Acquisition and Maintenance of City StreetsPublished Jun 4, 2018
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.
Administrative Search WarrantsPublished Nov 14, 2018
Understand when and why administrative search warrants are needed in certain circumstances. Learn common situations where a city might encounter administrative search warrant and the basic requirements for obtaining administrative search warrants.
Animal Regulation in CitiesPublished Apr 10, 2018
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.
Budget Guide for CitiesPublished Oct 12, 2018
Learn about new state and federal laws that significantly affect city budget decisions for 2019, including annual financial figures for minimum wage, cost-of-living adjustments, local government aid (LGA), and more. This memo discusses the taxation notification procedure and links to fuel excise tax forms, a model resolution adopting a levy, and other budget worksheets.
Calendar of Important DatesPublished Jul 19, 2018
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.
Cell Towers, Small Cell Technology and Distributed Antenna SystemsPublished Nov 29, 2017
Learn about large and small cell tower deployment and siting requests for small cell, small wireless and distributed antenna systems (DAS) technology. Better understand the trend of the addition of DAS, small wireless or small cell equipment on existing utility equipment. Be aware of common gaps in city zoning, impact of federal and state law, reasons for collocation agreements and some best practices for dealing with large and small cell towers, small wireless facilities and DAS.
Cemetery RegulationsPublished May 23, 2017
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.
City Deposits and InvestmentsPublished Oct 11, 2018
Learn which depositories a city may use and how to choose one. Understand FDIC insurance and other collateral considerations. Lists permitted types of investments and their safekeeping requirements excluding retirement plans and relief association pensions. Contains elements of an investment policy with a sample policy outline. Links to a model resolution designating a depository.
City Solid Waste ManagementPublished Sep 19, 2018
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.
City Special ElectionsPublished Aug 13, 2018
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.
Competitive Bidding Requirements in CitiesPublished Aug 6, 2018
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 Nov 28, 2018
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.
Data Practices: Analyze, Classify and RespondPublished Mar 12, 2018
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.
Drones: Municipal Use and RegulationPublished Jan 2, 2018
Outlines legal developments surrounding unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones. Discusses how cities are using drones, how cities can legally operate drones, and other considerations for cities before flying drones. Reviews a city’s authority to regulate drones and includes links to helpful Federal Aviation Administration documents and materials.
Firearm Regulation and CitiesPublished Oct 22, 2018
Understand how state laws affect a city’s ability to prohibit guns on city property. Read options for regulation of city employees carrying firearms at work and restrictions on elected officials or volunteers carrying firearms when conducting city business. Get details about the permitting process and privacy status of permit data. Links to a model policy prohibiting firearms at work.
First Amendment Concepts for Protests in Cities Published Dec 1, 2017
Learn legal concepts related to First Amendment free speech rights in the U.S. and state of Minnesota Constitutions and how cities balance them with public safety concerns. Read about speech that is not protected, ways to deal with unpopular ideas and how others may react to them. Describes how cities may choose to regulate protests, marches and demonstrations in city parks or streets by ordinance.
Gas and Electric Utility FranchisingPublished Dec 5, 2016
Learn about city gas and electric utility franchising authority, especially authority to charge franchise fees. This memo includes links to two model franchise ordinances incorporating city rights under state law and many of the Minnesota Public Utility Commission’s right-of-way management rules, and two sample franchise fee ordinances.
Lawful GamblingPublished Jul 20, 2018
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 percent funds,” investigation fees, trade areas, and local gambling taxes. Links to model ordinance and premises permit forms.
Liquor Licensing and RegulationPublished Aug 25, 2017
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. Links to a model liquor licensing ordinance.
Meetings of City CouncilsPublished Oct 11, 2018
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.
Newspaper PublicationPublished May 15, 2018
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.
Official Conflict of InterestPublished Dec 4, 2018
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 model resolutions for contracting with an interested council member.
Planning Commission GuidePublished Aug 3, 2018
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.
Procedures for Paying City ClaimsPublished Jul 14, 2017
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, requirements for making prompt payments, use of facsimile signatures, rules for council approval of payments, and more. Brief attention is given to home rule charter cities.
Public NuisancesPublished Apr 19, 2018
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. Links to a model nuisance ordinance.
Public Purpose ExpendituresPublished Aug 20, 2018
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.
Purchase and Sale of Real PropertyPublished Oct 18, 2018
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.
Regulating City Rights of WayPublished Sep 12, 2017
Learn why cities should manage their streets and sidewalks, boulevards and ditches by enacting a right-of-way ordinance. Understand the powers of state law cities can use by adopting an ordinance, including the authority to regulate utilities and others using right-of-ways and enables communities to better meet utility service lateral locate responsibilities. Addresses mandatory underground placement of utilities. Links to model ordinances.
Regulating Peddlers, Solicitors and Transient MerchantsPublished Oct 1, 2018
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.
Securing Payment of Utility ChargesPublished Oct 24, 2018
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 model forms involved in seeking payment of utility charges.
Special Assessment ToolkitPublished Aug 18, 2017
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 May 1, 2018
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.
Subdivision Guide for CitiesPublished Sep 1, 2018
Learn the framework of municipal subdivision regulation. Find guidance on subdivision ordinance drafting, adoption, administration and enforcement. This memo covers development agreements, platting, 60-day rule and 120-day rule plus shoreland management and subdivision ordinances. It addresses city costs, interim ordinances (moratoriums) variances, park dedication and much more.
Vacation of City StreetsPublished May 3, 2018
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 Jul 6, 2017
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.