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Sun Newspapers report on city counsel resolution for DNR

Resolution anything but routine
By Lyn Jerde
Sun Newspapers
(Created 3/18/04 5:05:12 PM)

Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens had just finished telling a group of visiting Boy Scouts that the consent agenda consists of “non-controversial” matters before the Eden Prairie City Council.

Councilmember Phil Young begged to differ.

At Young’s request, the council March 9 took a proposed resolution off the consent agenda a package of proposals that, with unanimous council affirmation, is approved without discussion.

The council can remove items from the consent agenda for separate discussion, and did so with a resolution calling for state funding for open space grants.

Parks and Recreation Director Bob Lambert had requested the council consider a resolution in support of the Natural and Scenic Areas Grant Program (H.F. 2556 and S.F. 2392).

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking for $2.5 million to help municipalities acquire open space and natural resource lands.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has proposed no money for this program.

The council’s resolution was adopted by a 4-1 vote, with Young dissenting it’s called for $4 million.

Before voting, Young said, the council needed to talk ñ not only about the resolution, but also about whether the council should, as a government body, pass resolutions that take a stand on political issues.

“The objective of the funding is laudable,” Young said. “But I have strong reservations about passing resolutions about what the governor or Legislature should do on spending.”

Tyra-Lukens said resolutions typically are the means by which the council takes a stand on legislative proposals that affect cities.

In the past, said Councilmember Ron Case, the council has passed a resolution about issues after laws had already been passed ñ too late to influence the outcome in the Legislature.

“This is exactly the time to address another government body,î he said. ìWe as a city exist at the pleasure of the Legislature, so I believe itís not only appropriate, but critical, that we pass resolutions taking stands on issues.”

In recommending the resolution, Lambert wrote that Eden Prairie might benefit greatly from the grant program.

For example, the money could be used to acquire open space parcels to complete the creek valley trail corridors along Riley and Purgatory creeks.

Also, the Friends of Birch Island Woods had recommended that the resolution call for funding at the $4 million level, Lambert said. That would include $2 million for regional non-metro parks and $2 million for natural and scenic areas.

The Friends of the Birch Island Woods is lobbying for city assistance in the purchase of an additional four acres for Birch Island Woods, on the city’s northwest end.

City Manager Scott Neal said a resolution is required whenever city staff wants to represent to lawmakers that a particular position on an issue has the city's official backing.

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