Libraries: After a lengthy discussion, the City Council voted 11-2 to support a resolution recommending a consolidation of the Minneapolis and Hennepin County Library systems. Council Members Cam Gordon (2nd Ward) and Diane Hofstede (3rd Ward) voted against the resolution.
The Council also approved three other measures related to the library consolidation. Members passed a resolution supporting enabling legislation amending the city charter and allowing for countywide taxing authority to support the newly merged library system. They also approved a plan to fund consolidation that includes $2.1 million in one-time funding to reopen three closed libraries and an additional $500,000 in capital improvement funding for Walker Library.
In addition, the Council passed a resolution by a 12-1 vote indicating it will also seek legislative authority to transfer the responsibilities to the Board of Estimate and Taxation to the City Council and mayor and eliminate the independent board.
Alarm Fees: The Council also spent time debating a burglar alarm ordinance that would start charging residents and businesses a fee for every false alarm, eventually agreeing unanimously to send the measure back to committee for further review.
Under the ordinance in place now, alarm owners are charged a $200 fee beginning with their third false alarm. The fee for each false alarm thereafter increases by $100. Members of the Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee voted at their Feb. 28 meeting to approve an ordinance that would charge residents a $30 fee for their first false alarm. Along with paying that fee, alarm owners would be required to register their alarm with the city. The second false alarm would incur a fine of $100 and the fine for each false alarm thereafter increases by $100.
The measure took a different approach than an ordinance the committee originally considered that would have created an annual alarm system registration fee of $15 for residents and $40 for businesses, but several council members said they still have concerns about charging residents for a public safety service.
Ballpark: The Council approved preliminary plans for several road changes needed to accommodate the construction of the Minnesota Twins ballpark as well as a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the site.