Category archives
Summer Conference

A variety of important issues including Minnesota’s fiscal health, the relationship between the state and local governments, the future of the state’s manufacturing industry, the arts and the upcoming 2020 Census were explored at the CGMC’s annual summer conference, which was held Aug. 2-4 in Fergus Falls. Throughout the three-day conference participants were also treated to tours of city attractions like Fergus Falls’ historic downtown and the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center, and an awards dinner that honored 26 legislators and city leaders for their work on behalf of Greater Minnesota during the 2017 Legislative Session.

Read on to find out more about the conference highlights. To see photos from the event, please check out our conference photo album on Facebook.

Presentation performs a ‘checkup’ on Minnesota’s fiscal health

CGMC Executive Director Bradley Peterson kicked off the conference by performing a “checkup” on Minnesota’s fiscal health. During his presentation, he provided analysis on the recently passed state budget and past fiscal trends to determine whether the state was still on solid financial footing. He concluded that while the state is currently healthy, there are some concerns on the horizon that could lead to budget troubles in the future. You can view the Power Point presentation here.

Veteran Capitol Press Corps journalists participate in panel discussion

One of the highlights of the conference was a panel discussion titled “The Minnesota Capitol Press Corps: Front-Row Seats at the Circus” featuring journalists Brian Bakst of Minnesota Public Radio, Lori Sturdevant of the Star Tribune and Bill Werner of Minnesota News Network, each of whom has at least 20 years of experience covering state politics.
 
The panelists discussed everything from whether Greater Minnesota gets the news coverage it deserves to the biggest challenges they have faced in their years covering the state Legislature and lawmakers. They also provided advice to city leaders on ways to can keep the media — and the public — interested in the issues that are important to their cities. All three panelists said the most important thing city leaders can do is be in touch with local and state media and keep sharing their stories.

In addition to participating in the panel discussion, the journalists also used the CGMC Summer Conference as a chance to talk to city leaders and get caught up on Greater Minnesota issues. Sturdevant wrote an excellent editorial for the Sunday Star Tribune about city officials’ concerns about lingering unmet needs. Werner also did a great story and a radio interview with CGMC President Sara Carlson about issues that are important to the CGMC and rural communities.

You can watch the full panel discussion here.

Teaching cities to unlock their creative assets for economic success

Springboard for the Arts Executive Director Laura Zabel and Rural Program Director Michele Anderson led a presentation and discussion about ways cities can use the arts to help drive economic development. They provided examples of how rural cities of all sizes are utilizing the arts as a powerful tool to engage their communities, promote tourism and enhance quality of life. In their presentation, they shared techniques that communities across Minnesota and the nation have used to address local challenges and opportunities related to the arts.
 
Their presentation also included some small-group discussion and an exercise in which attendees were encouraged to design a flag that showcases their city. The flags were displayed on Wednesday evening at the city-sponsored dinner at Pebble Lake Golf Course.

Bob Kill shares an update on the ‘State of Manufacturing’

Enterprise Minnesota President and CEO Bob Kill provided the Thursday luncheon keynote address on the “State of Manufacturing” in Minnesota. During his presentation, he shared the results of a comprehensive survey of manufacturers across the state. The survey explored a wide range of issues such as confidence in the economy, the state’s business climate, future concerns and the prospects for business and job growth. You can read his full presentation here.

Legislative panel discusses the relationship between the state and local governments

One of the themes that emerged from the 2017 legislative session was the topic of local government control: what issues should be left to local governments to determine and when should the state step in? This topic was explored during a panel discussion featuring four state legislators who have all previously served as elected local government officials: Sen. Matt Little (DFL-Lakeville, former mayor of Lakeville), Sen. Paul Utke (R-Park Rapids, former Park Rapids City Council member), Rep. Cheryl Youakim (DFL-Hopkins, former Hopkins City Council member) and Rep. Jeff Backer (R-Browns Valley, former mayor of Browns Valley).
 
In addition to the discussion local government control, it’s important to note that the legislators were asked about the prospects for a bonding bill in 2018. They all agreed that a bonding bill is likely to pass next year, with a size ranging between $800 million and $1.3 billion.

Presentation provides an update on the Minnesota Rural Equity Project

In 2016, the CGMC and our sister organization, the Greater Minnesota Partnership, joined forces with Growth & Justice and the Minnesota Asset Building Coalition on the Minnesota Rural Equity Project, an ambitious endeavor that aims to reduce economic and racial disparities both within Greater Minnesota and between Greater Minnesota and the metro area. Presenters Dane Smith, Anna Odegaard and Matt Schmit provided an update on the project’s accomplishments in 2017 and outlined potential issues that the project could focus on in the future, such as childcare, housing and workforce development.

State demographer stresses the importance of preparing for the 2020 Census

With the 2020 Census just around the corner, State Demographer Susan Brower provided a presentation about the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program and why it is critical to ensuring your city gets adequate state funding. She noted that the LUCA program is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for local governments to make sure the Census Bureau has a complete and accurate address list of all the housing units in your city before the 2020 Census forms are mailed. Brower provided information on why the program is important and how cities can participate. You can see her Power Point Presentation here and video of her presentation is available here.

CGMC elects 2017-18 officers

At the full membership meeting on Aug. 4, members elected a new slate of officers to lead the organization for the rest of the year and through the 2018 legislative session. The new officers are:

  • President – Dave Smiglewski, Mayor of Granite Falls
  • 1st Vice President – Ron Johnson, Bemidji City Councilor
  • 2nd Vice President – Audrey Nelsen, Willmar City Councilor
  • Secretary – Tom Stiehm, Mayor of Austin
  • Treasurer – Scott Hutchins, City of Moorhead

Smiglewski replaces Alexandria Mayor Sara Carlson, who served as CGMC president for the previous year. We extend our gratitude to Mayor Carlson for being an excellent president over the past 12 months!

Exploring Fergus Falls

While the conference mainly focused on informational sessions, there were also several opportunities for attendees to have fun, mingle and explore the city of Fergus Falls. On Wednesday evening, the city hosted a rib dinner and live music at the city-owned Pebble Lake Golf Course. Later that evening, attendees belted out tunes during karaoke night at the conference hotel, the Country Inn & Suites.

On Thursday morning, attendees had their choice of one of four tours: a downtown walking tour, a “lakes & prairies” tour featuring stops at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center and Lake Alice, a bike tour along the Central Lakes Trail or golf at Pebble Lake Golf Course.

A special thanks to Fergus Falls Mayor Ben Schierer, City Administrator Andrew Bremseth, Jean Bowman at the Fergus Falls Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, city staff and the staff at the Bigwood Event Center/Country Inn & Suites for being excellent hosts!

Awards dinner honors legislators, city leaders

The capstone of the conference was a cocktail reception (hosted by sponsor Bolton & Menk) and awards dinner held Thursday evening. The dinner recognized 26 legislators, city officials and other leaders who were instrumental in advancing CGMC’s goals during the 2017 session. The full list of award winners can be found on the CGMC website.

Special thanks to our conference exhibitors!

We want to extend a special thank-you to our conference exhibitors, whose continued support of the CGMC helps us put on events like this. They are:

– Aiphone
– Apex Efficiency Solutions
– Apex Engineering Group
– Bolton & Menk, Inc.
– Commercial Recreation Specialists
– Community and Economic Development Associates
– Cooper’s Office Supply
– Ehlers
– Flaherty & Hood, P.A
– Four Seasons Energy Efficient Roofing
– Interstate Engineering
– Landmark Environmental, LLC
– LJA
– Miller Architecture Inc. 
– Moore Engineering Inc. 
– National Insurance Services
– National Joint Powers Alliance
– NFP
– Northland Securities Inc.
– PFM Financial Advisors LLC
– PMA Financial Network
– Springsted Incorporated
– SwedeBro
– Widseth Smith Nolting
– WSB

The  CGMC honored 26 legislators and city leaders at our annual 2017 Legislative Awards Dinner, which was held Aug. 3 in Fergus Falls. A copy of the awards program handed out at the event can be found here. Click on the award recipients’ name to read a press release that outlines their accomplishments over the past year.

Legislator of Distinction- Tax Policy

Legislator of Distinction- Economic Development

Legislator of Distinction- Environment

Legislator of Distinction- Annexation

Legislator of Distinction- Transportation

First-Term Legislator of the Year – Awarded to legislators who are currently in serving their first-term and who were particularly helpful in advancing CGMC priorities during the preceding session.

Rural Leadership Award – Awarded to legislators who helped advance CGMC priorities in several program areas during the preceding session.

Minnesota Legacy Award – Awarded—upon their retirement—to legislators who have demonstrated unfailing commitment and made extraordinary contributions to Greater Minnesota during their legislative careers.

  • Sen. Lyle Koenen (DFL-Clara City)            
  • Sen. Rod Skoe (DFL-Clearbrook)

Excellence in Service (elected officials) – Awarded to CGMC elected officials who demonstrated knowledge, leadership and active participation in CGMC program areas over the preceding session and/or an extended period of time.

Excellence in Service (city staff) – Awarded to CGMC city managers/administrators or city staff who demonstrated knowledge, leadership and active participation in CGMC program areas over the preceding session and/or an extended period of time.

Jack Murray Award for Distinguished Rural Leadership (retiring elected officials) – Awarded—upon their retirement from public service—to CGMC mayors and elected officials who have made special contributions to the CGMC over a multi-year career. The award is named after Jack Murray, former mayor of International Falls, who was instrumental in the CGMC’s formation.

Bob Filson Award for Distinguished Rural Leadership (retiring staff) – Awarded—upon their retirement from public service—to CGMC city managers/administrators or key staff members who made special contributions to the CGMC over a multi-year career. The award is named after Bob Filson, former city manager of Worthington, who showed consistent and relentless dedication to whatever mattered to the CGMC and its members.

Friend of the CGMC – Awarded to individuals (not legislators or CGMC city officials) or organizations who have helped advance CGMC priorities and/or made important contributions to Greater Minnesota.

President’s Award – Awarded to the outgoing CGMC president.

The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities would like to extend a big thank-you to the 25 businesses and organizations who exhibited at our Summer Conference in Fergus Falls on Aug. 3:

– Aiphone
– Apex Efficiency Solutions
– Apex Engineering Group
– Bolton & Menk, Inc.
– Commercial Recreation Specialists
– Community and Economic Development Associates
– Cooper’s Office Supply
– Ehlers
– Flaherty & Hood, P.A
– Four Seasons Energy Efficient Roofing
– Interstate Engineering
– Landmark Environmental, LLC
– LJA
– Miller Architecture Inc. 
– Moore Engineering Inc. 
– National Insurance Services
– National Joint Powers Alliance
– NFP
– Northland Securities Inc.
– PFM Financial Advisors LLC
– PMA Financial Network
– Springsted Incorporated
– SwedeBro
– Widseth Smith Nolting
– WSB

The CGMC is excited to welcome Bob Kill, CEO of Enterprise Minnesota, as the keynote speaker at the CGMC Summer Conference at noon on Thursday, Aug. 3. He will provide an update on the health of manufacturing statewide and how manufacturers in different regions of Minnesota view current and future prospects for their industries.
 
Kill, a long-time manufacturing executive and well-known spokesperson for Minnesota’s manufacturing industry, is regularly quoted in national and regional media on manufacturing trends and industry outlook. He has appeared before the Minnesota State Legislature and the U.S. Congress emphasizing the high value of manufacturing to our economy. He received national recognition in 2010 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST/MEP) , as Group Innovator, for the State of Manufacturing strategy. In 2011, he was recognized by Twin Cities Business Magazine as “one of 200 Minnesotans you should know.”

The CGMC Summer Conference will be held Aug. 2-4 at the Bigwood Event Center in Fergus Falls. The full conference schedule can be found here.

We are now less than a month away from the CGMC Summer Conference in Fergus Falls!

Thank you to everyone who has already registered. For those who have not yet booked a hotel room for the conference, please note that the Country Inn & Suites has agreed to extend the deadline to book a room under our discounted rate of $99.99 until Monday, July 10. After that date, the cost will go up the regular rate. We strongly encourage you to book a room ASAP so that you can take advantage of this lower price. Call the hotel at 218-739-2211 to make a reservation.

The Summer Conference will be held Aug. 2-4, 2017 at the Bigwood Event Center in Fergus Falls. To register, please fill out this registration form and submit it via email (RSVP@flaherty-hood.com), fax (651-225-9088) or mail (Coalition of Greater MN Cities, c/o Dana Johnston, 525 Park St., Suite 470, St. Paul, MN 55103).

You can view the full conference agenda here. Some of the highlights include:

  • A recap of the legislative session and how its results will impact your community
  • A panel discussion featuring state legislators who formerly served in local government
  • A keynote luncheon on “The State of Manufacturing” by Bob Kill, CEO of Enterprise Minnesota
  • Presentations and interactive discussions about how rural communities across the nation are utilizing the arts to drive their local economies
  • A panel discussion featuring journalists who cover the MN Legislature
  • Opportunities to explore the city of Fergus Falls during a city-sponsored dinner and by taking part in one of four city-tour options
  • …and much more!

If you have any questions about the CGMC Summer Conference, please contact Julie Liew at jlliew@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1917. We hope you’ll join us in Fergus Falls!

The annual CGMC Summer Conference will be held Aug. 2-4, 2017 at the Bigwood Event Center in Fergus Falls. During the three-day conference attendees will:

  • Find out how the results of the 2017 legislative session will impact your community
  • Hear legislators’ insights about the ever-evolving relationship between state and local governments
  • See how rural communities are using art as an economic driver and learn about ways your city can take advantage of similar opportunities
  • Enjoy a panel discussion in which members of the MN Capitol Press Corps will discuss the joys and challenges of covering the “legislative circus”
  • 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
  • … and much more!

To register for the conference, please fill out this registration form and submit it via email (RSVP@flaherty-hood.com), fax (651-225-9088) or mail (Coalition of Greater MN Cities, c/o Dana Johnston, 525 Park St., Suite 470, St. Paul, MN 55103). You can view the conference agenda here. Please register by July 24. 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 jlliew@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1917.

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

To register for the conference, please fill out this registration form and email it to RSVP@flaherty-hood.com or mail it to the address listed on the form. A full agenda will be available soon.

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 jlliew@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1917. We hope to see you there!

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 jlliew@flaherty-hood.com.

CGMC Executive Director Tim Flaherty and environmental attorney Daniel Marx led a webinar on Sept. 8 to provide information about the challenges Greater Minnesota cities face in regards to water quality regulations and to discuss strategies to help cities address these challenges. Those who were unable to watch the webinar during the live steam can view it here: greatermncities.org/cgmc-tools/environmental-challenges/. A PDF version of the Power Point presentation used during the webinar can also be found here.

The presentation covers the following topics:

  • A brief overview of the water quality regulatory history
  • Discussion of the current pending regulations and cost implications that cities should be prepared for
  • Information on cities’ legal rights with respect to wastewater permitting (for more detailed information on this, read this “Know Your Rights” handout)
  • Discussion of the CGMC Environmental Action Fund priorities and agenda

We encourage our members to watch the webinar and share it with other staff members and elected officials in your city. If you have any questions about the webinar, the CGMC’s Environmental Action Fund or how current or proposed water quality regulations may affect your city, please contact Daniel at dmmarx@flaherty-hood.com.

Each year the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities honors legislators, city officials and others who had a particularly strong positive impact on Greater Minnesota during the preceding legislative session or during the course of their careers. This year’s award winners were honored during our annual Legislative Awards Dinner, which was held July 21 in Austin, Minn. To see photos of the award winners, visit our Facebook page.

The 2016 CGMC Award winners are as follows:

Legislator of Distinction Award – Awarded to legislators who played key roles in the CGMC’s policy success or advancing CGMC priorities during the preceding session. Can be awarded to legislators from all parts of the state, and legislators can be awarded in more than one program area.

Legislator of Distinction- Tax Policy
– Sen. Rod Skoe (DFL- Clearbrook)
– Sen. Lyle Koenen (DFL- Clara City)
– Rep. Paul Marquart (DFL- Dilworth)
– Rep. Paul Anderson (R- Starbuck)

Legislator of Distinction- Economic Development
– Rep. Pat Garofalo (R- Farmington)
– Rep. Erik Simonson (DFL- Duluth)
– Sen. Vicki Jensen (DFL- Owatonna)

Legislator of Distinction- Environment
– Rep. Paul Torkelson (R- Hanska)

Rural Leadership Award – Awarded to legislators who helped advance CGMC priorities in several program areas during the preceding session.
– Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL- Cook)
– Sen. Kent Eken (DFL- Twin Valley)

Excellence in Service (Elected Officials) – Awarded to CGMC elected officials who demonstrated knowledge, leadership and active participation in CGMC program areas over the preceding session and/or an extended period of time.
– Mayor Cliff Barth, Breckenridge
– Mayor Mike Poellinger, La Crescent
– Council Member Audrey Nelsen, Willmar

Excellence in Service (Appointed Officials) – Awarded to CGMC city managers/administrators or city staff who demonstrated knowledge, leadership and active participation in CGMC program areas over the preceding session and/or an extended period of time.
– City Clerk/Administrator Josh Malchow, Slayton
– City Manager Blaine Hill, Morris
– City Manager Chad Adams, Albert Lea
– Director of Public Services Roger Avelsgard, Breckenridge

Jack Murray Award for Distinguished Rural Leadership (retiring elected officials) – Awarded—upon their retirement from public service—to CGMC mayors and elected officials who have made special contributions to the CGMC over a multi-year career. The award is named after Jack Murray, former mayor of International Falls, who was instrumental in the CGMC’s formation.
– Council Member Sandra Means, Rochester
– Tim Strand, former mayor, St. Peter
– Council Member John Young, Hawley (posthumous award)

Friend of the CGMC – Awarded to individuals (not legislators or CGMC city officials) who were especially helpful to the CGMC during the preceding year.
– Jeff Freeman, Executive Director of the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority

Minnesota Legacy Award – Awarded—upon their retirement—to legislators who have demonstrated unfailing commitment and made extraordinary contributions to Greater Minnesota during their legislative careers.
– Sen. LeRoy Stumpf (DFL- Plummer)
– Sen. Kathy Sheran (DFL- Mankato)
– Rep. Kim Norton (DFL- Rochester)

President’s Award – Awarded to the outgoing CGMC president.
– Mayor Robert Broeder, Le Sueur