Things you learn at a North Metro Mayors Board meeting
Secretary of State Steve Simon was our guest speaker at the September board meeting, hosted by Maple Grove. We learned the presidential nominating primary for 2020 is expected to cost $12 million statewide. Cities will “not get left holding the bag,” Simon said. They will get reimbursed expenses.
Absentee voting begins Jan. 17, 2020. The presidential nominating primary is on March 3. Watch for community outreach this fall to inform voters of changes in this election.
For the first time, voters in the presidential primary will need to ask for a Republican or Democrat ballot. This is not the case for any other elections. Your choice will be recorded and shared with the parties. This was mandated by the parties, who threatened to not allow any Minnesota delegates to the national convention if we didn’t comply. At first, the Legislature went one step further and made that information public data. Simon and others lobbied to peel that back. Now, only the parties will get your voting information.
Counties attended a training last week. Stay tuned for details on city training opportunities. Several members expressed concern over the impact on city staff caused by an extra election in the winter. This new one will have the potential challenge of people voting early and changing their minds because their candidate withdraws.
Members shared NMMA’s legislative work plan item on elections. Our goal is to have early voting opportunities that create administrative and financial efficiencies for local governments. Enhancements to voting by mail is one option. Simon was receptive.
A Few City Highlights
Ramsey has final designs done for important sections of Highway 10.
Spring Lake Park this week swore in Robert Nelson as the new mayor and Lisa Dircks as councilwoman. Welcome, Lisa, as the alternate to NMMA. I’m glad you were able to attend the meeting.
Blaine also has a new face. Welcome, Michelle Wolfe, the new city manager.
Andover is seeing progress on the landfill cleanup project.
Mounds View set fire to the old Skyline Motel. On purpose. It’s gone!
Welcome, Fridley, to NMMA! The vote was taken to add the city to the association. Fridley is seeing lots of construction. Note—The amended joint powers agreement, voted on at the meeting, will be sent out with instructions for city council action.
Champlin has 400 years of history at the intersection of the Rum and Mississippi Rivers. A bonding request of $6 million will help recreate the gathering place. We learned Mayor Karasek has a green thumb! See photo.
Coon Rapids is building 130+ single family detached townhomes on the site of an old shopping center that has been empty for many, many years.
Brooklyn Park is making progress on an arts and technology center that is a partnership with schools, cities and the state college system.
New Hope made the move to the new city hall!
Dayton has a public hearing coming up on their first proposed franchise fees.
Thank you, Maple Grove, for hosting the Board. From Mayor Steffenson we learned several things, including the city is experiencing growth in the med-tech industry, on a global scale. Project 100, located next to the hospital, is 100 acres of land set for mixed development, including a hospital expansion. About $40 million is left to raise for the completion of 610. It would be ideal timing if 610 could be done when I-94 is being resurfaced from Maple Grove to Clearwater in 2019-2021. Fernbrook Fields opened in August. Mixed funding helped build the artificial turf complex for youth sports.
Welcome, Thad Ludwiczak, with Do-Good.biz, integrated communication services. We learned his company does mailings for cities. He’s a new resource for getting info on cost effective and timely mailings.
Bob Schlichte, Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, will keep us in the loop on the annual leadership training. Dates to be determined. If you’re interested in servant leadership, you’ll want to consider attending the two-day conference in Hinckley.
A new item came up in networking. The Builders Association issued a report in August that stipulates cities are overcharging for building permit fees. Matt Stemwedel connected us with Metro Cities, and they provided the attached memo and link for further information. Thanks, Patty Nauman and Metro Cities. https://www.housingaffordabilityinstitute.org/
Oct. 16, 11:30 a.m., Ramsey, Operating Committee
Nov. 20, 5:30, p.m., New Hope, Board Meeting
As always, feel free to reach out any time with questions or suggestions. Thanks Jill.
Jill Brown, Executive Director