Minnetrista hears from county commissioner, discusses current ventures

By Nicole Brodzik
[email protected]Minnetrista

One of President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration has struck a chord in southwestern Hennepin County. During his presentation to the Minnetrista City Council, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson said the county could lose federal dollars because of Minneapolis’s position as a sanctuary city and said that could affect people all over Hennepin County.

“That’s been an issue the last few days because of the argument that we are a sanctuary county,” Johnson said. “There’s no real definition. It’s going to depend on what the administration determines it means. The sheriff’s office announced they will not honor (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) retainer requests. They don’t believe it’s constitutional. If the Trump administration goes forward with what they’ve said, we will lose some federal funds.”

The executive order was signed on Jan. 25 by Trump and states that any city that does not comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests would lose federal funding. Because the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department has pledged not to comply with these requests in the past, the county as a whole could be considered a sanctuary county. The county currently receives $198 million dollars in federal funding, but it’s unclear how much of that could be affected.

Councilmember Pam Mortenson said she was concerned about how the loss of funding could affect Minnetrista and said she would in favor of the county honoring ICE requests.

“I do think we should go along with ICE personally,” Johnson said. “I’ve asked we have a board briefing. We’ll have to make a decision about whether we’re willing to give up that money or not. Until then, we’ve got potential financial issues.”

Mortenson also asked how people can have their voices heard if they aren’t in Minneapolis or working at the county level.

“People should get in touch with their county commissioners, for anyone here would be me,” Johnson said. “The other way is through the ballot box.”

Looking at local funds, the council discussed updated service agreements for the water treatment plant and Enchanted Lane/Tuxedo Boulevard projects.

There were multiple additions to the water treatment plant projects, including a door security system, that required a vote by the council to approve. The new service order asked for $79,264.00 to pay Knutson Construction for the services needed. The council approved that motion 3-0, as Councilmembers Patricia Thoele and Michael Molitor were absent.

City Engineer Paul Hornby also presented a professional services agreement to the council for the Enchanted Lane and Tuxedo Road Improvement Project.

“We’ll do the design, advertise for bids and bring bids back to the council for the award,” he said. “The council can either award or reject bid. If that is awarded, there will be another construction process I can explain to you then.”

The total for this first process of completing the project had a price tag of $76,700 to fund the preparation of specifications and bidding services. The total cost of the project was estimated at $876,300.

The council also appointed alternates to the Parks Commission and Planning Commission. The council appointed commission chairs back in January and will have alternates to serve as back ups for commissioners who are sick or on vacation. Sarah Hussien was chosen as the Parks Commission alternate and Justin Forbrook was chosen as the Planning commission alternate.

The next city council meeting will be on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. Minnetrista city offices will be closed for President’s Day on Feb. 20.