Scenes From the 2017 Regional Meetings
Minnesota city officials all over the state have been gathering with their neighbors this fall at the League of Minnesota Cities 2017 Regional Meetings. During these meetings, attendees:
These pictures show a few scenes from the first week of meetings in Thief River Falls, Ottertail, and Melrose. It was a great time of learning and networking for all who participated!
Arts Project Transforms Mahnomen’s Downtown
The old Pembina Theater in downtown Mahnomen has been empty since 1966, but it is now much more attractive, thanks to a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council. The City of Mahnomen was awarded $6,000 to paint public murals on the building.
“There is such a negative vibe when you see a two-story, majestic building all boarded up,” Mahnomen City Administrator Mitch Berg says. “This art project helped to bring some vitality to the area.”
The city relied on community engagement to complete the project, which came from the help of the White Earth Nation, Gizhiigin Arts Incubator, and four different artists. Because of the diverse representation of people who contributed to the creation of the murals, Berg says, “We created a public art piece that really represents the whole community.”
NLC Report: City Fiscal Conditions 2017
Despite improvements in unemployment and productivity around the country, the National League of Cities’ (NLC) City Fiscal Conditions 2017 report raises some red flags. Based on the report’s findings, general fund revenues are slowing, sales and income tax revenues are projected to decline in 2017, and finance officers have budgeted for a much lower growth in property taxes this year than in 2016. Optimism has also waned among municipal finance officers after peaking in 2015.
“Cities are the engines of innovation and economic growth,” says Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and executive director of NLC. “It’s critical that Congress and the administration work closely with local officials to ensure American cities continue to grow our economy and lead our nation forward.”
To see the full City Fiscal Conditions 2017 report, visit www.nlc.org/CFC.
Anoka County Plows into Creativity with Partnership
Since 2004, the Anoka County Highway Department has held a contest at the county’s fair where children could submit ideas to name the county snow plow, and kids have definitely taken advantage of this chance to have some fun with creativity! Past winning names include Darthblader, Blizzard Wizzard, and Sno Problem.
Last year, according to ABC Newspapers, an 8-year-old thought up the literary name of Plow Bunyan, which inspired a new partnership between the Highway Department and Anoka County Library. These two organizations are now working together to plan story times, programs, and activities that let families explore the math, science, and history of winter in Minnesota. Even in the dreary coldness of winter, Anoka County knows there are plenty of possibilities to incorporate fun learning opportunities in its communities.
Eveleth’s Senior Assistance Freedom Enrichment (SAFE) Program
The City of Eveleth wants all residents to feel comfortable and safe, including those with physical and/ or mental infirmities who live independently. To ensure that this is the case, the Eveleth Police Department installed the Senior Assistance Freedom Enrichment (SAFE) program in 2013 to keep daily tabs on the well-being of the city’s residents.
Those registered in the SAFE program must call the police department every morning for a brief check-in. If that call isn’t received, a police department representative will give the resident a call, which is followed by an officer going to the resident’s house if the phone call is not answered. The program recognizes that to protect the overall welfare of Eveleth residents, the physical and emotional welfare of those who live independently needs to be preserved.
“SAFE gives our residents peace of mind to know that someone is checking up on them daily,” Police Chief Tim Koivunen says. “They’re building relationships.”
Employers Going Above and Beyond
The League of Minnesota Cities recently received the Above and Beyond Award from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. The award is given to a select number of employers at the local level who have gone above and beyond in supporting employees who serve in the National Guard or reserve components. Employers are nominated by employees in the service. Other city employers recognized were St. Paul Emergency Management and Paynesville Police Department.
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