Technology Superhero

A robust, reliable and secure information technology system is a key ingredient to the success of any organization. The City of Eden Prairie is no different. Our superb Information Technology Division is managed by our IT Manager Aditi Salunke.

Aditi is currently being featured by the League of Minnesota Cities in a Cities Matter program that features different professions in local government and is now on display at the Minnesota State Fair. If you cannot make it out to the State Fair, you can read about Aditi’s city “superpowers” right here:

 Develop and maintain computer systems and applications. Be responsible for network safety. Help cities make smart decisions about technology to help the city run even better.

Aditi Salunke, information technology manager, Eden Prairie

Why she shows up every day: This job really is so much fun, because it’s something new every single day. One day you’re working on a public safety application, and another day you’re working with parks and recreation. Then someone in public works needs your help, or the community development staff needs assistance … everybody is your user, and that variety is rare to find anywhere else. When I’m out and about in the community I’m proud to think, “Yep, this is something that my team helped with,” or “this is something my co-workers worked really hard to accomplish,” and I can see all the effort they have put in being appreciated by people in my neighborhood and my community.

How she got the job (and how you could too): I have a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, and I worked in healthcare information technology for about 12 years before I decided to switch to Eden Prairie. I think my motivation was to work in the city I live in. I have lived in Eden Prairie for the last 12 years and have always been fascinated by city government. So, as soon as the opportunity came up, I applied for a position at the city. I was fairly confident that I would be able to use my experiences from previous positions in the private and nonprofit sectors and apply them to make a difference here. I’m very happy I took this opportunity!

What’s the job like? We take care of IT infrastructure for the city—we have varying technology requirements across various city departments. For example we work to ensure applications, phones, workstations etc. for public safety (police and fire) are robust and 24-7, because they are 24-7. Departments such as public works, community development, parks and recreation also have several applications that allow city staff to interact with the community in various ways—such as phone, email, the city website, the SeeClickFix app for reporting issues, and many others. The challenges come from providing the best quality of services while staying within what your budget allows you to do. The information technology department is a small group, and everybody gets to learn and work in help desk support, security, network, applications support, and more. There are no silos—we work together, and I think that in itself is quite unique.

Top 10 List for Backyard Chickens in EP

Last Thursday, July 20 was the first official day Eden Prairie residents could apply to have backyard chickens on their property. The City Council passed a second reading of an ordinance allowing backyard chickens in Eden Prairie July 11 that became effective last Thursday. The eventual adoption of an ordinance allowing backyard chickens followed more than two years of discussion, analysis and community feedback.

I am now providing a top 10 list of Eden Prairie backyard chicken facts for those interested in having backyard chickens or for those who just want to be informed about this new program.

Here they are:

  1. You must submit an application and have the City inspect your property prior to obtaining chickens. There is a one-time fee of $75 for this application/registration [PDF]
  2. Roosters are not permitted
  3. Properties may have up to four (4) chickens
  4. Chicken-keeping structures are only permitted in the back yard (no structures in front or side yards)
  5. Structures must be setback a minimum of 10 feet from any property line and 50 feet from any neighboring home
  6. Coops must have a solid roof and their construction must be done in a workmanlike manner utilizing durable materials that offer adequate insulation, ventilation and protection from all natural weather elements, predators, rodents and other pests; a building permit from the City of Eden Prairie is required for any structure over 200 square feet
  7. Structures shall be maintained in a reasonably clean and sanitary condition
  8. Noise and odor associated with chickens are not permitted outside of the boundaries of the premises
  9. Chickens may not be slaughtered on the premises
  10. First-time chicken keepers are strongly encouraged to educate themselves before undertaking the hobby; websites that may be helpful in reaching a decision include backyardchickens.com and chickenrunrescue.org

Sunday Liquor Sales Have Begun

I have previously written about our city liquor operations and the possibility of Sunday sales. That possibility is now here, as the first Sunday liquor sale in Minnesota in over 150 years occurred this past Sunday, July 2.

All three of our city stores were open at 11 am.  This video captures the first few sales of the day.

The video certainly speaks to the modern day convenience of being open on Sundays.  Sunday is definitely a day when many of us complete our various errands and shopping trips.

However, from a business standpoint many operators feel that being open on Sundays will simply spread 6 days of business over 7 days.  Therefore, the cost of doing business on the 7th day will exceed the revenue gained from being open that extra day. A report from the Minnesota Department of Revenue estimates that retail sales would only increase 0.5 percent if Sunday purchases were allowed. However, another study says that by allowing Sunday sales, it is estimated that Minnesota sales volume would increase by 5 to 7 percent annually.  And another study even mentions double-digit growth.

Now I can say we will find out the true number, as Sunday sales are now legal and we (along with other municipal liquor stores) will be tracking and reporting on all of these sales.

Finally, to promote Sunday sales we are offering an “I Love EP” T-shirt with any $60 purchase on Sunday (while supplies last) at any of our three Eden Prairie Liquor stores.

Aspire Eden Prairie 2040

Comprehensive planning is a process that determines community goals and aspirations in terms of community development. Cities across the country use comprehensive plans to dictate public policy in terms of transportation, utilities, land use, recreation, and housing.

The City of Eden Prairie has kicked off a multiyear planning process to update its Comprehensive Plan — Aspire Eden Prairie 2040 — which will serve as a guide for the next 10 to 20 years.

You have opportunities to participate in the planning process, both in person and online, before the final City Council-approved plan is submitted to the Metropolitan Council late in 2018.

Currently, we are asking members of the community to share input about specific locations, amenities and transportation within the City, with the use of two interactive maps.

Community Map
The community mapping tool is a way you can provide input on community assets and gathering spots, as well as identify potential public art locations, areas with a positive appearance, areas in need of improvement and more.

Transportation Map
The transportation mapping tool is a way you can provide input on traffic flow and congestion issues, as well as identify trail and sidewalk needs, safety concerns, transit destinations and more.

We will be collecting data on these maps through June 30, so take a look and share your thoughts, or provide feedback on what others have to say. Note, this is best done on a desktop or laptop computer, or larger mobile device.

To learn more about the Comprehensive Plan process, visit edenprairie.org/AspireEP2040.

2017 EPy Awards

Here at the City of Eden Prairie we conduct citywide employee recognition events in the spring and fall of each year. A few weeks back we held our spring recognition event where we also presented our annual employee awards, known as the “EPys,” for those who went above and beyond in providing exceptional service in 2016.

Prior to awarding the EPys, Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens started the event with a welcome and a few words of appreciation for our employees. We then welcomed some new employees before honoring many of our current employees who have reached milestones in their years of service with the City.

The award ceremony then followed — congratulations to these 2017 award recipients:

(l-r) Rick Getschow, City Manager; Mike Schmidt, Streets; Chris Fietek, Police; Lori King, Support Services; Lisa Morrill, Building Inspections; Marisa Bayer, Community Development; Randy Newton, Engineering

  • Lisa Morrill, Building Inspections: Carl J. Jullie Award for Excellence in Customer Service
  • Lori King, Support Services: James G. Clark Award for Excellence in Teamwork
  • Mike Schmidt, Streets: Scott H. Neal Award for Excellence in Leadership.
  • Chris Fietek, Police; Jess Irmiter, Police; Marisa Bayer, Community Development; Randy Newton, Engineering; James Goldenstein, Information Technology: City Manager Quality Awards