St. Boni city assessors resign

By Emily Hedges

The St. Boni City Council voted to accept the resignation of City Assessors Michael Schachterle and Michael Sheplee during its regular meeting on April 3. The move comes after Hennepin County recently denied St. Boni city assessments due to errors involving single-family detached homes, which have pulled building permits since 2007.
Schachterle and Sheplee submitted a letter of resignation effective Sept. 30, 2013. According to the letter, the decision was driven by “age, health (for Schachterle) and available time to conform to the county’s new, unexpected, and wide ranging demands being put on all local assessors for their upcoming systems conversion and implementation.”
The council was hoping that a joint meeting between city and county assessors scheduled for April 10 would answer many of the questions surrounding the issue Mayor Rick Weible characterized as “a mess.” He did share with the council his belief that the net delta difference across the city will be about $10,000.
“They may ask St. Boni to do a complete reappraisal of entire city. I told them I’m not comfortable with that,” said Weible. “In a three-year window, up to half of our city could be audited twice.”
Due to inclement weather, the April 10 meeting was cancelled. It is unclear when the meeting would be rescheduled.
While most cities choose to have county assessors also serve as the city assessor, the St. Boni council believes this to be a conflict of interest. The council believes an outside contract assessor is quicker to respond to the questions and needs of residents, and that it allows the city to manage the assessment process.
Schachterle and Sheplee intend to complete the reappraisal work currently in progress with Hennepin County, and will participate in the Local Board of Appeal meetings as required. They recommended Dan Whitman as a qualified replacement assessor, according to their contract with the city that states that the agreement may be terminated upon 180 days written notice if they identify a qualified replacement. While the council was impressed with Whitman’s resume, they plan to open the position up for applications.

In other business, the council:
• The Minnetrista Police Department is close to hiring a replacement for an officer who recently left the department.  Weible reported that 167 applications were received. They hope to have the new officer on board by May or June.
• Weible reported that construction on the roundabout planned for King’s Point Road and Highway 7 is expected to begin in June. The official detour during the estimated three months on construction will be Hwy 25 to Co. Rd. 41 to Hwy. 7.
• Weather stations are installed at the St. Boni Fire Station. A public web address is soon to be released that will allow residents to see the data.
• Approved submitted plans for an MnDOT-Dakota Trail park and ride lot. The proposed project consists of a 25-stall parking lot adjacent to the Dakota Trail near the intersection of Kennedy Memorial Drive and Bell Street.
• Voted to appoint Thomas Schufman to the Planning Commission.