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Observer Corps Report - 6/4/2019 Dakota County General Government & Policy Committee Meeting

Updated: Jun 10, 2019

Observer Corps reports are submitted by LWV Dakota County members that volunteer their time to observe and take notes at government meetings of interest to Dakota County residents. While we strive for accuracy, these observations may be incomplete or inaccurate in some respects.

Minutes (not available yet) Meeting Summary: A newly hired Risk/Safety Specialist was introduced.

County Manager Matt Smith and Jeremy Estenson, one of the County's lobbyists, provided an extensive review of how Dakota County's priorities fared during the 2019 legislative session. All seemed to agree that it was a unique session, with perhaps some more progressive thinking, but partisan divisions made for fewer stand-alone bills. Dakota County did not succeed in attaining all the items on its wish list.

The County Board's Budget Workshop will take place on June 18 and the results of the workshop will be discussed at the July 23 Board meeting.

Agenda item 9.1 was a lengthy update on the activity of the Dakota Broadband Board. Representatives from the cities of Lakeville and Apple Valley were in attendance. There was much discussion on poor service from local internet service providers. Clarification was sought regarding commercial and residential broadband expenses and contracts.

Agenda item 10.1 related to the authorization of a construction contract for building additions and renovations at the Empire transportation campus and the amendment of related aspects of the the County's budget. There was heated debate regarding bidding, construction costs, why numbers keep climbing, and the feeling that the Commissioners are against the wall with rising costs. Both Commissioners and staff weighed in on the dilemma. It was agreed that many projects are warranted. However, the process and legitimacy of voting under duress was discussed.

Agenda item 10.2 involved the planned hiring of 3 full-time staff members to provide building security at the Northern and Western Service Centers. There was discussion about the "friendly face" factor in providing security services. Many Commissioners agreed the world is changing and front line security is a valid and proactive expense.

June 11, 2019 will be a busy and packed day of Commissioner meetings at the Western Service Center in Apply Valley. Anyone interested in observing discussions between Commissioners and Met Council members, including Chair Nora Slawik, may wish to attend the following meetings:

  • Physical Development Committee (PDC) – Room L139 – Scheduled to start at 10 a.m. (or following the Community Development Committee meeting)

  • Informal lunch discussion with Chair Slawik and some Met Council members – Room 106 – Potential topics include housing/shelter, transportation/transit, parks/trails, and planning

  • Housing Workshop – Room L139 – Scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m.

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