Minneapolis could see $300 million swing in stadium contribution

At the Strib, Eric Roper and Mike Kaszuba do what they can to explain the effect of increased tax revenue on the city’s contribution to a new Vikings stadium: “Mayor R.T. Rybak’s administration has said the city’s contribution of local sales taxes to a new stadium on the Metrodome site will amount to approximately $338 million for capital and operations over 30 years, or $675 million when including interest costs. But a provision in the stadium bill raises that figure if the local economy booms. The city’s contribution could reach $890 million if tax revenue grows by 5 percent each year for 30 years, based on a Star Tribune analysis of figures provided by the city’s chief financial officer, Kevin Carpenter. In that scenario, the city would also be left with more money to spend on the convention center and economic development. Conversely, the city’s contribution could fall to $592 million if the taxes stay flat.”

The idea of taking the stadium topless was greeted with “withering scorn,” as Patrick Condon of the AP describes it: “GOP leaders called for shrinking the proposed $400 million state contribution by an unspecified amount, eliminating the stadium’s roof and paying for it with state general bonds rather than tax money from an expansion of legal gambling. The proposal earned withering scorn from Dayton even before the GOP unveiled it. The Democratic governor called a news conference to blast Republican leaders after hearing third-hand of what he called ‘secret meetings’ with the Vikings. He described their proposal as ‘fooling around’ and demanded up-or-down House and Senate votes on the original plan.” If this were a team sport, the manager would call a closed clubhouse meeting and do some righteous screaming.

More of this would solve a lot of problems … David Shaffer of the Strib reports: “Three Minnesota electric cooperatives said Tuesday that they hope to flatten some of ups and downs of power demand with “smart grid” technology. A $5 million demonstration project, funded half by the co-ops and half by the U.S. Energy Department, will pay for software to better track and manage demand. In about 130 households, co-ops will test battery storage technology and variable pricing to reduce peak power use. … the co-op will seek 100 volunteer households to sign up for ‘dynamic pricing’ in which their electricity will be billed at the actual, constantly changing price from the grid. These customers will get in-house data displays allowing them to track demand and price. Those who can shift some power use — by charging electric cars or running dishwashers on overnight timers, for example — stand to benefit from nighttime electric rates that can be nearly two-thirds lower than in the day. The project also will pay for battery storage units in about 30 homes, with the goal of testing whether such technology offers a benefit to customers or the utility.”

Remember Brett Favre? Remember him sexting while wearing Crocs? He’s going to have to testify about that sort of thing. Aaron Rupar of City Pages writes: “Break out your most comfortable pair of Wranglers and take a seat. This should be fun to watch. Brett Favre will soon have to testify under oath about racy text messages he allegedly sent to two female former New York Jets employees in the fall of 2008. Christine Scavo and Shannon O’Toole claim they lost their jobs as masseuses for the NFL team after Scavo’s husband called Favre to confront him about the sexting and warned him to leave the women alone. Last month, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling refused to dismiss the civil lawsuit the women filed against Favre, the Jets, and Lisa Ripi, a team employee who supervised Scavo and O’Toole, meaning Favre will have to testify during the upcoming trial.”

Sex offender inmates have rights, and the St. Peter Hospital, despite all its other problems, has rules. Madeleine Baran of MPR explains: “An employee at the Minnesota Security Hospital engaged in “emotional abuse” by calling a sex offender patient a “rapist,” according to an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Human Services licensing division. The patient, who has been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, depression, and substance abuse, told licensing investigators that the comment brought back ‘bad memories,’ according to an investigative memorandum issued by the licensing division on April 25. … The employee denied the allegation during an interview with a licensing investigator, but acknowledged telling other employees that the patient was ‘being a jerk’ to her, according to the memorandum. The patient often ‘targeted’ the employee, another staff person told investigators, and called the employee names, swore at her, followed her, ‘poked’ her, and threatened her. [Department of Health Service deputy commissioner Anne] Barry said the facility does not allow employees to use terms like ‘rapist’ when discussing patients, regardless of whether a patient has been convicted of sexual assault.” It is kind of hard to say you’ve been called worse than “a rapist.”

Also at MPR, Elizabeth Baier reports that the three months are up and it’s fair game to resume silica sand mining down by Winona: “Winona County’s three-month moratorium on silica sand mining expires today and officials there expect to receive permit applications for new operations as early as mid-week. The county has the shortest of nine local moratoriums in southeastern Minnesota that have temporarily blocked silica sand mining in the region. In the last three months, county officials have put together an application packet for prospective applicants, developed criteria for environmental impact studies and approved a road-use agreement that makes mining companies pay for road damages, said Jason Gilman, director of Winona County’s Planning and Environmental Services. Southern Minnesota is particularly strategic for its deposits of silica sand, which is used to extract fuel and gas from underground rock, in the process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.”

Also, remember the brawling Wisconsin supremes? The AP has a story saying: “The Wisconsin Supreme Court justice who broke up a struggle between colleagues David Prosser and Ann Walsh Bradley agreed Tuesday to recuse herself from Prosser’s discipline case. Justice Pat Roggensack released a 14-page memo Tuesday, May 1, explaining her decision, saying she is a material witness and must recuse herself according to state law.”

At the PiPress’ aptly-named “City Hall Scoop” blog, the post says: “Woof woof! The Scoop’s spies at City Hall say an official announcement on a new dog park by the High Bridge power plant could be just a couple weeks away. The Parks and Recreation Department is awaiting official council approval on May 16, but if an agreement with Xcel Energy goes through, they’ll put a fence in and host a grand opening on May 31. There could be a ‘soft opening’ even sooner. Hey, restaurants do it. Why not dog parks?”

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has raised a boatload of money to protect himself from the upcoming recall election, and a lot of that cash comes from folks with a boat or two to spare. The AP’s Todd Richmond writes: “Scott Walker’s fan list reads like a who’s who of some of the richest people in America — financial gurus, a Las Vegas casino president, even an NBA team owner. And they came up big for the embattled governor, taking advantage of a quirk in state law to help Walker shatter Wisconsin political fundraising records as he faces a pair of recall elections this spring. Walker set the record for a state office with $12.1 million raised last year. Campaign finance records filed Monday show he has already easily surpassed that this year, raising $13.1 million between Jan. 18 and last week. He spent nearly $11 million and had almost $4.9 million in the bank. His biggest donor was Diane M. Hendricks, founder of Beloit-based American Builders and Contractors Supply Co. Inc. Forbes estimates she’s worth $2.8 billion. She gave the governor $500,000. … The next two biggest donors were Sheldon Adelson, chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Sands casino, and Richard DeVos, owner of the Orlando Magic basketball team and co-founder of the Amway Corp. … Both gave Walker $250,000.” You gotta love the smell of grass roots in the morning.

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 05/02/2012 - 09:08 am.

    stop the world, i want to get off..

    as least as it relates to DHS & St. Peter Hospital. Sometimes, government just makes itself indefensible.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 05/02/2012 - 11:23 am.

    I Can’t Help But Wonder What Gov. Walker’s Big Donors

    are buying with those donations.

    I strongly suspect it’s not better, more efficient, more responsive government aimed at building prosperity for the citizens of Wisconsin in fair and even-handed ways.

    I suspect that, if he actually retains his office, Gov. Walker’s next move will be to create “free trade zones” throughout Wisconsin, where outside investors can build manufacturing facilities which will be unencumbered by all forms of taxation, regulation, and interference by organized labor.

    In doing so, he’d finally be able to create all those jobs he promised (instead of LOSING jobs as Wisconsin has been doing since he took office), but of course those jobs would have no benefits and the wages would be so low that mom, dad, and all the kids would have to work seven days a week just to be able to keep a dilapidated roof over their heads and eat ramen noodles three meals a day.

  3. Submitted by Brian Nelson on 05/02/2012 - 01:57 pm.

    Silica Sand

    It’s a shame that sand mining not getting the attention is deserves. First of all, mining companies like WIndsor Permian, have no problem knocking down the scenic bluffs of SE MN for the silica sand–which is sometimes priced as high as $1400 a ton. Some of these mines use as much as 350 million gallons of ground water a day for cleaning and processing the sand. They also use very toxic chemicals in this process and it may well end up in the groundwater. It is no secret that the heavy trucks used by these companies will damage local roads to be repaired at the expense of local governments–Winona county may or may not be exception.

    Most of these companies use their own employees and truckers and since a company like Windsor Permian is a subsidiary of a much larger Fracking/Oil/Energy company there is no sale of the sand and revenue for the state. Furthermore, the sale of property to these companies dooms the remaining neighboring landowners to plummeting land values. The dust from silica sand is also a known carcinogen.

    Lastly, the expansion of these mines threatens hundreds of miles of trout streams which the DNR and local organizations have spent millions of dollars improving and gaining angler easements which provide access to fishing. Millions of dollars in revenues to local businesses from tourism are at risk. Silica sand mining is inevitable, but it must be regulated and kept in check

  4. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/02/2012 - 03:28 pm.

    Or, more likely

    cities and towns will be able to negotiate the retirement plans and benefit packages of their union employees without bankrupting the local taxpayers.

    A small thing, I know.

  5. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 05/02/2012 - 05:00 pm.

    Or more surely

    The corporations will make a fortune and then leave the cleanup to taxpayers. Including you, Mr. Tester?

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