Acquisition and Maintenance of City StreetsPublished Jan 12, 2015
This memo outlines what cities must do to establish and finance new city streets as well as maintain existing street infrastructure. It includes design and construction standards, procedures to open streets, and definitions of the parts of a street and different types of streets. It also provides links to model street maintenance policies and ordinances regulating others who want to work in your rights-of-way. (Revised 1/2015)
Administrative Traffic Citations ToolkitPublished Aug 6, 2015
Learn about the law authorizing exclusive use of administrative traffic citations for minor traffic offenses. Find the steps a city must take to issue these citations. Red toolkit icons mark links to model resolutions, brochures, notice letters, and other required forms to make use of this law.
Animal Regulation in CitiesPublished Apr 20, 2015
Find out how cities may regulate and control pets, farm animals, exotic animals, and newly popular hobbies of keeping bees or chickens. Learn approaches to common problems such as dangerous dogs, dogs running at large, barking, and feral cats. Animal health and safety laws. Animal fighting. Owner rights and responsibilities. (Revised 4/2015)
Budget Guide for CitiesPublished Jun 9, 2016
Learn about new state and federal laws that significantly affect city budget decisions for 2017, including annual financial figures for minimum wage, cost of living adjustments, local government aid (LGA), and more. Discusses the taxation notification procedure and contains fuel excise tax forms, links to sample resolutions adopting a levy, and other forms and worksheets. (Revised 6/2016)
Calendar of Important DatesPublished Jul 20, 2015
Provides city officials a reference to some of the more significant dates in their business year. Primarily designed for statutory cities but many items also apply to home rule cities. Items that apply to statutory cities only are generally designated as such. Other items apply to all cities in most cases.
Calendar of Important Election DatesPublished Feb 2, 2016
Provides city officials a reference to some of the more significant dates in their business year. Primarily designed for statutory cities but many items also apply to home rule cities. Items that apply to statutory cities only are generally designated as such. Other items apply to all cities in most cases. (Revised 2/2016)
Cemetery RegulationsPublished May 18, 2016
Learn about the legal requirements and issues associated with municipal cemetery establishment, maintenance and care. Contains links to LMC model ordinances establishing a city cemetery and regulating its maintenance and use; establishing a permanent care and improvement fund, and a cemetery lot agreement. (Revised 5/2016)
City Deposits and InvestmentsPublished Oct 20, 2014
Learn which depositories a city may use and how to choose one. What are FDIC insurance and other collateral considerations. Listing of permitted types of investments and their safekeeping requirements but retirement plans and relief association investing are excluded. Elements of an investment policy with a sample policy outline. Contains sample resolution designating a depository. (Revised 10/2014)
City Sales Tax Exemptions in Construction ContractsPublished Sep 3, 2015
Learn how cities may use purchasing agent agreements with contractors and subcontractors to make sales tax-exempt purchases of materials for construction projects. This memo links to a sample purchasing agent agreement.
City Solid Waste ManagementPublished Mar 8, 2016
Understand city authority and requirements to regulate the collection and disposal of solid waste and the roles of state and county oversight. Read about city licensing authority and permitted assessments and fees. Learn about open and organized systems of solid waste collection, including their advantages and disadvantages. Includes a flowchart showing the process for adopting organized collection. (Revised 3/2016)
City Special ElectionsPublished Jun 25, 2015
Understand which election questions are authorized or required by state law and which are not. Procedures to call and hold special elections. How general election law applies. Form and effect of recall and other resident petitions. Elections to fill a council vacancy. Ballot form requirements. Contains sample ordinance calling for a special election at the same time as the general election.(Revised 06/2015)
Competitive Bidding Requirements in CitiesPublished Sep 10, 2015
Learn what types and price of contracts are subject to competitive bidding requirements, the methods of best value and joint contracting, and the exemptions, exceptions, and alternatives to competitive bidding. Learn about preparing bid specifications and advertising, opening, and investigating bids. Discusses permitted changes after bid award and when a city needs to require performance and payment bonds. Contains sample bid advertisement and sample outline for a Request for Proposals (RFP).
Dangerous PropertiesPublished Sep 22, 2015
Learn about the tools available to cities under state law to remedy unhealthy and dangerous properties such as those damaged by fire or explosion, unsecured vacant buildings, garbage houses, and otherwise hazardous buildings or excavations. Contains several model resolutions for action and a link to a model ordinance.
(Revised 9/ 2015)
Data Practices: Analyze, Classify and RespondPublished Apr 16, 2015
Learn your responsibilities under Minnesota's Government Data Practices Act for data your city creates or maintains. Understand how to balance the public's right to know what their government is doing with individuals' right to privacy in government data created and maintained about them, and the city's need to function responsibly and efficiently. Find sample resolutions and forms to help you comply with the law. (Revised 4/2015)
Election Campaign SignsPublished May 12, 2015
Each election cycle, cities face questions from candidates and residents about where and when campaign signs can be posted. This memo addresses some of the common concerns about campaign sign regulation by the city, the size and location of signs, and how to deal with illegal signs.
Lawful GamblingPublished Mar 7, 2014
Learn what gambling is allowed in Minnesota, like pull-tabs and raffles, and which organizations may conduct them. Understand state regulations on lawful purposes for which gambling money may be spent, licensing, gambling managers, and more. Find out how cities can regulate gambling with “10% funds”, investigation fees, trade areas and local gambling taxes. Contains a sample ordinance and premises permit forms.(Revised 3/2014)
Liquor Licensing and RegulationPublished Mar 1, 2016
Learn about types of liquor licenses and what each allows as well as criteria that applicants and their establishments must meet for the various types of licenses. Outlines liquor licensing procedure, state and local regulations imposed on liquor license holders, and insurance and liability concerns. Discusses liquor election questions. Charts summarize fees, license numbers, who issues and approves. Sample ordinance included.
Meetings of City CouncilsPublished Nov 9, 2015
Learn about the open meeting law, taking meeting minutes, scheduling and conducting meetings, including use of parliamentary procedure, audience participation, and regulating attendance of councilmembers. Most principles apply also to city boards, commissions, and other public bodies. Includes table of privileged, subsidiary, and main motions, and links to sample council bylaws.(Revised 11/2015)
Newspaper PublicationPublished Aug 6, 2015
Find out requirements for publishing meeting and election notices, city financial reports and actions like ordinances or advertisements for bids and more. Learn which newspapers are qualified to publish your public notices. Designating an official newspaper for your city. Saving money by using summary publication. Tips on working with the media. (Revised 8/2015)
Official Conflict of InterestPublished Dec 15, 2015
Learn responsibilities of city officials to avoid prohibited personal or financial benefits in contracts, which public offices may not be held simultaneously by the same person, need to disclose economic interests, and limits on gifts. Links to a code of conduct and statement of values; contains resolutions for contracting with an interested council member.(Revised 12/2015)
Open Burning in CitiesPublished Jul 13, 2015
Understand laws that lessen fire risks to property and natural resources. Covers materials prohibited in open burning, required permits and fees, burning of leaves, burning bans, environmental concerns, and how a city official can act as a fire warden. Has links to sample ordinances authorizing open burning and burning of leaves. Includes a sample application for a recreational fire or for an open burning permit. (Revised 7/2015)
Planning Commission GuidePublished Jan 20, 2015
Learn ways the city may create, change or discontinue a city planning commission. Provides information on appointment of members, commission powers and duties, and meeting rules. Understand council and planning commission roles in creating a comprehensive plan for growth and development; how to implement it. Ways to participate in joint or multijurisdictional planning. (Revised 1/2015)
Procedures for Paying City ClaimsPublished Aug 5, 2015
Describes the appropriate process for paying city bills as set by laws applying explicitly to all forms of statutory city government unless otherwise indicated. Learn about city authority to delegate payment of certain claims, prompt payment requirements, facsimile signatures, when council must approve payment and more. In conclusion, brief attention is given to home rule charter cities. (Revised 8/2015)
Public NuisancesPublished Apr 1, 2015
Defines public and private nuisances, giving common examples such as weeds, smoke, noise, animals and more. Examines tools cities can use to effectively and fairly prevent nuisances or eliminate nuisance conditions when they occur. Evaluates complaint versus inspection enforcement options. Contains a sample nuisance ordinance. (Revised 4/2015)
Public Purpose ExpendituresPublished Jun 2, 2016
Find general criteria that must be met in order for a public expenditure to be valid such as having a public purpose and direct or implied authority in law. Specific common expenditures are analyzed for the city’s ability to make payment. Examples include donations to organizations, economic development activity, certain employee expenses and more. (Revised 6/2016).
Purchase and Sale of Real PropertyPublished Jan 22, 2015
Understand the statutory authority of cities to acquire and dispose of real estate, including by sales, purchases, and alternatives such as gifts, leases, dedication, contract for deed, lease-purchase and others. Be alert to common issues in transactions such as environmental considerations, deed restrictions, trust land, permissions to buy and sell, and more.(Revised 01/2015)
Railroads and CitiesPublished Jan 22, 2015
This memo explains how cities can address concerns such as safety, train horns, quiet zones, crossing safety, and train speed when a railroad runs through city limits. Learn about regulating railroad property for taxation, special assessments and maintenance. Find out which federal and state agencies regulate railroads and their roles in responding to railroad emergencies like a crash, or hazardous materials release.(Revised 1/2015).
Regulating Peddlers, Solicitors and Transient MerchantsPublished Jan 4, 2016
Describes possible ways cities can regulate peddlers, solicitors, and transient merchants. Learn how to differentiate between the persons and practices in order to avoid legal challenges. Understand the meaning of reasonable regulations that do not violate any rights protected by the state or federal constitutions. Contains easy-to-use charts and links to a sample ordinance. (Revised 1/2016).
Regulation of Adult Entertainment BusinessesPublished Apr 24, 2015
Regulating adult entertainment businesses can be complicated because adult entertainment is considered speech protected by the First Amendment. Learn how to regulate adult entertainment businesses with zoning and licensing ordinances to minimize their negative impact on the community.
Securing Payment of Utility ChargesPublished Jun 22, 2016
Learn about setting rates for municipal utilities and on what basis cities may make charges; applicability of state sales tax. Find a discussion of credits and penalties; special rules for rental property, manufactured homes, properties in foreclosure or in bankruptcy. Lists remedies for nonpayment. Federal clean water act and red flag rule requirements; Minnesota Cold Weather Rule. Links to many sample forms involved in seeking payment of utility charges.
Small Cell Towers and Distributed Antenna SystemsPublished Apr 21, 2016
Learn about small cell towers and distributed antenna systems (“DAS”) and the trend of cell providers requesting to either place “small cell towers” within a city’s right-of-way or to install DAS on existing utility equipment. Understand common gaps in city zoning, impact of federal law, and some best practices for dealing with these small cell towers and DAS.
Special Assessment ToolkitPublished Sep 2, 2015
Discusses city authority to levy special assessments for local improvements like streets, waterworks, sanitary sewer and more. It defines special assessments, gives a synopsis of the procedure, discusses challenges by property owners, levying and collecting assessments, borrowing, making corrections, and applicability to tax exempt and railroad properties. Red toolkit icons mark links to model forms.
Special Vehicles Operating on City StreetsPublished Oct 6, 2015
Vehicles showing up on or along city streets and sidewalks include all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), golf carts, mini-trucks, motorized foot scooters, pocket bikes, mini-motorcycles, motorized bicycles, and electric-assisted bicycles. Learn what traffic and vehicle regulations state and federal laws impose, and additional possible regulations cities can enact through local ordinances. (Revised 10/2015)
Subdivision Guide for CitiesPublished Sep 1, 2015
Learn the framework of municipal subdivision regulation. Find guidance on subdivision ordinance drafting, adoption, administration and enforcement. Links to sample subdivision provisions and maps from other Minnesota cities. (Revised 9/2015).
Vacation of City StreetsPublished May 10, 2016
Learn how to divest the city of dedicated public streets, alleys, and other public ways and grounds, such as dedicated parks and docks that are no longer needed. Understand steps in the formal vacation process provided by law for this purpose. Contains a checklist for action and sample resolutions for city council action.
Zoning Guide for CitiesPublished Jan 20, 2015
Learn the framework of municipal zoning and basics of other land use controls available to cities that may complement or be used separately from zoning controls. Find guidance on zoning ordinance drafting, adoption, administration and enforcement. Links to sample zoning provisions and maps from other Minnesota cities. (Revised 1/2015)