The Medina Police Department has canceled the city’s Night to Unite observances that were planned for Oct. 6.

Public Safety Director Jason Nelson brought this news to the Medina City Council at its Tuesday, Sept. 1, meeting. In Medina, the city celebrates Night to Unite each year by encouraging neighborhoods to hold parties at which neighbors get to know each other. The goal is to prevent crime. Police officers, firefighters and city officials stop at the parties to meet residents and offer crime prevention tips.

Nelson said this year’s Medina Night to Unite originally was scheduled for Aug. 4. The event was moved to Oct. 6 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, he decided to cancel the event for this year and shift planning to 2021.

“I don’t want to put people in harm’s way at parties,” Nelson said.

At the meeting, the City Council also took up other business. Here are meeting highlights.

 

BROADBAND FEASIBILITY STUDY

At the beginning of the meeting, the City Council approved the hiring of Hometown Fiber, of Maple Grove, to conduct a feasibility study for bringing high speed internet to Medina residents and businesses. Hometown expects the study to take 90 days. City officials are investigating the use of federal CARES Act funds to defray the $5,995 cost of the study.

A benefit of the feasibility study is that it puts Medina in a better position to fund some of the project through grants. According to Hometown, communities have many ways to get broadband grants, especially when cities, schools, health care organizations and police departments, etc. work together.

The feasibility study will give Medina information on costs, advantages and disadvantages of:

1. Keeping existing internet infrastructure,

2. Funding upgrades to an existing network owned by an internet service provider,

3. Funding the construction of Medina’s own broadband infrastructure without becoming an internet service provider,

4. Other types of technology approaches, such as 5G, satellite technologies, other wireless options and fiber optic-backed copper systems.

 

ORONO TECHNOLOGY REFERENDUM

Orono School Board member Martha Van de Ven stopped by to update the City Council on the Nov. 3 school district technology referendum.

In Minnesota, the state does not provide aid to school districts for technology needs. School districts ask voters to approve technology levies.  

Orono’s technology levy is set to expire in 2021. A total annual levy of $1,039,860 provides the school district with $325 per pupil. Neighboring school districts, such as Wayzata and Minnetonka, have levies that provide from $519 to $1,416 per pupil, according to Orono School District officials.

Orono district residents will find on their Nov. 3 ballots a request from the School Board to replace the current technology levy with a new levy spanning the next 10 years. The owner of a median value home of $400,000 would pay an additional $6.50 per month in property taxes, according to the school district. The proposed authorization would raise roughly $1,988,720 in taxes payable in 2021.

If voters turn down the levy request, technology funding would have to come from the general fund. Technology needs would compete with classroom needs. “The district will be required to make difficult decisions to balance the budget,” said Superintendent Karen Orcutt.

 

OTHER

The City Council also:

APPOINTED Justin Popp to the Planning Commission.

APPROVED a conditional use permit under which Kayla Brugger can instruct clients in fitness and Pilates at her home at 1345 Elsinore Circle.

ADOPTED an ordinance amending regulations for accessory structures, such as sheds.

DIRECTED staff to draft approval documents for Ditter Properties at 2032 – 2052 Holy Name Drive. They include a comprehensive plan amendment, rezoning, preliminary plat and interim use permit. Jim and Tom Ditter propose to subdivide four lots into five lots.

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