Greetings Neighbors,

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season and are staying warm as winter settles in.

A few transitions for our City team…. Shari Hansen, one of our City Council members, resigned effective 1/1/24. Shari has been a champion for environmental concerns and an optimistic, compassionate voice on the Council.  Although we regret her departure, we are happy for her upcoming adventures sailing the world with her husband, Paul. We wish them bon voyage, and fun and safe travels. Ginny Beckett, a long serving member of the Planning Commission, will join the Council to serve out Shari’s term. On behalf of SFL, I express a huge “thank you” to both Shari and Ginny for their dedication to public service and to our SFL community.

Another change in the new year is that Ann Lanoue, our City Treasurer for the past 10 years, has resigned to have more time to enjoy family and favorite endeavors. The Council expresses our gratitude to Ann for her contributions over the years and for supporting our recent and successful financial audit. Char Stark, the Finance Director for West St. Paul, will add the part-time duties of SFL City Treasurer to her current role. The Council is appreciative of this cooperative effort with West St. Paul, and we thank their Mayor and City Administrator for this support and collaboration. Char brings strong credentials to the Treasurer role, and we are pleased to have her on board.

A few notes on City business…. Christy Wilcox, our City Clerk, has started the somewhat daunting task of digitizing all past SFL records. We were able to seize the opportunity to utilize ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds to defray some of the costs associated with this necessary project. We hope to have this effort completed by year-end. Work has also started on updating City Ordinances to streamline content and reduce inconsistencies. ARPA funds will also defray some costs for this project.

Like all metro communities, SFL experiences its share of air traffic noise given we have the benefit of a close-in airport serving the metropolitan area. The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) Noise Oversight Committee (NOC) is an advisory board to the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) and is comprised of industry and community representatives with the express purpose of addressing air traffic noise issues. The NOC Committee has developed an excellent reputation throughout the U.S. for working closely with the FAA to abate noise whenever possible. I serve on this committee on behalf of SFL.

Recently, the FAA has installed RNAV (area navigation) systems in most U.S. airports. It is a more precise way of directing air traffic and it will be installed at MSP in 2025. Typically, the FAA establishes RNAV procedures with minimal input from affected residents. The NOC has negotiated with the FAA to allow affected resident input regarding flight distribution patterns. The recent “draft RNAV procedures” place an inequitable burden on Sunfish Lake and a few other metro communities.  The SFL Council is working closely with the NOC to ensure the NOC’s recommendation to the FAA will be to distribute flight paths more equitably among all affected Metropolitan communities. It will be important for SFL residents to appear at virtual and in-person meetings to express their concerns about the RNAV procedures. These upcoming meetings will be held in 2024 and notification will be posted well in advance on the City’s website homepage under the category, “Latest on the Airport.” Please support this effort by bringing your voice to the discussion as this is an important concern for all in our community.

As always, the Council welcomes input from residents so we hope to see you or hear from you as we all seek to maintain our great community environment.

Stay well and have a great winter season.

Dan O’Leary