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Ramsey County is planning a new environmental service center in Roseville to make it easier for residents to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost.

The center will be on a 5-acre site at 1700 Kent St. and include recycling and drop-off for household hazardous waste and electronics. A free product reuse room and space for fix-it clinics and environmental education also are planned.

"The center is part of Enhancing Environmental Health Services, an initiative to redesign and add recycling and waste disposal services to better meet community needs," according to a county statement.

Open houses this fall will offer opportunities for the community to learn more and provide feedback. The county has issued a request for proposals seeking a construction manager and design teams.

Shannon Prather


District holds info sessions ahead of referendum vote

Osseo Area Schools will host two information sessions to answer questions about two funding requests the district has placed on the November ballot.

District staff will host sessions at 6 p.m. Oct. 4 at Park Center High School in Brooklyn Park and Oct. 18 at Maple Grove High School.

The district is asking voters for permission to raise its operating levy by $7 million annually to fund individualized learning, academic interventions, student mental health needs and other "critical classroom supports."

A second question will ask voters for an additional $2.3 million annually to maintain technology systems and support staff, increase school safety and security technology and create digital learning spaces.

If both requests are approved, the tax impact on the average homeowner would be less than $9 a month, the district said. If the measures fail, the district said it will need to cut $5 million from its budget for the 2023-24 school year. That number could rise to $49 million in 2024-25 if the existing levies set to expire are not renewed.

Tim Harlow

Prior Lake

City's proposed budget includes full-time fire department

Prior Lake's 13.35% tax levy increase for 2023 provides funding for a full-time fire department, which would include the hiring of 12 full-time firefighters.

"It represents a huge chunk [of the levy increase]," said Mayor Kirt Briggs. "We need to do this for the safety of the community."

Just under half of the money from the levy increase would go toward transitioning away from the department's paid on-call model, a change city officials say is needed to keep up with the community's growth and increases in call volume. The city has also been struggling with recruitment and retention of firefighters.

Officials are waiting to see if the city will receive funding from the federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program. The proposed levy increase and budget assume the city will not get the grant, Briggs said — if the money does come through, the budget and levy will be adjusted and the city can start hiring as soon as Jan. 1.

The grant covers 100% of the costs of transitioning to a full-time department for the first three years, about $1.5 million per year, said City Manager Jason Wedel. The city will still have some on-call firefighters after the transition, he said.

In addition to serving Prior Lake, the fire department contracts to provide services for Credit River and Spring Lake townships.

Erin Adler