I attended the Crystal city council meeting and first work session on August 12, 2014.
The first work session was rather uneventful- the city presented some of the bids for the new Public Works facility, but didn’t have final costs calculated yet. Bids apparently came in under what they were expecting, but since that has been a moving target, that’s really not saying much. I continue to wonder how a garage can cost $8- $10 million dollars, and continue to have concerns about how this project has been handled from start to finish. I’ll remind everyone again that we don’t yet know (unless it was decided at the budget meeting yesterday) how we will pay for this project, which seems irresponsible to me. Instead of setting a budget and figuring out what we could afford, we worked backwards and decided what we wanted, and decided to worry about how much it will cost later.
After that the council members gave their liaison updates. Each council member is the liaison to one or more committees or commissions and they periodically update other members on what is going on in those groups.
The council meeting was next and this was the first time in the newly remodeled council chambers. I was underwhelmed. The cost for this project was $200,000. It does look fancy, but I’m really not convinced after seeing the results that this was money well spent. I actually think it’s harder to see what is going on from the audience than under the old setup. Maybe it will grow on me, but the cost sure does seem excessive.
Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek kicked off the meeting with a presentation on what’s going on in the Sheriff’s department.
Next, the council recognized a number of members of the police department:
- Reserve Captain Michelle Brenna, who is retiring from the Police Reserves
- Lieutenant Dave Oyaas, who is retiring from the Police Department
- The Crystal Police Explorers, who received a number of awards at a national competition recently
We had a new appointee to the Human Rights Commission, a new appointee to the Employee Review Board, and a transfer of a liquor license to a new owner.
The council also voted on the Planning Commission’s recommendation to approve a variance for the sign for Liquor Liquidators, which I wrote about here. The measure passed.
After the council meeting there was a second work session to discuss pending litigation, which was closed to the public under attorney client privilege.