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City Council: Three new police officers, hirings, reconsideration of tax levy

New Woodbury police officers with Public Safety Director Lee Vague after being sworn in on Sept. 26, 2018. From left: Officer Laolue Yang, Officer Chelsea Koehn, Vague, Officer Sean Rudin. Courtesy of the city of Woodbury.

Three Woodbury police officers sworn in; other positions filled

Officers Chelsea Koehn, Sean Rudin and Laolue Yang officially joined Woodbury Public Safety when their appointments were approved by the City Council on Wednesday, Sept. 26. Three new officers were sworn in by Public Safety Director/Police Chief Lee Vague as family and friends looked on.

Christopher Hartzell has also been hired to fill the position of engineering director, effective Oct. 29. The position was created after the recent retirement of Klayton Eckles, who held the title of both public works and engineering director. The city is still in the process of finding a new public works director.

Paul Kauppi has been hired to fill the newly-created assistant public works director position, and Tony Kutzke has been hired to fill the newly-created city engineer position. Both hirings are effective Jan. 1, 2019.

A position for fire marshal was also created, with Rick Current now filling that opening. The city also hired two IT technicians, Allison Davis and Zachary Norlund.

Feed My Starving Children comes to Woodbury this weekend

The nonprofit, Feed My Starving Children, will set up shop Thursday, Oct. 4 through Sunday, Oct. 7 at HealthEast Sports Center with the goal of packing five million meals for undernourished children and adults around the world.

Volunteers are invited to help pack meal kits for families during this four-day event. FMSC will bring all necessary materials.

Ten percent of the money raised for this event will be donated to Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf, a nonprofit helping the hungry in the Twin Cities.

Regular volunteer shifts are two hours long. Anyone 5 years old and up can sign up for shifts between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. The event also needs 800 "certified volunteers," 100 per shift, to assist FMSC staff. Each shift is six hours long, and volunteers will receive a catered lunch. A two-hour training session is required.

For more information about volunteering and registration, visit the event's website.

Woodbury to contribute to highway reconstruction costs

The council passed an agreement to contribute to the Minnesota Department of Transportation's resurfacing and reconstruction of the East Metro Interchange on Trunk Highways 94, 494 and 694.

The funding agreement includes costs for the design and construction of turn lanes and traffic signals on the east ramps of the I-494 and Tamarack Road interchange, which were requested by the city based on a traffic impact study from June 2014.

According to council documents, the total cost to the city will be $449,206.52, with $395,263.25 going toward construction, $20,668.71 for state furnished materials and $33,274.56 for construction engineering. It will be funded mainly by "assessments to the adjacent property owners (MSP Commercial and Launch Properties) as outlined in their respective Developer Agreements."

The city's Municipal State Aid Roadway Construction Fund will also contribute approximately $75,000 to $100,000 to the project costs.

Preliminary tax levy passed

Both the council and the Housing and Redevelopment Authority passed a preliminary property tax levy increase of 5.2 percent for 2019, which was proposed at the Sept. 12 budget meeting.

The council also passed a motion scheduling the Truth-in-Taxation public meeting for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12. The 2019 budget, including the tax levy, is expected to be passed at this meeting.

Meetings rescheduled

• The city's monthly Planning Commission meeting was moved from Oct. 1 to 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8.

• A City Council workshop meeting has been added at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10 to take place before the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m.

• The regular City Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 24 has been rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30.

Hannah Black

Hannah Black is a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism interested in the intersection of politics and the everyday lives of citizens. Outside of reporting, she enjoys running, going to museums and concerts, and trying new coffee shops and breweries. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her dog, Wendell.

(651) 319-4502
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