Crystal City Council Recap: January 7, 2014

The first city council meeting of the year was quite a bit less exciting than the last one of 2013.  However, the council did cover a lot of ground.

The meeting started with the presentation of some awards for the Crystal Sparkles contest. The contest is an annual effort to encourage residents and business owners to decorate their homes and businesses during the holiday season, and is sponsored by the West Metro Fire Auxiliary. There is a cash prize for the winner, though I didn’t notice how much. Here’s the flyer for 2013.

During open forum a gentleman told the council about a nonprofit he is starting, called The Light of Crystal, which is designed to promote the city. They have a Facebook group you can join, here. The idea is modeled on a similar program in Robbinsdale called The Heart of Robbinsdale. The group will host social events in the city, including a monthly happy hour.  There was also a friendly bowling challenge made by the Mayor of Robbinsdale, Reagan Murphy, to Crystal Mayor Jim Adams at the Crystal group’s upcoming bowling challenge.

Next the council appointed its new representative to the West Metro Fire Rescue District Board. The new member is a citizen, not a member of the council, which represents a win for Mayor Adams. Adams has been a strong advocate of appointing a citizen, as opposed to a council member, but had faced opposition from some members of the council.

The Human Rights Commission and Environmental Quality Commission both got new members as well.

Next the council considered a resolution authorizing the first steps toward exercising their eminent domain authority to acquire property for a new public works facility.

I am not crazy about this project- mostly because the cost seems very high. I’m not convinced we are getting the best deal we can get. I also felt that some members of the city staff overstepped the bounds in trying to get the result they wanted from the council. Nevertheless, the city needs a new public works building, and as Crystal is fully developed, it has to go somewhere, which means acquiring land. The owners of three of the four properties that must be acquired are dealing with the city. The fourth just has not responded to the city, which is what lead to this motion.

Next the council re-appointed Anne Norris as city manager, and renewed her employment contract for one year. The unanimous vote on this item was significant, as members of CUAPB (see last meeting) have been agitating to get Norris fired. The fact that the renewal of Norris’ contract was entirely non-controversial may be a sign that whatever sympathy or support CUAPB may have had on the council is waning.

The oddest portion of the night came when the council voted on the appointments of the commission liaisons. The council appoints one member to be the liaison to each of the commissions: Planning, Parks, EQC and Human Rights.

Mayor Adams read the list of proposed liaisons, which had council member Joe Selton assigned to the Human Rights Commission. Selton objected, and asked to be switched to Environmental Quality instead. Selton did not give a reason for the switch, but it was accommodated.

The meeting then adjourned.

Prepared and paid for by the Kolb for Crystal Committee, PO Box 28373, Crystal, MN 55428