North Metro Mayors Minute for September 2020 Board Meeting
Our first hybrid meeting occurred this week with people convening in Ramsey City Hall and joining us via Zoom. Attendance in both was great! This may be the way we meet for a while. Thank you, Ramsey, for hosting.
We heard from Rep. Kristin Bahner that this is the best time of year. She’s finding more connections and engagement with the community during election season. Senator Michelle Benson shared a supplemental budget may happen and bonding bill discussions continue. Rep. Kristin Robbins talked about CARES Act dollars being a game changer for small businesses. Senator John Hoffman commended NMMA for putting politics aside to work on regional issues; he counts on us to tell him like it is.
A preview of the 2021 budget and dues shows a small decrease in both. Action to adopt will be requested at the November meeting. A good discussion about candidate forums and COVID resulted in a recommitment to offer forums to our 59 legislative candidates this fall.
Updates from the cities and community partners covered several topics including how the CARES Act dollars are being invested. It’s a mix of uses, targeting small businesses, nonprofits and employees. In other news, some cities are opening new buildings or remodeled spaces, including Brooklyn Park, Andover and New Hope (next season opening for the completed aquatic park). Ramsey is planning for a public works facility to break ground this fall and a water plant probably next spring. New Brighton is thankful traffic counts are down because of COVID and the I-35W construction hasn’t rerouted as much traffic on to local roads as expected. A few cities are responding to positive COVID cases in their police departments.
I’ll follow up with city managers and administrators next week on an idea to bring a national survey on examining public opinion on today’s safety priorities, offered through Polco.
Friday trivia learned today while networking with MnDOT: Traffic counts during COVID are down about 10% statewide; in the metro area counts are down 20%. Evening rush hours are starting to pick up. Other tidbits from MnDOT: MnDOT projects an 8% decline in revenue since February. They are discussing budget cuts, including delays on some projects. Good news is they refinanced some bonds at a low rate of 1.26% for a savings of $57 million in debt payments over the next two years.
Stay safe. Feel free to reach out anytime. Thanks. J