaars Bluff Gathering Center, 8395 E. 127th St., Hastings.

March 14: South St. Paul City Hall, 125 N. 3rd Av., South St. Paul.

March 25: Eagan City Hall, 3830 Pilot Knob Road, Eagan.

March 27: Lakeville City Hall, 20195 Holyoke Av., Lakeville.

April 1: Farmington Library, 508 Third St., Farmington.

April 4: Apple Valley Municipal Center.

April 9: Burnsville City Hall, Burnsville.

April 17: Mendota Heights City Hall, 1101 Victoria Curve, Mendota Heights.

Registration is required by e-mail to or by phone to 651-480-7777.


Adopt a fire hydrant for winter

Burnsville is asking residents to adopt a fire hydrant for the winter and keep it free of snow.

When firefighters are digging through snow to find the hydrant, time ticks away, the city said. During a fire, every second counts, and recent snowfall has made some hydrants hard to find.

Firefighters ask for a 3-foot circle of snow and ice to be shoveled around each fire hydrant and a 3-foot-wide path leading to them from the street.

If residents are physically unable to shovel a hydrant on their property, the city encourages them to ask a neighbor for help. For more information, go to

Santa is coming to Neill Park

Santa is coming to Burnsville's Neill Park, 13501 Upton Av., from 3 to 5 p.m. Dec. 22 to skate, sled and sing for holiday spirit.

The free event will include holiday music, ice skating, sledding, a bonfire and photos with Santa. Participants must bring their own sleds and ice skates.

For more information, contact the Burnsville Recreation Department at 952-895-4500.

Free skating at ice center on Jan. 6

The Burnsville Ice Center will offer free skating from noon to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 6.

Admission and skate rentals will be free at the ice center, at 251 Civic Center Pkwy. The event will feature prizes, games and professional skaters giving mini-lessons.

Registration for winter "Learn to Skate" classes for ages 3 and older opens Jan. 7. For more information, call the Ice Center at 952-895-4657 or visit


New transit station opens

Bus service to the Rosemount Transit Station started last week, and the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) will hold a celebration of the new facility Tuesday from 4 to 6 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

The new station is downtown on 145th Street across from City Hall. Service to the temporary park-and-ride stop at the Rosemount Community Center has ended.


Scenic pictures sought by city

Do you have a scenic picture of South St. Paul you would like to share? The city of South St. Paul is looking for scenic pictures to use on the city's website and informational brochures. Pictures must be in their original format.

E-mail photos to the city's Shelly Anderson at


City to sell former senior center

Farmington has agreed to sell its former senior center to a local firm for $90,000.

The building across from City Hall has been vacant since 2009, when seniors moved into the old City Hall. The long, single-story building at 431 Third Av. will be remodeled for offices and maybe retail use by Sackett Properties, Mayor Todd Larson said.

The price will cover about $54,000 spent on asbestos removal and roof repair, leaving about $31,000, said a council memo from Administrator David McKnight. The City Council approved the sale earlier this month.



Recycling dropoffs for old Christmas lights

Strands of Christmas lights may be dropped off for recycling at the Burnsville Ice Center, 251 Civic Center Pkwy., through Jan. 31.

They also may be dropped off in Eagan at the Recycling Zone, 3365 Dodd Road. It offers light recycling year-round.

In Apple Valley, they may be left in the first floor lobby of the Dakota County Western Service Center, 14955 Galaxie Av. S., through Jan. 31.

For more information, contact Dakota Valley Recycling at 952-895-4511 or visit