Four Minnesota communities receive honors from League of Minnesota Cities
(June 25, 2009—St. Paul, Minn.) City-administered initiatives involving government collaborations, energy efficiency, information technology, and stormwater processes were recognized today when the League of Minnesota Cities announced City of Excellence Award winners for 2009. Nominations submitted by the cities of Chatfield, Elk River, Roseville, and St. Anthony were selected as winners from among two dozen entries in this year’s competition.
To compete for consideration as a City of Excellence, cities nominated a project, program, or initiative that was administered to achieve one or more of the following: improvement of the quality of a city service, development of an effective or innovative way to solve an old or common problem, modification of a program from another community or organization to fit city needs, discovery of a way to save the city money without compromising service results, and/or creative involvement of city staff or citizens in making a decision.
Winning entries were chosen in three population categories and in a special topical category. A description of each winning nomination follows.
Population under 5,000
City of Chatfield—“Hilltop Estates Improvement Project”
In response to the Chatfield School District’s need for a new elementary school, the City of Chatfield’s Planning Commission identified a location that would fit the needs of the district as well as the general needs of the overall community.
Once the District’s building referendum was approved in late 2007, a water system, sanitary sewer facilities and streets needed to be installed by August of 2009. Due to the elevation difference between the development site and town proper along with other challenging natural features, improvements would be more expensive than any one of the participating collaborators—developers, city, county, and school district—could individually afford.
The City stepped-up to the plate to partner with those stakeholders and find workable funding solutions that included a combination of developer-funded improvements and general obligation bonds.
Population 5,000 to 19,999
City of St. Anthony—“Water Reuse Facility Project”
In an effort to promote sustainability, the City of St. Anthony conducted a water reuse feasibility study that identified the potential capture of stormwater and runoff from the city campus and local streets.
The project was able to provide several benefits that protect the environment and improve the quality of the region’s surface waters. In addition to significantly reducing pollutants and the volume of stormwater and waste products from the city, and providing a reduction on ground water demand, the city was able to realize a one-time savings of more than $250,000 along with annual savings of at least $25,000.
Additionally, the facility has already provided great educational opportunities as nearly a dozen tours of the facility have been conducted for Watershed District, city, and county officials.
Population of 20,000 or more
City of Roseville—“Metro I-Net Group”
The City of Roseville led the way in bringing-together 20 entities involved in joint powers agreements to provide information technology (IT) services. The goal was to share information and coordinate long-term planning efforts.
The consortium now meets quarterly to outline individual member needs and objectives as well as make decisions on goals and outcomes to be pursued by the group as a whole. Each member of the consortium owns it own assets, but assigns day-to-day management to a dedicated Metro I-Net manager.
The establishment of I-Net has fundamentally changed how Roseville and the other partnering entities carry-out their IT support functions. The partnership has led to greater economies of scale and higher functionality.
Topical Category: Sustainability and Smart Energy Use
City of Elk River—“Project Conserve”
Widely known as “Energy City,” the City of Elk River has consistently been committed to demonstrating renewable energy, using energy efficient technologies and services, and providing educational opportunities for residents.
Recently, the City partnered with Elk River Municipal Utilities and CenterPoint to launch Project Conserve—an initiative designed to reduce utility costs and consumption, and to preserve natural resources by encouraging some minor changes in resident lifestyles.
The pilot program includes 35 households, and engages residents to reduce their consumption of electricity, natural gas water and gasoline, and the amount of solid waste produced by each household.
About the judges
Judges for the 2009 City of Excellence Awards were Jay Kiedrowski, Senior Fellow at the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs—University of Minnesota; Marcia Marcoux, former Rochester city council member; and Diana McKeown, metro coordinator for Clean Energy Resource Teams at the Green Institute.