Blaine has narrowed its search for a new police chief to five finalists, with the top choice expected to be made by early November.

The new chief will replace former Police Chief Chris Olson, who retired in June after 27 years with the Blaine department.

Daniel Szykulski, one of the five finalists, has been interim police chief since Olson stepped down. The other finalists are Mark Bruley, Brooklyn Park’s deputy chief of police; Brian Podany, commander of the patrol division for the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office; John Swenson, public safety director in Lino Lakes; and Kathy Waite, 5th Precinct inspector for the Minneapolis Police Department.

The city received 46 applications from candidates in 13 states, according to a news release.

A meet-and-greet event with the finalists will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 16 at Blaine City Hall, 10801 Town Square Dr. NE.

Hannah Covington


Tax base jump softens blow of $1.2M tax hike

A $1.2 million jump in Roseville’s property tax take next year will be offset by growth in the city’s nonresidential tax base, limiting the cost to homeowners, city officials say.

The City Council approved a preliminary property tax levy increase of 6.4 percent for 2018, the maximum that the city can levy when officials finalize the budget in December.

The property tax levy would amount to $20.8 million, up by $1.2 million from this year. The tax base is shifting from residential to commercial property, easing the proportion assigned to homeowners.

The median-valued home of $236,900 would get an annual bill of about $935, up about $25 a year. A separate levy of $360,150 for economic development would add about $17 annually to the tax bill for that same house.

Roseville’s total recommended 2018 budget, which includes revenue sources other than the property tax, is $54.2 million, up by $2.3 million from this year’s budget.

David Peterson


Bailey Elementary wins ‘Blue Ribbon’ status

The U.S. Department of Education has selected Bailey Elementary School in Woodbury as a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School.

Bailey was recognized for being among Minnesota’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or national tests, according to the South Washington County school district. It is the first district school to be named a Blue Ribbon school since the program was created in 1982, officials said.

The Blue Ribbon program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve high learning standards or make notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.

Bailey, on Woodbury’s west side, opened in 1991 and has about 800 students in grades pre-K through fifth. It will be among 342 schools honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 6-7.

Kevin Giles

Cottage Grove

Council to launch search to replace Woolery

The Cottage Grove City Council soon will begin a search to replace Public Safety Director Craig Woolery, who has announced he will retire in February.

Woolery was appointed public safety director in 2006 and also served as interim Cottage Grove city manager for five months. He has worked 34 years for the city, beginning as a community service officer and paramedic.

During his career he was a DARE officer in the schools, supervised the investigative division and was team commander on the Washington County SWAT team.

Kevin Giles


City joins coalition for Met Council reform

The city of Anoka is throwing its support behind a growing coalition of cities and counties seeking major reform of the Metropolitan Council.

City leaders unanimously adopted a resolution last month that calls for changes to the appointment process and power of the 50-year-old regional planning agency.

The reform group got its start several years when commissioners from four counties — Dakota, Anoka, Carver and Scott — came together to push for an overhaul of the Met Council.

“They are advocating that local control is given back to the cities and the counties,” Anoka City Manager Greg Lee said at the Sept. 18 meeting.

Dozens of cities since have said they support the coalition’s goals, which include the election of Met Council members rather than their appointment by the governor.