Taxpayers oppose city decision to forgo bond referenda

By   /  August 26, 2015  /  Budget and Spending, Minnesota, News, Transparency, Uncategorized  /  No Comments

City of Bloomington photo

Officials in Bloomington, Minnesota now have the power to issue up to $100 million in general obligation bonds without a referendum. It’s a move that flies in the face of concerns over short-circuiting the role of residents to curtail spending and maintain the city’s stellar bond rating.

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Minnesota ‘water warriors’ tap into taxpayer funds to attack soft drinks

By   /  August 24, 2015  /  Health Care, Minnesota, News, State Government  /  No Comments

ReThink Your Drink Mpls Facebook photo

There’s nothing like the dog days of August to make one crave an ice cold cola or other high-sugar beverage. But before breaking open the cooler, the Minneapolis Health Department —through a taxpayer-funded marketing campaign — wants everyone to “Rethink Their Drink.”

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New EB-5 visa center to help finance proposed high-speed rail line

By   /  August 14, 2015  /  Immigration, Minnesota, News, State Government, Transparency  /  No Comments

Olmsted Co. photo

The developer seeking billions of dollars to privately finance a proposed high speed rail line between Rochester and the Twin Cities has received federal approval to launch a new EB-5 immigrant investment center, Liberty Minnesota.

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Too big to derail? Opponents fear high-speed rail a done deal

By   /  August 10, 2015  /  Minnesota, News, State Government, Taxes  /  No Comments

Watchdog photo

Two multi-billion proposals for a high speed passenger rail line between Rochester and the Twin Cities generated a standing room only crowd of taxpayers on a recent night at Pine Island City Hall.

But an equally galvanizing force among many at the latest Citizens Concerned About Rail Line meeting was a deepening loss of confidence in a government some view as way off track.

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Legal fees soar as property owners seethe in eminent domain case

By   /  August 6, 2015  /  Accountability, Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

Watchdog photo

If hard feelings paved or paid for new roadways, Carver County officials would already be looking in the rear view mirror at the two-mile stretch of County Road 11 built on land obtained by invoking eminent domain.

But three years after condemnation and construction, the suburban Twin Cities county faces a backlash from several landowners still awaiting payment or going to court to determine the value of their property.

At the same time, the private attorney litigating settlements on the county’s behalf stands to receive up to $810,000 in legal fees — 375 percent more than anticipated.

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All options on table as city re-evaluates fiber optic business

By   /  August 3, 2015  /  Budget and Spending, Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

North St. Paul YouTube

Nine years after becoming one of the first cities in Minnesota to install a high speed fiber optic line, North St. Paul city council members are asking whether it was a smart investment.

Since 2006, the Twin Cities suburb has raided $2,280,000 from the city’s electric utility account to prop up the communications system.

“If we sell it, if we lease it, and if we want to try to lease it, how do we go about this to get some customers? We go right by some big companies,” said longtime North St. Paul City Councilor Jan Wakczak. “… We have some amazing opportunities, and I guess the big question is, How do we pursue them? Do we have to hire somebody to do this, or can it be done in-house?”

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