Moody's Investors Service has reduced the Shakopee Public Schools' bond rating, the second such downgrade in less than a year.
The district fell two levels, from an A2 to a Baa1, earlier this month as a result of narrowing general fund reserves, mounting debt and pension burdens.
Moody's ratings are used by investors to determine the relative creditworthiness of securities being sold by school districts and other entities. A bond rating is similar to a credit score — better ratings result in better borrowing rates.
Despite a strong local economy, above average household incomes and growing enrollment, Shakopee ISD 720 received a negative outlook from the agency.
The district, which has weathered back-to-back budget deficits, is now considered a moderate credit risk.
But the district's finance director, Jeff Priess, remained optimistic, saying the bond rating was determined based on financial information reported during last year's audit on June 30, 2017.
"The rating does not reflect the fact that the district projects a balanced budget for the current year and a surplus for the upcoming 2018-19 fiscal year, two factors that can lead to an increased rating," Priess said.
Interim Superintendent Gary Anger is hopeful next year will shake out differently. "We continue to try and right the ship," he said.
West St. Paul
Green takes seat on planning commission
Samantha Green attended her first planning commission meeting last week following a tumultuous several weeks when she was first rejected for the job by the City Council and then finally approved for the position on a unanimous vote.
Green was one of three women appointed to the commission in April by Mayor Jenny Halverson, but failed to win confirmation. A council member said it was because an incumbent commissioner was seeking reappointment, but Halverson said it was because of sexism.
The dispute prompted dozens of residents to charge four council members with ongoing sexism. The night after the meeting, Green and Halverson each found maxi pads and Kleenex on their doorsteps.
Outraged citizens responded by bringing hundreds of packages of maxi pads and tampons to the next council meeting, where they spoke about the need for a change in attitudes.
Since then, Green and Halverson have reported to police that they found screws in their tires, as did five other women.
Council members reversed themselves and approved Green for the commission on June 11 without commenting on the controversy. Council Member Anthony Fernandez said he regretted letting personal feelings get in the way of appointing Green.
Green said her first planning commission meeting on Tuesday was "a great way to get my feet wet." The commission has a great mix of members and is full for the first time in some time, she said.
Council member reinstated after absence
The Eagan City Council approved reinstating Council Member Meg Tilley this month after voting to declare a council vacancy and considering a temporary replacement just the week before.
Tilley had been absent from council meetings since mid-January due to health problems and had planned to resume attendance several times before.
She came to the June 12 meeting and said she was happy to be back. Her health issues persist, she said, but she now has a wheelchair and uses Metro Mobility to get around.
"This is what I love to do," Tilley said.
Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire said that if Tilley has any other impairments, she should tell the City Council right away.
"I think it would be prudent to be in more proactive communication with city staff and the council so that we can avoid a situation like [this]," Maguire said.
Tilley replied that her ailments surprised even her. "I didn't know where it was going to go," she said.
City publishes book of its history
Eagan presented a new book documenting its history this month, the first such book the city has published in 33 years.
"Becoming Eagan: The Making of a Community 1972-2010" tells "how Eagan became the great city it is today. Our community's history comes to life in 176 beautiful pages of pictures and stories told by the people who lived through Eagan's transition from township to city," a city news release said.
The book is on sale at the Eagan Community Center or through the history section of the city's website.
For $25 — which is the introductory price, offered through July 4 — residents and Eagan fans will get the new book and a complimentary copy of the city's previous history book, "The Lone Oak Years."
Murals allowed throughout city limits
A new ordinance allows murals to be painted on building exteriors throughout the city, replacing an identical interim ordinance passed in June 2017.
In May 2017, the Burnsville Convention and Visitor's Bureau asked to create a mural to commemorate its 30th anniversary and document Burnsville's history.
Representatives gave a presentation about their organization's request.
The new ordinance permits murals on any exterior building surface. A mural is defined as "a hand-painted image on or affixed to the exterior wall of a building that is coordinated with a commissioned artist and is non-commercial in nature."
Wall graphics are allowed too, now.