WHPS officer retires after 28 years
The Independence City Council Tuesday, April 23, proclaimed April 30 as a special day for Sgt. Todd Boelter, of West Hennepin Public Safety (WHPS). On that day he ended a 28-year career in law enforcement.
Boelter served with the Winsted and Minnetrista Police Departments and then went on to spend 25 years in a WHPS uniform. He arrived at WHPS on Aug. 22, 1988. In his first year there he saved the lives of two people in a house fire. In the following years, he took on a number of roles, including patrol officer, investigator, DARE instructor and member of the Southwest Narcotics Task Force and West Metro Drug Task Force.
Many federal, state and local agencies have presented him with awards. He received recognition from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Minnesota State Chiefs Association, Minnesota State Association of Narcotics Investigation and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office. Also, he received “countless letters of appreciation for public service,” according to a proclamation signed by City Council members.
“We commend Sgt. Boelter for his commitment to keeping our community and citizens safe and wish him the very best in his retirement,” the proclamation says.
Well wishers came to an April 30 open house for Boelter at Independence City Hall and also toasted him at a retirement dinner at B’s on the River in Watertown.
At the City Council meeting, the council also took up other business. Here are some meeting highlights.
SENIOR HOUSING HELP FOR CHASKA
The City Council gave preliminary approval to lending Independence’s tax exempt status to the city of Chaska and the Legends of Hazeltine for part of the financing for construction of a 125 unit progressive senior living community in the city of Chaska.
Attorney John Utley, of Kennedy and Graven, explained how this would work. Under state law, a city can act as a conduit for nonprofit organizations to issue certain types of revenue bonds, in this case, senior housing. Each year a city legally can do bank qualified borrowing for up to $10 million worth of bonds per year for its own needs. The city can loan its tax exempt status to a nonprofit for up to that amount but this means that the $10 million of tax exempt borrowing would not be available for city needs.
The city of Chaska already is planning to issue debt this year, and Independence has no plans for this type of borrowing in 2013, Utley said. For this reason Chaska asked Independence to act as a conduit. Independence would not be responsible for any of the debt, and, according to state law, the city is not allowed to use its financial resources for paying back the debt — even if the Legends were to have financial problems.
In short, Independence would not incur any financial risk by acting as a conduit for housing revenue bonds for the Legends, Utley said. In return for loaning its tax exempt status, Independence would receive a fee of $105,000.
The $105,000 fee would not be the only reason for Independence to help with the Legends project. Once built, the senior living community would provide housing for Independence residents wanting to continue living in the area. The Legends would be located on 6.71 acres bounded on the west by Highway 41, on the south by Hazeltine Boulevard, on the north by city of Chaska golf course and on the east by the Hazeltine Gates office building.
Plans for the Legends call for approximately 35 independent-living units, 67 assisted-living units and 23 memory-care units. Ridgeview Medical Center and Intergenerational Living & Health Care Inc. are partners in the project and are planning to borrow $28 million for constructing and equipping the facility.
Independence Mayor Marvin Johnson said that the city has had good experience while acting as a bonding conduit. Independence loaned its tax exempt status to a housing project in Brooklyn Park that proved to be “extremely popular.”
Utley said that since then the Brooklyn Park project has expanded and is doing well.
The City Council accepted the audit report of its 2012 finances after hearing from Auditor Dennis Hoogeveen, of Larson/Allen. The report gave Independence a clean, unqualified opinion — the best opinion the city can receive.
Hoogeveen said that for the past five years, the city’s revenues have been higher than its expenses. “This is a good indicator that the city has been diligent about watching its bottom line,” he said.
Also, Independence had a 54 percent fund balance at the end of 2012, making it possible for the city to cover the first seven months of expenses in 2013, Hoogeveen said. This is a “good outcome” because it enables Independence to pay its bills while waiting to receive property tax payments.
He also said that delinquent property taxes were down over previous years for Independence residents. Building construction activity increased. In 2011 eight new homes were constructed in Independence, and in 2012 activity increased to 10 new homes and two commercial buildings.
City Councilor Brad Spencer said agencies concerned with the watersheds for Lakes Sarah and Independence are making progress in getting grant money for an analysis of ways to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering the two lakes.
The Hennepin Conservation District has allocated $18,000 in Clean Water Legacy Funds for the study. Scientists and engineers would identify specific projects and help the agencies apply for grants to fund the projects.