Dakota County will give some property owners additional time to pay property taxes without incurring a fine, citing financial hardships residents have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release.
The County Board approved a measure allowing some property owners to pay the first half of their 2021 property taxes through June 15 without a penalty.
The penalty delay applies to all non-escrowed residential, agricultural, vacant rural, open space, apartment, commercial and industrial properties. Taxes paid through an escrow service and utility, railroad, machinery and transmission lines properties are excluded.
Ranked-choice voting to launch this fall
Minnetonka residents will vote for city officials this year using a ranked-choice voting system. In last November's election, 54.7% of voters approved the system, which residents originally requested in 2019. The City Council adopted an ordinance officially implementing the system, beginning with the 2021 council and mayoral elections.
Ranked-choice voting lets voters rank candidates in order of preference, rather than selecting just one per office. If no one wins a majority of votes, the candidate in last place is eliminated and their votes are dispersed among the others until someone wins at least 51% of votes.
Because the system eliminates the need for a primary election, candidates can file for those positions later in the year. Normally, candidates for city office would file in May, but this year they can throw their hats in the ring between July 27 and Aug. 10.
In November, voters will use the ranked-choice system to elect the mayor and two at-large council members.
Historic pavilion slated for repairs
A pavilion that's stood for 98 years at the edge of the St. Croix River in downtown Stillwater needs $350,000 of work to remain standing, the City Council learned this week.
The river floods the structure annually, and freezing and thawing cycles have cracked its poured concrete foundation.
City Planner Abbi Jo Wittman said the work could take two years. The foundation and roof need replacement, along with some other minor repairs and an upgrade of the pavilion's electrical system. Local Rotary groups want to help maintain the structure, she added in a report, and city staff could apply for state historical society grants and private foundation funding to help offset the cost of repairs.
The pavilion is on the National Register of Historic Places and sits at the intersection of Myrtle Street and the river.
School board chooses new superintendent
Edina Public Schools will have a new superintendent beginning July 1.
The school board voted unanimously to enter into contract negotiations with Stacie Stanley and scheduled a closed meeting May 7 to negotiate her contract.
Stanley, one of three finalists selected from a field of six, most recently worked as associate superintendent at Eden Prairie Public Schools.