Tale of two counties

Hanover Mayor Chris Kauffman, left, swears in Ken Warpula, right, as a new council member. Warpula will be serving Kauffman’s remaining two years of his original council term after he was elected mayor in November. (Photo by Doug Voerding)

Hanover Mayor Chris Kauffman, left, swears in Ken Warpula, right, as a new council member. Warpula will be serving Kauffman’s remaining two years of his original council term after he was elected mayor in November. (Photo by Doug Voerding)

Hanover inquires about leaving Hennepin County

It’s not too common in most cities, but it is in Hanover — belonging to two separate counties.

The Hanover City Administrator inquired with Hennepin County Board Commissioner Jeff Johnson about the possibility of making Hanover an entirely Wright County city.

 

COUNTIES

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson was present with an update about the board and the Hennepin County budget.

With the commissioner in attendance, interim city administrator Bob Derus asked Johnson about the possibility of Hanover becoming a one-county city. As two-thirds of its residents live on the Wright County side of the Crow River, Derus said Hanover is interested in the entire city being in Wright County.

Reached later, accountant/deputy clerk Anita Smythe said there are efficiency and cost motives for becoming a one-county city.

“We have a lot of duplicate work due to being in two counties, like elections and state reporting,” she said. “It can be expensive once you start adding up the duplicate services. We were just getting (Johnson’s) take.”

Johnson said it can be a fairly lengthy process involving both counties and the state legislature. One major concern is loss of property tax wealth by Hennepin County. Smythe said one proposal could be to phase in county incorporation so the property tax hit doesn’t come all at once.

“It’s something that would make sense for Hanover to pursue,” Smythe said. “But it sounded like it could take some time.”

There was no further action taken regarding this issue, but Johnson said he wouldn’t be opposed to looking into the matter in the future.

 

OFFICE REMODEL

In other news, the council approved a city hall office remodeling project.

The council has been discussing this topic for three or four meetings with a lot of public feedback. The council ended up awarding the project to the low quote belonging to Crow-Hassan Builders in the amount of $21,000. This is a budgeted expense from a transfer for city hall.

The current accountant/clerk room at the front of the building will be configured into the main office, with a larger window that will allow staff to help more than one customer at a time. The existing office reception area would be configured into city offices. The existing administrator’s office in the back will become a new conference room and break area.

“We’re getting ready to move stuff out of here by the end of the week,” deputy clerk/accountant Smthe said.

Construction is starting Feb. 18 pending building inspection.

 

STAGE

In further matters, the council approved a new stage for the city hall chambers and community room.

The existing stage is attached to the wall and will be removed to allow more space. The new stage can be folded out and is portable; for example, allowing more flexibility for use of the room by community groups and wedding receptions.

The public works staff will be working on getting an order for the approximately $3,000 project.

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