eComment: A Solution for Community Engagement
All city councils, no matter how big or small their city, have at some time or another struggled with low attendance at their meetings. One of the main reasons for low turnouts is pretty plain and simple—people are busy.
The City of Northfield has a solution for when parents have to watch their kids, work late, make dinner, or are just too exhausted to leave the house after a long day. That solution is an eComment module that the city put into effect last spring, reports the Northfield News. This electronic comment feature allows for community members to participate in public meetings without even being present at the actual meetings.
From the comfort of their own homes, Northfield residents can review agenda items in advance and indicate their position on those items by leaving feedback on the eComment tab on the City Council meetings page. All public comments are then included in meeting minutes, which are posted on the city website. This is a great way to add more local voices to the deliberation table.
Granite Falls Relies on Team Effort to Keep Residents Safe
You can never have too many emergency medical responders (EMRs) ready to assist in any way they can when someone is seriously injured or a life is on the line. The City of Granite Falls knows this, which is why they used a grant from Southwest EMS to build a partnership between their ambulance crew and Fire Department, according to the Advocate Tribune.
With the $4,000 grant, the city’s firefighters were given the opportunity to further preserve the safety of the residents they serve by becoming certified EMRs. With this certification, interested firefighters will now be able to assist paramedics and emergency medical technicians with various tasks such as driving ambulances, performing CPR, and providing airway management.
“I am a true believer that everyone should be a trained EMR when working in the fire service,” says Troy Walsh, loss control field consultant with the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, “but I also understand the struggle with training, emergency runs, budget, and the time commitment in smaller communities.”
However, Walsh also notes that when cities aren’t sure EMR training will fit into their budget, they can turn to the Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board and Minnesota Board of Firefighter Training & Education, which both help provide funding for firefighter and EMR training. Learn more about these funding opportunities at https://mn.gov/boards/emsrb and www.mbfte.org.
NLC Leadership Event Slated for October in San Diego
Need a getaway trip to sunny San Diego? What better reason to head to the West Coast than to learn how to create inclusive, collaborative, and engaged communities at the 2017 National League of Cities (NLC) University Leadership Summit? Elected and appointed officials, city staff, and industry professionals will strategize with their peers to create an inclusion action plan that can be implemented into their cities at this year’s two-day workshop, happening Oct. 2-5 in San Diego.
The summit will also feature a two-hour program, “Big Ideas for Cities,” where mayors from all over the country will share their insight on how innovative solutions can bring positive changes to cities all over the country. Learn more and register at http://bit.ly/2uFHAez.
Barn Quilt Trails Add Interest, Beauty, and Whimsy
Barn quilt trails throughout Minnesota are welcoming visitors to tour not just their namesake art, but also the communities and countryside they adorn. Barn quilts are large quilt blocks painted onto wood and displayed on exterior walls of barns and other structures, depending on size. These installations often showcase classic quilt patterns that can be both rich with tradition and whimsical in nature.
Barn quilt trails include the Swedish Barn Quilt Trail in Chisago County, the Truman Area Barn Quilt Trail, Barn Quilts of Carver County, and the Central Minnesota Barn Quilt Trail. In many cases, these trails are the work of several community partners coming together. For example, development of the Central Minnesota Barn Quilt Trail was started by local quilters, and has been bolstered by community groups and partnerships with the FFA and the school district—students painted many of the quilt squares.
Cities are also getting involved in supporting these bright cultural displays. In the City of Staples, for example, the city agreed to install several pieces on city property and provide basic maintenance for five years.
Notice: LMC’s Property Tax Report Online Only This Year
Every year, the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) publishes a property tax report in the September-October issue of Minnesota Cities magazine and online. However, the information used for the report was not ready in time to publish in the September- October 2017 magazine.
The reason for the delay is that the Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR) is going through a significant transition to a new database system called PRISM. League staff rely on data from the DOR to prepare both the property tax report and the table that lists each city’s information about tax base and tax rates.
LMC Named to Star Tribune’s List of Top 150 Workplaces
For the fourth consecutive year, the League of Minnesota Cities has earned a spot as a Star Tribune Top 150 Workplaces and is honored to sit among other Minnesota businesses and organizations that do the best job of keeping their employees satisfied and smiling. This year, the League jumped up 11 spots and was ranked fifth among small employers. The Star Tribune rankings are based on anonymous staff surveys that measure engagement, organizational health, and satisfaction. Learn more at http://strib.mn/2sQEyn9.
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