Taxpayers can’t get a ‘break’ with St. Paul’s artsy stop signs

By   /  October 30, 2014  /  Budget and Spending, Government Waste, Local Government, Minnesota, Uncategorized  /  No Comments

King Studios Photo.

St. Paul may be predictably progressive, but the powers at City Hall enthusiastically embrace the “1 percent.”

The 1 percent, that is, of costs automatically taken off the top of local government construction projects, under a city ordinance mandating taxpayer-funded public art.

Form counts as much as function in city infrastructure projects.

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Government agency fights $23,000 city tax bill

By   /  October 24, 2014  /  Energy and Environment, Minnesota, transportation  /  No Comments

MMCD Photo.

Dozens of property and business owners seethed when the city of St. Paul handed out $2.3 million in assessments for street improvements on the Green Line light rail construction project.

Still, it came as a surprise this week when someone not only complained but stepped up, refusing to pay a $23,000 assessment for streetscape and lighting improvements — at least for now.

Even more surprising the group that decided to take on the city wasn’t a business or landlord, but rather another unit of local government, namely, the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District board.

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The Un-Expendables: Superintendents retire, get rehired with pension and pay

By   /  October 22, 2014  /  Education, Minnesota, Pensions  /  No Comments

THEY'RE BACK!: MN public school superintendents who qualify for a pension can retire for a brief period, get rehired at their same job and collect both pay and pension under state law.

They could be called “The Un-Expendables,” public school superintendents who retire for a few days before they’re lured back for a sequel at their former jobs — with full salary, benefits, incentives and pension.

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Legislator wants to revoke permit on unpopular wind project

By   /  October 17, 2014  /  Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

Barb Wenninger Photo.

How long is too long?

Well, about six years— and counting — in the view of dozens of rural residents fighting a proposed 1,600-acre, 10-turbine wind farm in southern Minnesota.

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St. Paul bills businesses thousands for light rail work

By   /  October 14, 2014  /  Business, Government Regulation, Local Government, Minnesota, News, transportation  /  No Comments

Light Rail-Central Corridor

Just as St. Paul retailers began recovering from an average 30 percent loss in sales during the new $1 billion light rail line’s construction, dozens of businesses received a bill from the city’s Office of Financial Services for street improvements tied to the construction of the 11-mile-long line.

“I think it sucks, but you have to pay for it, you know?” said Evangelos Hatzistamoulos, who received a $1,585.82 tax notice for the curbside work outside the Best Steak House.

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Convenience stores burning over cigar crackdown

By   /  October 8, 2014  /  Government Regulation, Local Government, Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

Assn for Nonsmokers-MN Photo.

These days, where there’s smoke — or smokes — there’s fire. This time the conflagration started when local governments began raising prices on small stogies and cigarillos sold in more Twin Cities convenience stores.

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