West St. Paul City Council chambers

City Council Preview: July 26, 2021

We provide these West St. Paul City Council previews with your support.

The upcoming West St. Paul City Council meeting will include potentially controversial public input on a proposed sidewalk, details on a fire and EMS levy increase, and more.

South Metro Fire Levy Increase

During the Open Council Work Session (OCWS), South Metro Fire will present their plan to raise their EMS taxing district levy. The $550,000 levy has been in place since 2012, but couldn’t be increased. Legislation passed this year allows them to raise the levy, and South Metro plans to do so given their need to hire three more people.

Since 2008, South Metro’s calls have increased 46%, EMS transports have increased 192%, and staffing has only increased 6%. If approved by the South Metro Fire Board, the levy will increase from $550,000 to $825,000 starting in 2022.

Bidwell Sidewalk

With the Crusader Avenue reconstruction project moving forward in 2022, the city is looking at adding adjacent sidewalk on Bidwell between Crusader and Marie. This sidewalk was vetoed back in 2016, but the completed road project did leave room to add sidewalk in the future. In June, City Council discussed the idea during an OCWS meeting and was generally in favor of it.

While it’s not an official public hearing, letters went out to 131 adjacent property owners asking for input and inviting them to share concerns at this meeting. Back in 2016 the project faced strong opposition from neighbors.

Renaissance Implementation

In a continued effort to implement the Robert Street Renaissance Plan, Council will discuss several measures vetted by the Planning Commission, including standardizing setbacks, limiting parking that can abut Robert Street, and reduce parking minimums by 50% for properties within a quarter mile of Robert Street.

Other Items on the Agenda:

  • Closed session: The OCWS will include a closed session to discuss Minnesota Department of Human Rights litigation. We’re still trying to get more specific details about this litigation.
  • Public hearing: There will be a public hearing for Robert Street sidewalk snow removal assessment.
  • Vacating Kruse Street: A leftover right of way on Augustana Lutheran Church property is being vacated. It’s unclear if this is just cleaning things up or if Augustana has plans.
  • Summer Fun Fest donation: The South Robert Street Business Association donated $10,000 to the upcoming Summer Fun Fest on August 14.

The public can watch the meeting live on Town Square TV or cable channel 18 starting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday (5:30 p.m. for the OCWS meeting).

If you’re not able to attend the meeting in person, you can always use our coloring pages to imagine you’re there.

Keep City Council previews and recaps coming by supporting West St. Paul Reader.

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