About 12:30 yesterday afternoon, Rice County deputies responded to report of a burglary in the 20,000 block of Davis Avenue in Faribault. The homeowner’s 13 year old daughter was in a bedroom inside the house when the female suspect entered it, then quickly departed. The suspects rang the doorbell and knocked several times. When no one answered, forced entry was made using a small tool on the rear door.
Evidence recovered from the scene and the subsequent investigation led deputies to develop the two suspects. Both were arrested shortly thereafter by Owatonna PD at a hotel in that city. The Case is still currently active and ongoing by Rice County Investigators. Sheriff Troy Dunn said he will release their names once they’ve been formally charged. They expect 1st degree burglary charges.
Did Council violate State Statute on street assessments
When the City of Northfield is deciding what to charge residents for street assessments, they don’t look at each individual property. Administrator Ben Martig, “so we didn’t go through every single property. It’s very expensive to do, I think it’s over $15,000 spent on this appraisal for all the projects we had this year. But it looks at similar types of houses or businesses, for this year they were all residential properties, have an appraisal done so there might be different values for the different properties”. It’s called a “range of reasonable value”. They generally follow the front footage assessment. The policy gets complex when some lots have curved front footage, which is smaller, or are corner lots or on cul-de-sacs. Martig said the policy has different calculations depending on the type of lot to try and create as much of a fair and equitable assessment policy for all of the people in the community. Martig said it’s very difficult to create a black and white policy, adding that it’s not unique to Northfield to deal with these challenges. He said a number of communities have tried to explore other ways to finance these improvements without special assessments because of the difficulty in implementing it. While they followed policy on the Sibley View Lane project, one resident objected and was able to get his assessment lowered by nearly a thousand dollars. That is an option for every resident. Councilor DeLong fought for 6 residences that were assessed more than the appraisal. Additional information on state law He made a motion to lower their assessments. That was voted down 3 to 2. A supermajority is required on this vote. The vote on the main motion adopting the assessments was approved 4 to 1 with DeLong saying, “I can’t believe we’re about to adopt a motion that’s a violation of state statute and in violation of our own ordinances to be fair and equitable to not assess more than the appraised amount”. DeLong letter to Councilors Martig responded, “I think that staff’s development of the recommendation also follows the policy and there’s a policy difference where C. DeLong is indicating the fixed dollar amount, where staff’s usage was the range”. All of them agreed they need a better assessment policy. DeLong remains steadfast in his contention that the City violated state statute. I’ll have more information he provided online later today. Here’s the LINK to the meeting video as well as additional documents from the City.
Chen pleads not guilty – will go to trial
45 year old Zuqiu Chen pled not guilty yesterday in rice County court to Promoting Prostitution and Receiving profits from it. Northfield police were assisted by multiple agencies in a months long investigation of the Mystic Massage parlor off Hwy 3. The BCA Predatory Crimes Unit and federal agents became involved due to immigration status and possible trafficking. Chen has been jailed since February 3rd when agents arrested him after the sting operation. His girlfriend, 40 year old Jin Jingwei, who performed many of the illicit acts, has also been charged with prostitution. A warrant for her arrest was issued in May. A court trial is set for September 23rd. CHEN COMPLAINT