We have a great conference lined up! The annual CGMC Summer Conference will be held Aug. 2-4, 2017 at the Bigwood Event Center in Fergus Falls. During the conference you will:
- Learn about emerging trends and challenges facing Greater Minnesota communities
- Find out how the results of the 2017 legislative session could impact your community
- Hear legislators’ insights about the ever-evolving relationship between state and local governments
- Explore the city of Fergus Falls during a city-sponsored dinner and by taking part in one of four city-tour options
- Learn about new services, businesses and organizations at the exhibitors’ tradeshow
- Forge connections with other city leaders from across Greater Minnesota by sharing your ideas, concerns and hopes for the future
Please note that the CGMC has a block of rooms reserved at the Country Inn & Suites, which is adjacent to the event center, at a discounted rate of $99.99 (plus tax). The deadline to book a room under the reduced rate is July 2. Call the hotel at 218-739-2211 to make a reservation.
If you have any questions about the CGMC Summer Conference, please contact Julie Liew at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-259-1917. We hope to see you there!
Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities
Contact: Julie Liew
Rural voters sent a loud message last fall that they felt left out and left behind. State legislators should be deeply concerned about the lack of progress on rural priorities.
Who: Sara Carlson, Mayor of Alexandria and CGMC President; Dave Smiglewski, Mayor of Granite Falls and CGMC Vice President; Craig Clark, Austin City Administrator, and other Greater Minnesota city leaders
What: Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities Press Conference
When: 11 a.m., Thursday, May 11
Where: Press Conference Room B971, State Capitol basement
There are only a few weeks left in the legislative session, but lawmakers are still far from reaching agreements on top issues like LGA, bonding, transportation, workforce housing and environmental regulatory reform. It’s apparent that we need to make an extra push in these remaining days of session to demand that legislators take action to address the needs and concerns of Greater Minnesota communities. To relay this message, we are asking all Greater Minnesota city officials and community leaders to join us for a special CGMC Lobby Day and Ice cream on Thursday, May 11.
The tentative schedule for the day is as follows:
- 10 a.m. – Legislative status update and messaging (Room 500 South in the State Office Building, located across the street from the State Capitol)
- 11 a.m. – Press Conference on Greater Minnesota issues (State Capitol Press Conference Room B971)
- Afternoon – Meetings with legislators (attendees should make appointments with their own legislators; we may also ask some attendees to participate in additional meetings with key legislators)
- 2-3 p.m. – Ice cream social with legislators and legislative staff (tentatively scheduled to be held in the basement of the State Capitol)
Lobby Day is FREE to attend, but we ask that you RSVP to RSVP@flaherty-hood.com by Tuesday, May 9. Free parking is available at the Flaherty & Hood office located at 525 Park St. in St. Paul, just one block from the State Capitol.
We hope to get as many city officials to attend as possible! Please share this Lobby Day Flyer and encourage other city officials and staff to join us.
If you have any questions, please contact Julie Liew at email@example.com or 651-259-1917.
The CGMC has scheduled its 2017 Labor & Employee Relations Seminars for later this spring! Please mark your calendar for the below date and location that works for you:
- Thursday, June 1 in Brainerd
- Thursday, June 8 in New Ulm
The seminar is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m.
The seminars focus on practical and legal solutions for providing services and managing employees in local government. They will provide relevant and timely advice on the following topics (and more!):
- Recruiting and hiring practices
- Variable pay systems
- A union’s perspective on negotiations
- Handling employee groups that can’t get along
- Updates on settlements, arbitrations and the Legislature
We hope all units of government will send representatives (e.g., managers and administrators, human resources personnel and elected officials) to this valuable program.
Please complete the registration form today as space is limited! You can in send the form by fax (651-225-9088), email (RSVP@flaherty-hood.com) or mail (Flaherty & Hood, P.A., 525 Park St., Suite 470, St. Paul, MN 55103).
For more information, contact Karina Patino at 651-259-1919 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CGMC is currently accepting proposals from cities interested in hosting the 2018 CGMC Summer Conference. Since this year’s conference will be in Fergus Falls, we are seeking a southern or south-central Minnesota city (or group of cities) to host in 2018. This RFP outlines the details involved in being the host city, as well as the proposed conference dates and how to apply. For additional information, please view this sample conference agenda. Proposals are due May 15.
If you have any questions about hosting the summer conference, please contact Julie Liew at email@example.com.
CGMC Legislative Action Day was a huge success!
More than 120 city officials and business leaders from nearly 50 cities attended the CGMC’s annual lobbying event on Wednesday. There was also great attendance from legislators at the reception and dinner that capped off the day at Mancini’s — a bipartisan mix of more than 65 legislators representing both rural and urban districts came to the event.
Legislative Action Day began with a membership meeting in which attendees were apprised of the CGMC’s top legislative priorities and given tips on how to lobby at the Capitol. The meeting was followed by lunch and a panel discussion featuring Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook), Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) and Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City). Attendees then spent the afternoon meeting with legislators at the Capitol and urging them to support CGMC proposals on LGA, workforce housing, bonding and other issues. A copy of the lobbying materials that were given to legislators can be found here.
A big thank you to all who participated in this year’s event!
More than 100 CGMC members are registered to attend our Legislative Action Day this Wednesday, Feb. 1! We are excited to have such a large turnout and look forward to seeing many of you there. Here are few notes about the day for those planning to attend:
Location – Best Western Capitol Ridge
For those who have attended Legislative Action Day before, please note that we will be at a new location this year – the Best Western Capitol Ridge, located at 161 St Anthony Ave. in St Paul. This is within short walking distance of the Capitol complex.
The Best Western Capitol Ridge has a parking lot that will be free for CGMC members to use. However, the hotel has informed us that due to another event being held there the same day, there is a possibility that their lot could fill up. If that happens, you are welcome to park in the lot at the League of Minnesota Cities (145 University Ave. W) or at our office at 525 Park St., both of which are within walking distance of both the Best Western and the Capitol complex.
The day will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a program featuring a legislative update, overview of the CGMC’s top issues and some lobbying tips. Lunch will be served at approximately noon, during which we will hear from a legislative panel featuring Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook), Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) and Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City). After lunch, members will head to the Capitol complex for meetings with legislators. Remember – attendees are responsible for scheduling their own appointments with legislators. Here is the full agenda for the day.
Legislative Reception & Dinner
The legislative reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Mancini’s Char House & Lounge, located at 531 7th St W. in St. Paul. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. Mancini’s has a large parking lot, so there will be ample free parking available. If you are staying at the Best Western or the Holiday Inn, you may want to inquire at the front desk about the availability of shuttle service to and from the restaurant if you would prefer not to drive.
DowntimeIf you are looking for somewhere to hang out between meetings, you are welcome to come back to the conference room at the Best Western (the room will be available until 5 p.m.) or you can go to the Flaherty & Hood Office, located at 525 Park St., Suite 470. We also encourage you to take a tour of the newly remodeled Capitol building!
If you signed up for Legislative Action Day but can no longer attend, please let me know ASAP. We had to start a waiting list due to the high number of attendees this year, so if you can’t make it there may be someone else who is interested in taking your place.
Spending the night in St. Paul
There might still be hotel rooms available for those who want to spend the night in St. Paul. A block of rooms is reserved for the CGMC for the nights of Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at both the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge ($139+tax, call 651-227-8711 to book) and the Holiday Inn St. Paul Downtown ($140+tax, call 651-225-1515 to book).
If you have any additional questions about Legislative Action Day, please contact Julie Liew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration is now open for the CGMC’s Legislative Action Day 2017! It will be held Wednesday, Feb. 1 at the newly renovated conference space at the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge (formerly the Kelly Inn) in St. Paul, located one block from the State Office Building. (For those who have attended Legislative Action Day before, please note that this year’s event is being held at a new location).
The day will kick off with a brief legislative update in the morning followed by lunch featuring a yet-to-be-determined speaker or speakers. Members will then spend the afternoon meeting with their legislators at the House and Senate offices (members should make their own appointments for meetings with legislators between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. that day). The daylong event concludes with a legislative reception and dinner at Mancini’s Char House & Lounge that evening.
Legislative Action Day is always a great opportunity to build connections between local officials and legislators and advocate for the priorities of Greater Minnesota cities. To attend, please fill out this registration form and email, fax or mail it to the listed contact information. Please RSVP by Jan. 18.
For those who want to spend the night in St. Paul, a block of rooms is reserved for the CGMC for the nights of Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at both the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge ($139+tax, call 651-227-8711 to book) and the Holiday Inn St. Paul Downtown ($140+tax, call 651-225-1515 to book). Members are encouraged to book their rooms early as the blocks close one month before the event.
If you have any questions about Legislative Action Day, please contact Julie Liew at email@example.com or 651-259-1917.
Thank you to everyone who attended the CGMC Fall Conference last week at Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center! Due to the forecast predicting a blizzard for much of the state, the CGMC Board made a last-minute decision to condense the two-day conference into one action-packed day on Thursday, Nov. 17. Despite the threatening weather, more than 85 city leaders representing 44 cities attended the conference. We appreciate everyone’s flexibility and patience as we juggled agenda items around to fit almost everything into less than eight hours!
Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charles Zelle kicked off the conference Thursday afternoon with a presentation on the transportation needs facing our state and the ways city leaders can work together to help convince the Legislature to invest more money into transportation. You can watch video of his speech here and read his Power Point presentation here.
After Zelle’s presentation, CGMC lobbyist Bradley Peterson provided an in-depth analysis of the 2016 election and what it could mean for Greater Minnesota issues this legislative session. Peterson then moderated a panel discussion on the topic of legislative reform featuring legislators Sen. Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake), Sen. Kent Eken (DFL-Twin Valley), Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell) and Rep. Mike Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park). Later that afternoon, University of Minnesota educator Ryan Pesch gave a presentation on “Rewriting the Rural Narrative” and led small-group discussions on ways communities can welcome and attract newcomers.
In the evening, attendees were treated to an entertaining and informative presentation by Washington Post reporter Chris Ingraham. Ingraham is the reporter who got Minnesotans riled up last year when he wrote an article that named Red Lake County “America’s Worst Place to Live” (based on data from the “national amenities index”) and then further raised eyebrows when he decided to move to Red Lake Falls in May of this year. Ingraham talked about his transition from living in an urban area near Washington D.C. to small-town Minnesota and the challenges and opportunities it has afforded him and his family. He also shared ideas about how communities can attract more residents by promoting benefits such as short commutes, job openings, telecommuting options and low home prices. You can read more about Ingraham’s presentation in this article from the Alexandria Echo Press.
In addition to speakers and presentations, the conference also included a membership meeting in which members discussed and voted on the 2017 legislative policy positions. To review the adopted positions, click on the following subject areas: Annexation & Land Use, Economic Development, Environment & Energy, LGA & Property Taxes and Transportation. You can also read more about the top priorities for the upcoming legislative in this CGMC press release that was sent to the media at the conclusion of the conference.
Thanks again to everyone who attended the conference – it was a great event despite the shortened time! Please check out the photo gallery on our Facebook page to see pictures from the conference.
A PDF version of this press release is available here.
For Immediate Release: Nov. 17, 2016
Contact: Julie Liew, firstname.lastname@example.org
ALEXANDRIA, MINN.—With rural legislators now making up more than 60 percent of the Minnesota House and Senate Republican majorities, city leaders from across Greater Minnesota are calling for a renewed focus on the needs of rural communities.
A bipartisan mix of nearly 100 city officials from throughout Greater Minnesota attended the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities’ (CGMC) annual fall conference this week in Alexandria, where the group set its legislative priorities for the upcoming year. Much of the discussion centered on the notion that after two years of bipartisan gridlock, their communities cannot afford to go another year without an increase in Local Government (LGA) and key investments in infrastructure.
“The election results made it clear that voters in Greater Minnesota wanted to shake things up,” said Sara Carlson, mayor of Alexandria and president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC). “With such a strong rural majority in the House and Senate, it’s time for our state leaders to make rural issues a top priority.”
The CGMC determined that passing two hold-overs from the 2016 legislative session — the failed tax and bonding bills — will be their top priority for the upcoming year.
The 2016 tax bill, which was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Dayton due to a drafting error, included a $20 million increase to the LGA program, which helps cities provide important services and keep property taxes in check. At the CGMC conference, city leaders expressed frustration that the modest increase in last year’s bill did not come into fruition. In 2017, they will advocate for $45.5 million increase in LGA funding, the amount needed to bring LGA back to its 2002 level.
“Cities continue to face rising costs. After three years without a significant LGA increase, city budgets and property-taxpayers are starting to feel the strain,” said Granite Falls Mayor Dave Smiglewski, who serves as vice-president of the CGMC.
In addition to fighting for more LGA, city leaders vowed to push for a bonding bill that addresses infrastructure needs in Greater Minnesota. Specifically, they are calling on the Legislature to pass a bonding bill that includes $167 million for grant and loan programs that provide funding for clean water infrastructure.
“There was bipartisan support for funding these programs in the bonding bill last year and we hope that support will continue,” Smiglewski said.
As the CGMC prepares for the start of the legislative session on Jan. 3, 2017, city leaders are hopeful that rural issues will be front and center now that the election gave new power to rural Republican legislators, who now hold key leadership positions in both houses.
“The Republicans won the majority by winning seats in Greater Minnesota,” Carlson said. “It should be a no-brainer that the Legislature will prioritize important programs for rural Minnesota this session.”
The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization representing 88 cities outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The Coalition educates legislators about issues important to Greater Minnesota. Visit the CGMC online at greatermncities.org.