July 9, 2013 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Board Meeting Minutes
July 9, 2013 – 5:30 p.m., Bakken Museum

Board Members:  Kathy Cobb, Meg Forney, Ian Kees, Gary Knutson, Richard Logan, David Rhees, Aaron Shaffer, Mary Underwood, John Abraham-Watne.  Staff:  Rhea Sullivan.  In attendance:  Rodgers Adams, Katie Eiser, Matt Perry and Stephen Wilson.

Secretary’s Report:  The June 11 Board meeting and June 27 retreat minutes were both approved as read.

Treasurer’s Report:  Treasurer John Abraham-Watne reported that there is a $12,036.20 balance in the NCEC account and a $1,562.93 balance in the NRP account.  

Katie Eiser (Whole Foods Market):  Katie spoke about the proposed Volunteer Clean-Up in partnership with Whole Foods.  Her goal is to have 55 people (families) to help and 5 team members.  Rhea suggested that we clean the Greenway since we have adopted the Greenway.  We could also clean up the Access Point park.  Richard suggested we also consider an area near the Minikahda Club that needs cleaning.  September 14, 2013 was selected as the date.  Time will be 10 a.m. -12 p.m. for the clean-up with lunch at Whole Foods from 12-1 p.m.   Whole Foods would like to sort the trash into recyclables, compostables and trash.  Katie will put together registration for the event and put it up on a website.  Rhea will check into details with the Midtown Greenway Coalition.  At the end of the discussion, David Rhees presented Katie with the Whole Foods Good Neighbor Award to thank them for their sponsorship of WCNC events over the years.

Stephen Wilson (Xcel Energy):  There has been talk about Minneapolis starting our own electric utility.  Municipal Energy Options is the group that is advocating for a municipal electrical system.  Xcel Energy wants us to stay with Xcel.  Stephen presented the case for Xcel.  If we follow the municipal model, the city would have to buy the system.  The City would be responsible for outages and construction.  The City Council will determine the price of electricity and the energy sources.  There would be limited state oversight.  Currently the state determines energy, policy and performance standards and helps to regulate price.  It would be a complex process to separate the utility from the existing system and the costs would be borne by Minneapolis customers.  They are currently doing a feasibility study on setting up a municipal system.  The feasibility study probably won’t be done until January or February, but Municipal Energy Options wants to put the issue on the ballot before the study is done.  Stephen encouraged us to contact our City Council person or to speak at the public hearings on August 1.  We will invite Minneapolis Energy Options to speak at our September Board meeting.

Jeff Washburne (City of Lakes Community Land Trust):  Jeff explained that what CLCLT does is assist households that would not be able to afford a home to buy a home.  CLCLT started in 2002 and assisted in the first home purchases in 2004.  Today there are 160+ CLCLT homeowners and there have been 20 resales.  They have help 20 homeowners to purchase condos using a 30-year deed restriction.  He would like to work with us on any new developments to talk to the developers about making some units affordable.  He did say that association fees could be a concern.  He asked for a letter of support of CLCLT.  The Board approved a letter of support.  

Request for letter re: deep tunneling:  Art Higinbotham of CIDNA requested that WCNC send a letter of support for a deep bore tunnel in the Kenilworth Corridor.  Aaron felt there was a lot of optimism in the letter.  He’s wondering where they will get the funds, especially since there will likely be impacts that may require rebuilding the Lake Street bridge.  There is another group that is supporting a feasibility study (Do LRT Right) of the tunnel.  WCNC decided not to take a position at this time.

Retreat Follow-Up:  The Board decided to schedule another retreat to follow-up on the first retreat.  Rhea will work to schedule a date in September.  The Board requested that Rhea go through the minutes from the retreat and extract a list of projects.  Ian stated that Boards seem to be informational or project based.  So far this seems like a mostly informational Board.  It is easier to engage people if you have projects with clear objectives.  We may want to start doing an annual event and get volunteers involved in the planning.  Matt Perry said that in East Harriet they started a festival to get people volunteering and doing something as a community together.  One of the problems is that we have tried to do many projects unsuccessfully.  Will our strategies get people out – motivate people to be involved?  We do have a lot of knowledge about light rail and have influenced it.  Perhaps there could be a Light Rail Committee that could provide recommendations.  

Next meeting:  Our next meeting will be Tuesday, September 10.  

The meeting was adjourned at 7:32 p.m.