Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Court sides with League of Minnesota Cities on payment of local government aid and other appropriations

Earlier today, Chief Ramsey County District Court Judge Kathleen Gearin issued an order directing the State’s Commissioner of Management and Budget to “make payments such as LGA [local government aid] payments that have already been lawfully appropriated” in the event of a state government shutdown. The ruling--as it stands--ensures that cities should receive LGA appropriations on July 20, as scheduled.

Judge Gearin’s ruling is consistent with arguments the League presented in a response to the State Attorney General’s petition on funding of core functions of government. That response was co-signed by the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities and the City of St. Paul. In the response and in verbal testimony at a subsequent hearing, the League maintained that standing appropriations, including LGA, market value homestead credit (MVHC) reimbursement, police and fire pension aids, and utility value replacement aid for cities should not be withheld or delayed if a shutdown occurs.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The impending state government shutdown -- thought for the day

In Minnesota 854 cities, 87 counties, 1,786 townships, 519 school districts – all with elected officials who don’t always see eye-to-eye – manage every year to agree to a budget, on time.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Community Conversations continue in Moorhead and Bemidji
The cities of Moorhead and Bemidji recently became the fifth and sixth communities to complete a series of Cities, Services, and Funding Community Conversations sponsored by the League of Minnesota Cities. Each city hosted four conversations designed to learn resident preferences for tough budgeting choices that cities will need to make in the near future, and how those choices will affect service delivery.

On Saturday, the Bemidji Pioneer reported that:
In the final meeting, open to the public, the group focused on the question: What are the most important considerations to keep in mind in making these tough choices? All suggestions and ideas were accepted and then each person voted for his or her top three answers.

In no particular order, some of the most-liked answers were: health, safety and well-being of area residents; using science, i.e. water quality, to ensure health and safety; quality of life and livability; combined services, such as a joint powers system; fair tax or a sales/consumption tax; having a vision or intelligent plan in city design; consolidation and sharing of services (such as between cities or a city-county partnership, for example); and consideration of vulnerable populations through an advocate, to hear them and listen to their needs.

Next up: the City of Eveleth