The Maple Grove City Council was presented with an award for being a top city in the U.S. during its meeting Monday, Nov. 5.
The council also received an update from Xcel Energy about recent power outages.
Here are some of the meeting’s highlights.
City Administrator Al Madsen made a presentation to the council regarding the city being named the No. 22 city of the 100 Top Places to Live in America by CNN Money Magazine.
The process is an extensive project and process, Madsen said. “CNN contacted us and asked for wide range of information, we provided that,” he added. “They then asked for more information, we provided that. This went on month after month.”
CNN examines a city’s credit rating (Maple Grove’s is AAA), crime rates, housing stock for all income levels, quality of the educational system, good transportation system, local government stability (council works as a team), medical services (Maple Grove Hospital), growth management, business, involvement by citizens through various boards and commissions, quality of life/recreational activities.
“We are extremely pleased that they did select Maple Grove as the 22 Best Place in American to Live in our population category,” Madsen said. “We were in competition with a lot of heavy hitters. This is quite an honor for us to achieve.”
Madsen then presented an award plaque to Mayor Mark Steffenson and the rest of the City Council members.
Councilor Karen Jaeger said, “Without you [Madsen] and our staff, we couldn’t have done our job either. Ninety percent of this should go to staff.”
XCEL ENERGY UPDATE
The council heard from representatives from Xcel Energy.
Administrator Madsen said the city has had extensive power outages within the last few months. One of these outages impacted the Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club area.
“I’ve asked representatives from Xcel to be with us to, not necessarily about the outages, but to talk how they plan to handle their operation for a continuing growth,” Madsen said.
Xcel representative Philip Spaulding said there has been a lot of load growth in the city over the years.
There is a project planned, which would be to add on to the Elm Creek substation, near Maple Grove Senior High. This station currently has two transformers. The third transformer is currently being added. A fourth could be added in the future when it’s needed.
Spaulding added Xcel would like to work with the city in knowing what the city’s plans are for future growth, including future Hwy. 610 being completed.
Councilor Jaeger said the city has experienced so many power outages and they were very expensive.
Madsen said he believed the last two outages were the result of cable failure issues.
The second Xcel representative said the outage occurred when an underground cable fault was impacted and a switch gear opened up. The representative said it took longer to trouble shoot and find where the fault was.
Councilor Jaeger asked, “Who pays for the all product lost, time lost? Do the companies have to pay for that themselves?”
Xcel said the companies do, but there is a claims department.
Madsen added that most companies have insurance to offset losses.
Councilor Erik Johnson asked if and when electronic boards are tested. Xcel representatives said they are tested, but not routinely.
In other action, the council:
HEARD about a future Hwy. 610 public open house set for Tuesday, Dec. 11, from 3:30 to 6 p.m.,
ACCEPTED a donation of $2,273.49 from the Maple Grove Lions Club to the Maple Grove Police Department. The donation will be used to purchase an elliptical machine for the police department’s fitness room.
APPROVED the Maple Grove Transit 2013 Operating Budget of $4.766 million in total expenses. This is a 2.78 percent increase over the 2012 budget. The increase is due to the hourly rate increases in the operating agreements with the contracted providers.