West St. Paul City Council Chambers

West St. Paul City Council Preview: April 24, 2023

We believe in government transparency and provide these West St. Paul City Council previews with the support of our members.

The agenda for Monday’s regular West St. Paul City Council meeting includes a liquor license for Betty’s Kitchen and swearing in a new police officer, with more involved debate during the earlier work session surrounding the budget and potential changes to the committee appointment process.

2024 Budget & Tax Increase

During the Open Council Work Session (OCWS), Council will get an early look at next year’s budget and the potential tax levy.

Yikes: It’s not good news—an 8.4% increase. That’s compared to last year’s 5.88% increase and a 2024 conceptual increase of 6.2%.

But: Don’t get too worried. This is all very preliminary.

  • Status quo: “[It’s] what the budget would look like if we made no changes to reflect the policy and financial goals of the council and community,” said City Manager Nate Burkett.
  • Changes expected: “In essence the levy amount shown is a worst case scenario and changes to moderate the levy are expected,” Burkett said. They could come on the expense side where the primary drivers are streets, wages, and insurance, and on the income side where there’s the potential of increased local government aid (LGA) from the state.
  • Less impact: Recent growth in the commercial and industrial sectors shifts the tax burden away from residents, which means last year’s 5.88% increase translated to a $165 increase, while an 8.4% increase this year might only translate to a $153 increase. (Yes, property taxes are confusing.)

Bottom line: City Council will need to make decisions about what direction to give staff. Preliminary budgets usually come out in late summer with a September vote to set a maximum levy increase and the final levy determined by the end of the year.

Tweaks to the Committee Appointment Process

What: Council will again consider changes to the committee appointment process during the OCWS.

Why: There is a long history of frustrations with the appointment process, and it’s an issue not unique to West St. Paul. The latest frustrations surfaced over the process at the last Council meeting. Council Member Robyn Gulley floated the idea of broader changes in a Facebook post.

Changes: Potential changes include clearly communicating the interview process and dates to applicants and adding a question on the application to disclose any boards the applicant serves on.

More on the Agenda:

  • Police: The mayor will swear in new police officer Joseph Penny.
  • Liquor license: New Ethiopian restaurant Betty’s Kitchen has applied for a liquor license to serve beer and wine.
  • Council travel: The League of Minnesota Cities annual conference is in Duluth in June and Council will discuss which members can attend.


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

Learn more: Guide to West St. Paul City Council.

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