Monday, January 23, 2017

Highlights from the Jan-Feb 2017 Issue of Minnesota Cities Magazine

The Jan-Feb issue of Minnesota Cities magazine is here! Start the new year off right with inspiration,
ideas, and important background on city issues that will affect our work in 2017.

Some of the highlights:

"Bonding omnibus bill"—it's a fancy term to describe how the state helps fund projects like construction of water treatment facilities and road reconstruction that impact your residents every. day. See what went wrong during the last legislative session (where legislators failed to pass a bonding bill) and how cities left in the lurch are responding in 2017 Legislative Session: Seeking State Funds for Crumbling Infrastructure.

You know the saying, "Once a strategic planning consultant, always a strategic planning consultant." In his column, Executive Director Dave Unmacht shares some of his expertise for making your city's next sit-down a healthy and productive one in St. Paul to City Hall: The Making of a Successful Strategic-Planning Session.

Does your city's good news deserve a standing ovation, but it sounds more like crickets? See how you can break through to get important city news and events picked up by local news outlets in Message Matters: How to Get the Media to Cover Your (Good) City News.
And as always, check out From the Bench for summaries of recent court cases, Ideas in Action to see the latest and greatest city projects and programs, and Bits & Briefs for a roundup of city conversation-starters.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Advocacy and Economic Development in Greater MN Cities

Economic development is more important than ever for cities in Greater Minnesota that want to strengthen their communities and maintain or improve quality of life for residents. Past LMC Board President Steve Nasby, city administrator of Windom, knows the issue inside and out. His experience has taught him that seemingly unrelated issues like workforce housing, good roads, and access to broadband, can make all the difference when attracting employers to set up shop in your city. In this video, Nasby shares his thoughts on getting your city's voice heard at the Capitol on these important issues—regardless of where you are in the state.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Law Enforcement Appreciation Day in Minnesota

Gov. Dayton has proclaimed Jan. 9, 2017 to be Law Enforcement Appreciation Day to recognize the service and sacrifice of all law enforcement. Kinda a big deal.

 Read the governor's Law Enforcement Appreciation Day proclamation here.

“Every day and night, law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to protect and serve communities across our state,” said Gov. Dayton in his press release. “Today, we recognize the service and sacrifice of those brave men and women, and their families. Minnesota is a safer, stronger, better state thanks to their unwavering service.”

To all the law enforcement officials in Minnesota: beat cops, investigators, clerks and support staff, community service officers, dispatchers, captains, head honchos, and everyone in between, the League would like to second that. Thank you for the work—and all the heart—you put into keeping cities safe every day and leading innovation in the field.

Here are just a few highlights of Minnesota law enforcement leading the way:

Working Together—Duluth’s ‘Embedded Social Worker’ Program
Making Minnesota Cities Home for Immigrants
The Future of Policing
Credentialing of the Professional Police Chief

It's not easy, but it's important work, and might we add, you look GREAT in blue (and black, and plain clothes ...).

Want more information and news about law enforcement topics? Check out On the Line, LMC's blog dedicated to public safety risk management.

Helpful Resources for New City Officials

What do new city leaders need to know before starting their terms?

This month, thousands of elected officials in Minnesota will start their terms as councilmembers and mayors. Some come with lots of local government experience, but many still have a lot to learn.

Plain-language translation: This job is more complicated than many people think. Here are some helpful resources to make sure you are being the best councilmember or mayor you can be!

  • Take the oath of office.
  • File any campaign finance reports required.
  • Learn about the laws that apply to your statutory city or charter city. Get familiar with your city’s ordinances.
  • Recognize your limitations. This may be legally as a councilmember or in terms of time as an individual.
  • Know what your constituents see as the city’s biggest priorities.
  • Get acquainted with city staff who you will be working with regularly.
  • Keep an open mind.
  • Identify where you need help and ask for it! 

Let us help! Attend one of our Newly Elected Officials: 2017 Leadership Conferences, use our resources (linked below), and call Research if you have a question.


Research Department can be reached at, or by calling (651) 281-1200 or (800) 925-1122.

Please don't hesitate to reach out to us—we're here just for you. Happy new year, and best of luck in your new leadership positions!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Spotted: 2016 Dividend Deliveries

League and Insurance Trust staff personally delivered some of this year’s dividend checks in December as a way to thank our members for their commitment to the program. A total of $25 million was returned to members—the biggest dividend ever. Good work, members!

Seen here, staffer Deb Anger (middle) stopped by the city of St. Peter with their dividend. She’s pictured with City Administrator Todd Prafke and City Finance Director Paula O’Connell. Prafke says, "We are happy about the size of the check, but our smiles reflect how we feel about the partners we keep." Aww. The feeling is mutual.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy New Year, Best Wishes, and Welcomes

A message from Executive Director David Unmacht:
As we turn the corner on 2016 and begin a new year, we are granted an annual opportunity to reflect on the year closing behind us and eagerly anticipate what the next 365 days has in store for us. It’s not a stretch or a risk to suggest that—at least politically—the year 2016 was like no other in our memory. The presidential election is over, the electoral college has completed its work, and now we await the new administration. On a federal level, it’s impractical to predict specifically what changes are ahead, but we can reasonably expect that the course of business will change in Washington D.C.

On a smaller, but just as important scale, in our city halls across the great state of Minnesota, we have many returning colleagues as well as new faces to get to know beginning on Jan. 1. We congratulate and welcome back the many friends and colleagues who contribute countless hours of time and energy to make their city government work day in and day out. We also want to thank the public servants who retired or lost their election for their work in support of city government and the League of Minnesota Cities. We wish you all the best.

Finally, and just as importantly, we look forward to working with the many newly elected officials who bring different sets of experiences, expectations, and interests to city government—and ultimately, the work of the League. We are excited to meet and personally welcome you to the business of local government. We take great pride in our relationships with city officials across the state and are committed to helping you make a difference in your city. Many of you are already scheduled to attend one of our Newly Elected Officials Conferences in Mankato, Bloomington, and Brainerd in January. 
On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff, we wish each and every one of you a safe and prosperous new year!   

Monday, December 19, 2016

Spotted: A Minnesota Mayor Getting Musical

On a sunny autumn day, Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks couldn’t resist stopping in one of the city’s new park areas featuring actual musical instruments. The park is part of the city’s new Riverfront Renaissance development, which won a City of Excellence Award from the League of Minnesota Cities this year.

In addition to the musical park, the project included new trails and walkways near the Mississippi River, a new amphitheater, and more in Veterans Memorial Levee Park. Residents and visitors enjoyed several concerts and other events in the park last summer and fall.

Check out Minnesota Cities magazine to see more about how Hastings hit a development high note.

Photo credit goes to Michael Braun