West St. Paul City Council Chambers

West St. Paul City Council Preview: Dec. 12, 2022

Thanks to Cardinal Corner and Inver Grove Ford for their support.

The community will have a chance to speak on the proposed mental health crisis center at the West St. Paul City Council meeting. Other topics include purchasing the Hy-Vee land, the bike and pedestrian plan, and the final 2023 budget and property tax levy.

Mental Health Crisis Center

A proposed mental health crisis center at the Northern Dakota County Government Center will come up for a public hearing. City Council discussed the project at the last meeting and there has since been an informational neighborhood meeting that drew close to 100 people.

To make it easier for people to attend and speak to this issue without sitting through an entire evening of meetings, the city plans to cover the issue at 7:30 p.m. or shortly thereafter.

Buying Hy-Vee Land

The City of West St. Paul is issuing bonds to finalize the purchase of the Hy-Vee/YMCA land.

Goal: The long-term plan is still to sell the land to a developer for a mix of development including housing, a restaurant, and community space, as pitched to City Council in September.

Problem: The challenge is that time has run out to transfer the purchase agreement to a developer and there are still issues to resolve. The city could let the purchase agreement lapse and Hy-Vee could sell to someone else. Or the city could buy it and ensure that community space still happens.

What issues: The primary issue is qualifying for tax increment financing (TIF). The land isn’t blighted enough to qualify, mainly because the old YMCA building has already been torn down. They need special permission from the state legislature to do it. City officials are confident they can get that permission, but it’s going to take time. High interest rates and construction costs are also making the deal difficult.

City Council will approve the bonding plan during the Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting, with the hope of recouping any costs in the eventual sale of the land.

2023 Budget

Council will approve the final budget for 2023 and the corresponding property tax levy. The proposed levy was a 6.1% increase, though the final numbers have dropped it to a 5.88% increase.

There will be a public hearing for the property tax levy.

Other Items on the Agenda

  • Police: The mayor will swear in a new police officer, Tommy Xiong.
  • Marijuana licenses: With the city’s new intoxicating THC ordinance, there are three applicants for specialty retailers with only two licenses available. City Council will have to choose between Lafeyette Tobacco, Nothing But Hemp, and North 40 Tavern.
  • Marijuana zoning: Council will also approve final zoning for specialty THC retailers.
  • Communication: During the Open Council Work Session, Council will again discuss minimum communication standards for city projects. The goal is better engagement with the community.
  • Annapolis: OCWS will also include an update on the Annapolis street project.
  • Bike & Pedestrian plan: OCWS will also review the updated Bike & Pedestrian Plan for potential approval during the regular meeting.
  • Salt storage: Council will hold a public hearing and approve setting specific storage requirements for salt and de-icers.

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

Learn more about how city council works with our Guide to West St. Paul City Council.

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