Champlin City Council discusses potential secession from Hennepin County
The City of Champlin held a council work session earlier this week to discuss the city’s potential secession from Hennepin County into Anoka County.
Champlin, a community of about 24,000 residents, is in the far northern end of Hennepin County that borders Anoka County.
“When you look at the big picture, it feels like we’re just an ATM,” said Mayor Ryan Sabas about the Hennepin County Government. “But they are not making deposits here back to the city of Champlin.”
One-third of resident’s tax bill is sent to the Hennepin County government, according to the mayor.
One example the mayor provided is that currently there are no transportation dollars being spent on projects in the community over the next four years.
“Our efforts with Hennepin County over the years to have them assist infrastructure, road projects or any requests with the county, really goes unheard,” said Mayor Sabas.
“The county is not aware of what transpired in the meeting this week. We have had numerous conversations over this past year with city officials about transportation, other issues, and opportunities. We value Champlin and all our city partners and residents in Hennepin County,” wrote a Hennepin County Government Spokesperson.
Champlin’s City Council workgroup continues to discuss the potential move but took no action at this week’s meeting.
Any possible request to change a county boundary in Minnesota would require voter input, as discussed by the city staff.
As for if this is unique, Hamline University professor David Schultz says, very.
“As I’m scurrying Minnesota history, I don’t know if we’ve ever seen anything like this happen before,” Schultz told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.
He adds this could be a long, complex process involving voters from both counties and state leaders.
“For example, the state of Minnesota, the legislature, could next legislative session, or even in a special session, come in and just pass a law and just say, ‘You may not merge, period,’” Schultz said.
Champlin might not be the only Hennepin County city to start this journey. In an email to city leadership, Sabas asked for a meeting to be arranged with the city of Dayton.
Dayton mayor Dennis Fisher told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS over the phone that he shared similar frustrations as Sabas — Fisher adding he is open to the idea of joining a different county.
An Anoka County spokesperson said it’s too early in this matter to issue an official comment.