For the first time since opening its doors nearly 40 years ago, Fogerty Ice Arena and Four Seasons Curling Club in Blaine is asking the public for financial help.
A fundraiser to "Save Fogerty" aims to make up for revenue losses during the statewide pandemic shutdown of entertainment centers.
The arena is closed until further notice, and staff are worried whether the facility can stay in the black — at a time of year when the ice would typically be bustling with hockey players and curlers.
John Benton, director of curling operations, said all but two staffers are furloughed.
Aside from funding to open the facility in 1982, the nonprofit has never asked the public for help, Benton said. For more information on the fundraiser, visit fogertyarena.com.
City may eliminate Truth in Housing
The Hopkins City Council is taking steps to eliminate a requirement that the city inspect residential properties before they're sold.
The Truth in Housing inspections provide prospective buyers with information about the property's condition, a city memo said.
Private evaluators licensed by the city complete the evaluations with the help of city staff. Buyers pay the city $200 to $500 per inspection.
Any problematic items must be fixed or replaced, with a city inspector verifying the work is done.
But the program costs the city about $56,000 a year, and most buyers already have private inspections done.
When analyzing costs vs. benefits, officials decided the inspections aren't needed.
"We think the risk is pretty minimal" that the cut will affect home buyers, said Ari Lenz, assistant city manager.
The city has proposed cuts to the rental inspection program due to COVID-19. Eliminating Truth in Housing will allow for rearrangement of staff workloads and save home buyers money.
The ordinance's second reading is scheduled for Jan. 5.
County keeps 2021 property tax levy flat
Dakota County will maintain the lowest tax rate in the seven-county metro area in 2021 after county commissioners voted this month to keep the property tax levy flat.
The 2021 property tax levy, or the amount of money the county collects in property taxes, will be $144.6 million, according to a county news release. The board also voted to not collect a Regional Rail Authority tax levy for the third year in a row.
Many local governments opted to keep levy increases low this year, citing the ongoing economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
A typical $291,800 Dakota County home that sees a 4.5% increase in market value will pay about $11 less in county taxes in 2021.
"This is just one of the ways we as a county can serve our residents in a time of great challenge," Dakota County Board Chairman Mike Slavik said in a statement.
The county's $293.5 million 2021 operating budget is largely unchanged from 2020, according to the release.
All spending, including capital improvement projects such as road construction and building maintenance, will total about $425 million — a drop of about 6% from 2020.