September 20, 2016 Minutes

Armatage Neighborhood Association Meeting

Meeting was called to order at 6:35 pm by board president Denis Houle.

ANA board members in attendance: Denis Houle, Ryan Antkowiak, Tara Brown, Sara Emmenecker, Steve Johnson, Bri Keeney, Laurel Luxenberg, & Judy Vecere

Others in attendance: Nikki Lindberg- ANA Coordinator, Stacy Sorenson, Neighborhood Support Specialist, Mike Wilson, CPA, Linea Palmisano, City Council Member, Nikki Frederich- Park Coordinator, & 1 neighbor – Me’Lea Connelly

City Board Survey (Stacy Sorenson, Neighborhood Support Specialist)

  • Requested that we complete a survey intended to help the city understand the demographics and needs of the neighborhood association boards. The survey was anonymous in nature.

Compliance Overview (Mike Wilson, CPA)

  • Mike made us aware of a city-wide accountability initiative. The purpose of the initiative is to verify that neighborhoods are utilizing the public dollars for purposes specific to their intended communicated activities/initiatives and to verify we can continue to qualify for our tax-exempt status. Armatage hasn’t been checked up on in a few years but a more concerted effort will be performed to do so once every three years.
  • Information Return
    • Mike indicated we can (but do not have to) file a 990 Tax Return.
      • He considers this a best practice and will make future audits simple and easy to administer.
    • As an alternative to the form 990, we could file a 990N which is a short form. Should an audit occur we would likely need to take a deeper dive.
    • As a board, we collectively decided filing a 990 Tax Return makes sense as it is relatively easy to complete and will save us time and possible future headaches.
  • Mike will prepare Judy with a checklist of items to be aware of throughout the year so we don’t inadvertently forget to do something or file something by a particular deadline.

Armatage Updates (Linea Palmisano, City Council Member)

  • Indicated that on the Mayor’s Budget Proposal, Armatage was in line to have a 5.5% increase in dollar amount collected by property tax levy. The increase was spurred by cost increases to provide current service level, decrease in local government aid by the state, 20-year roads agreement, and additional spending. This fired up some residents because they felt a 5.5% levy increase was too high. Linea indicated she will continue to have conversations with constituents and will pay very close attention to this in the coming months.
  • Crime Update
    • Crime is down ytd vs. previous years. Additionally, the amount of crime we have relative to the rest of the city is very low.
    • Cautioned us that focusing on the frenzy that is Next Door offers a fairly myopic view on what is truly one of the safest wards in all of MPLS.
  • Neighbor, Me’Lea Connelly, expressed concern about the perception of renters and how she hopes Armatage can work to improve communication and engagement with Armatage renters. She is working towards buying the home in which she rents but she knows other renters feel discriminated against or looked down upon simply because they rent vs. own.
    • Me’Lea and Bri were going to collaborate/share ideas as that is one of Bri’s areas of focus as the Chair of the Engagement Committee.
    • Linea also shared with the group homeline; which is a website promoting advocacy and best practices for renters.
  • Linea will be traveling through the district with the new Director of Public Works, Robin Hutchinson on October 7th. Linea requested feedback on any areas we felt we should draw attention to on the Armatage portion of her tour.
    • One topic which drew some attention was surrounding bike lanes. In many cases, they are adequate for leisure use but unsafe for daily bike commuting. Fragmented throughout the neighborhood which puts bikers at risk when they are in a lane and then the lane disappears.
    • Discussion surrounding heavy traffic at 58th/Xerxes.
    • Frustration with why no crosswalk at 57th/Penn despite a sidewalk coming from the park.
      • Linea addressed this concern by stating a cross walk will only be installed when it is deemed a safe area to cross the street. Since there is no stop sign or street light at 57th/Penn pedestrians should go to the next block when crossing the street.
    • Linea provided an update on the safe routes program which is an initiative to make commonly travelled routes safer for pedestrians. One example of how they improve routes is to install ramps at curb corners.
    • Work continues to be done to lessen the air traffic noise.

Park Update (Nikki Frederich, Park Director)

  • Soccer & Football youth sports are in full swing.
    • 9pm lights off (most nights).
    • 10pm is the latest lights will be on (permission requested in advance of activity).
  • Registration for volleyball begins soon.
  • Winter sports registration in about a month.
    • Basketball available (K-12); typically VERY popular
    • Skating Lessons as well (Tara will be an instructor)
  • Halloween Event scheduled for Friday October 28th (6-8:30pm).
    • Trunk or Treat
      • Will look into Teal Pumpkin as an Allergy Friendly Stop
    • DJ
    • Hayride
    • Fire Pit w/ S’Mores.
    • Pumpkin Carving Contest
  • Park Activities for Toddlers.
    • Friday mornings 10:30-12 beginning in October and running to March
    • Consideration to have something open on Monday evenings as well
  • Fire & Ice is scheduled for January 20, 2017
  • The next monthly Dinner & a Movie is scheduled for October 15th
    • Parents can drop their kids and the kids will eat and watch a movie ($10/child)

Proposed Expenditures (Denis Houle)

  • Denis requested a motion to approve the following expenditures
    • Portable Projection Screen (120’ x 60’ – $199) – approved
    • Tree Lighting (Deciduous – $650-$700) – approved
      • Discussed having a tree-lighting event in tandem with the lighting
      • Trial run as the expense was deemed high by several board members
    • Hydration Station (inside – $850) – approved
    • Park Tent Purchase for the Park ($96) – approved
    • Window Blinds for Multi-Purpose Room ($1,015) – approved
    • Skateboard Lock Up ($380) – denied
    • Reupholstery of community center furniture – Park acquired funding; no motion required
  • Will discuss new park amenities at the next board meeting

Committee Updates

Safety Update (Nikki Lindberg)

  • New inspector to attend our November meeting. Will plan to put on a workshop for block leaders in the new year.
    • Opportunity exists for us to interact with the block leaders which could lead to a more-engaged, synergistic community.

Community Engagement Update (Bri Keeney)

  • 3 initiatives this year
    • Establish an ongoing Happy Hour series
      • Up and running – strong participation at the last happy hour
        • Consideration being given to a bi-monthly happy hour on the 1st Thursday of every odd month.
      • Organics
        • An organic workshop has already occurred
      • Renter Outreach Workshop
        • Three-Part Series being discussed
          • Topics include 1st Time Home Buyer, City Council Renter Resources, Networking/Happy Hour for local renters
        • Bri to collaborate with Me’Lea a local renter whom has expressed a concern an interest in improving renter/owner relations

Summer Festival Update (Nikki Lindberg)

  • The event was well-received by the public. Covered our cost and turned a slight profit (~$600)!
  • For next year, we need to establish a better day-of-event plan as Nikki was spread too thin and couldn’t be everywhere at once. Would prefer to empower people to own certain aspects of the event.
    • Discussed establishing a “checklist” so this can easily be executed by anyone.
  • A general preference by the board to consider a weekend day vs. a Monday evening for next year’s event. While the event was well-attended, changing the date could increase the amount of people who could attend.

Coordinator Update (Nikki Lindberg)

  • Nikki looked into incorporating an “Open Streets” event in Armatage but came away a bit deflated because we’d likely need to partner with an adjacent city since our main roads are busy and border other communities – Edina, Richfield, Linden Hills, Lynnhurst, Kenny).
  • October Newsletter update
    • Will promote Trunk or Treat Event
    • Other ideas to include in newsletter
      • Season Change guide
      • Promote and standardize happy hour schedule
        • 1st Thursday of the Month on every odd month
      • Request to be able to link the Armatage Calendar to outlook, google, etc….
    • Discussion surrounding changing the date of the Armatage Garage Sale
      • Leaning towards the weekend after Memorial Day

Treasurer Update (Judy Vecere)

  • Judy provided a current Revenue & Expense report. The report was thorough and straight-forward. A recent deposit brings the “Funds Available” to approximately 45k.

Denis motioned to adjourn and absolutely everyone seconded. Meeting was adjourned at 8:35 pm.