The looming state government shutdown promises to affect cities throughout Minnesota in myriad ways, but in Stillwater, the issues remain buildings and bridges.
The shutdown will impact building in Stillwater in four critical ways, public works director Shawn Sanders explained at the June 21 city council meeting.
“The entire state building codes section will be shutdown,” Sanders said. “A government shutdown will affect building much more than planning in Stillwater.”
First, Sanders explained, there will be no one to review building plans. The State of Minnesota must review all building plans before issuing a building permit. Without a permit, building is stalled indefinitely.
Likewise, any building requiring electricity needs to be issued an electrical permit after a state official approves the project.
Third, the state plumbing division will close in a government shutdown. “The state building division reviews all plumbing permits. Without one, you don’t get the other,” Sanders explained.
“But don’t worry,” Sanders quipped. “This will have no impact on plumbing or sewerage that is already operational. You’ll still be able to flush your toilets.”
The fourth and final building division to be closed in the event of a state government shutdown is the state elevator division. Sanders speculated that the closure of this particular building division would have little or no impact in Stillwater.
Stillwater City Administrator Larry Hansen also hoped to quell a misunderstanding regarding the fate of the Stillwater Lift Bridge if the state government shuts down.
“I’ve received numerous emails and phone calls from people who think Stillwater is shutting down the Lift Bridge,” Hansen said. “Just to clarify, MnDot is shutting down the bridge (in the event of a government shutdown), not Stillwater.”
“I’ve actually had heated conversations with a few residents who didn’t believe me,” Hansen added.
The Stillwater Lift Bridge will be raised for the duration of the government shutdown.