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LMC Policy Committees review findings from Community Conversations
(Updated Sept. 18, 2012)
After hearing the ideas and opinions of more than 730 Minnesota residents from 12 cities, the League has published a report of findings from last year’s Community Conversations that were held as part of the “Cities, Services, and Funding: Broader Thinking, Better Solutions” initiative.
This summer, the League’s legislative policy committees reviewed the report’s findings for consideration while crafting new policies and policy revisions that will serve as the League’s foundation for advocacy efforts in the 2013 state legislative session. For example, the League’s Improving Service Delivery Policy Committee discussed how the citizen input described in the report can drive policy discussions at the Legislature, in particular the League’s policy on Redesigning and Reinventing Government. The committee is currently drafting new policy language that is expected to be adopted at its third and final policy meeting on Sept. 24. The final draft will then be posted on the League’s website for additional input from city officials throughout the state before the Board of Directors formally adopts the 2013 policies on Nov. 8.
About the Community Conversations
A total of 40 cities submitted applications last year to be considered as host communities for the Community Conversations phase of the “Cities, Services & Funding” initiative. From those, the League chose 12 sites based on ability to identify and engage community partnering groups that could supply participants, on population size, and on geographic location. Those cities were Austin, Bemidji, Circle Pines, Duluth, Eden Prairie, Eveleth, Hastings, Moorhead, Northfield, St. Cloud, St. James, and St. Paul.
Four conversations with city residents were held in each location over the months of May through October of 2011. The first conversation in each city dealt with the services cities provide and resident service preferences; the second with how services are delivered and resident preferences for service delivery; and the third with how services are paid for and resident funding preferences. The fourth meeting addressed values and considerations that participants would like city and state officials to keep in mind when making tough choices about budgeting for services.
In April of 2012, the League held a series of customized conversations in International Falls that addressed subject areas more specific to that city. A similar series is tentatively scheduled for the City of Plymouth in early 2013.
Community Conversations videos
The League's three short videos about the Conversations, produced by Haberman Storytellers, have been posted to YouTube. Each video is approximately five to six minutes in length.
In August, KSMQ-TV in Austin filmed segments of the fourth and final conversation in that city for use in a documentary about the Cities, Services & Funding initiative.
Production of the videos and publication of the report of findings were made possible, in part, by a grant from the Bush Foundation’s InCommons initiative.
PowerPoint helps cities explain findings from Community Conversations
League staff returned to all of the cities that hosted Community Conversations last year to share the report and talk about what we heard from Minnesotans. We have developed a brief PowerPoint presentation available to all cities for use in sharing the findings with councilmembers, city staff, and the public. There are several areas noted throughout the presentation where cities should add some specific examples about their own fiscal challenges and budget-balancing strategies.
Contact Don Reeder
Assistant Director of Communications for Public Affairs
(651) 215-4031 or (800) 925-1122