The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) and Shakopee’s Dakota tribe are teaming up to shuttle employees to workplaces in Prior Lake.

A new fleet of buses started running from the Marschall Transit Station in Shakopee on Dec. 1 for employees of the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Little Six Casino and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community government.

The Shakopee station is also a stop for MVTA, whose seven-day-a-week Route 495 started running last summer between Mall of America, Burnsville Transit Station and Marschall Road Transit Station.

Since many of the tribe’s employees commute from the Twin Cities, the partnership is a “good opportunity to provide additional and affordable transportation,” Gaming Enterprise CEO and President Angela Heikes said in an MVTA release.

Natalie Daher

MVTA stations to be hubs for food drive

In an effort to stock south metro area food shelves this holiday season, the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) has kick-started a campaign to collect donations at transit stations throughout Dakota and Scott counties.

Donations will be packed into at least one bus, depending on the number of donations, and delivered to food shelves operated by 360 Communities in Dakota County and the Scott County CAP Agency, according to an MVTA news release.

The most in-demand items include canned fish, meat, fruits and vegetables, rice and pasta, peanut butter, cooking and baking items and hygiene products, according to the release. Cash is also accepted.

The collection started Nov. 28 and will continue through Dec. 8.

Emma Nelson

CHANHASSEN

City Council scrambles to fill gap left by worker comp costs

The Chanhassen City Council is looking for ways to cover an unanticipated $59,000 budget shortfall that’s attributed to an increase in workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

The premium increase of 29 percent seems to be a one-time blip, and city staffers said they’re not expecting a big increase next year.

Chanhassen will vote to approve a final 2017 budget on Dec. 12, so the council will have to decide soon.

One idea traded at a work session last week: Implement a $2,500 to $5,000 deductible payable by the city when an employee files a workers’ compensation claim, a move estimated to save $16,000 to $25,000 in annual premiums. But with six to eight claims per year, the city likely would come out even, said Finance Director Greg Sticha.

City staffers initially recommended lowering the 2017 street reconstruction levy, while council members favored a reduction in the equipment levy that funds snowplows, lawn mowers and roof replacements.

Erin Adler

South St. Paul

City Council OKs more accessory buildings

The South St. Paul City Council unanimously approved an ordinance on Nov. 21 allowing residents to have two accessory buildings, such as a detached garage and shed, in addition to an attached garage on lots zoned for single families.

A resident came to the council in June asking for a permit or variance to build a detached garage in addition to an attached garage and shed. The city approved the applicant’s conditional use permit but wanted to make sure the same situation didn’t arise again.

The planning commission weighed the amendment and opted not to recommend approval because it felt the applicant’s situation was unusual and the issue could be addressed on a case-by-case basis, according to Mayor Beth Baumann.

But the council overrode the commission and approved the amendment, noting that the city has so many postwar houses with small, one-stall garages that it made sense to permit additional structures on a property.

Erin Adler

Newport

City seeking to fill council vacancy

The Newport City Council is searching for candidates to fill a council vacancy.

The council is accepting applications from residents interested in replacing Newport’s new mayor, Dan Lund, on the City Council.

The council will appoint someone to fill his unexpired council term from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2018. Interviews will start in January.

Interested residents should submit a letter to the City Council expressing their reasons for wanting to serve and their qualifications for the position. Letters can be mailed or dropped off by Dec. 19 at City Hall, 596 7th Av.

An open house will be held Wednesday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at City Hall to recognize outgoing Mayor Tim Geraghty and Council Member Tom Ingemann.

Kevin Giles

Bloomington

Applicants sought for sustainability board

Bloomington is looking for applicants for the city’s first Sustainability Commission.

Up to nine residents with expertise in community engagement or major areas of sustainability will be appointed for the board by the City Council.

The commission will advise the City Council on management of the city’s environmental resources and discuss the sustainable use of air, land, water, energy and waste.

Members will be chosen in February. The deadline for applications is Dec. 28. For more information, go to blm.mn/sustainability.

Miguel Otárola