News Categories: General News

14 Mar
By: Ruth Simpson 0

Township Day News Stories

Three stories covered Township Day in Minnesota.

Minnesota Public Radio did a story on Township Day that featured Taylor Township in Beltrami County.

The Mankato Free Press had a story on Township Day that quoted MAT District Director Sandy Hooker from Medo Township in Blue Earth County.

The Detroit Lakes Online discusses Township Day with Roger Winter, who currently chairs the Becker County Township Association.

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13 Mar
By: Ruth Simpson 0

MPR: Mark your calendar: Tuesday is Minnesota Township Day

All of Minnesota’s nearly 1,800 townships will hold their annual meetings Tuesday in a grassroots display of democracy known as Township Day.

It’s a time for residents to voice their concerns about local issues.

“Usually the elected officers provide a budget of what they’d like to see,” said Steve Fenske, an attorney with the Minnesota Association of Townships. “And then the voters sit and talk about whether they want to provide what’s in the proposed budget or whether they want to cut back.”

The meetings often tackle topics like road maintenance, tax levies and planning and zoning. The number of townships assuming that responsibility has grown over the last decade.

“It kind of changes over time, but [that happens] usually when they get frustrated and they want to see something different,” said Fenske. “Ten to 15 years ago, there was a big push [for townships to take over planning and zoning] because there were feedlot issues. Within the last couple of years there’s been issues about solar gardens and where are they placed.”

Townships also lobby at the state Legislature. State money for roads and broadband expansion are key issues this year.

Many of the state’s townships will also hold their elections Tuesday.

Read full story.

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08 Mar
By: Steve Fenske 0

2018 Session Update Week 3

Legislative committees are in full-swing this week, finishing updates from last year but also hearing bills. District 1 town officers joined us in St. Paul for their Lobby Day on Tuesday, with a great showing of legislators to meet them.

Broadband: Representative Sandy Layman, along with a bi-partisan group of 28 co-sponsors, introduced a bill to provide $51,480,000 to the State’s Boarder-to-Border Grant Program. This amount follows the recommendations of the Governor’s Broadband Taskforce. It represents a serious attempt to provide new broadband infrastructure to rural Minnesota. The bill contains no policy changes to maintain good momentum in the Broadband grant program. We are expecting an identical bill in the Senate next week.

Transportation: In a good sign, we continue to hear talk about money in the bonding bill for local roads. The District 1 officers asked legislators why a gas tax increase couldn’t get done. The response from GOP members has been that they believe there is something else that will work better. The problem is that we rarely hear an idea of what “something else” is. There is continued talk of making the auto parts dedication permanent, but we would like to hear the other proposals to serve town needs. We also continue to hear about the problem electric vehicles will pose to the transportation funding structure, but last year the legislature began addressing the problem with a tab surcharge to makeup for the gas tax money lost to electric vehicles.

Annexation: MAT expects a hearing on our Orderly Annexation clarification bill, SF 1749, in the coming weeks. Legislators have understood our message that towns and cities need to be able to rely on annexation agreements, or they are not worth anything and we will see more contested annexation cases.

No Net Gain / 30-Year Plan: Cari continues to take meetings on these topics, and found the most opposition in the Senate, where a small number of Senators appears to oppose any limitation that could limit the growth or public hunting land. We need the help of members on this issue. In particular, we need Senators to hear your stories of public land acquisition, the problems you are having with the PILT program, and your support of either of these bills. No Net Gain bills are House File 143 and Senate File 372. The 30 Year Plan bills are HF 586 and SF 1005.

Elections: Cari attended a hearing on election equipment, hearing from Secretary of State Steve Simon on the distribution of grant funds. Secretary Simon pointed out that, as most of us know the state was founded in 1858, and that is exactly the funding amount ($1,858) that went out to each prescient in the state. Cari addressed the committee on behalf of MAT and as a Head Election Judge for Harris Township. She received great feedback from the committee members, and built on the valuable partnership we have with the Secretary of State and his office.

On a final note, Senator Andrew Mathews and Representative Sondra Erickson moved out of committee a bill authorizing town boards to contribute town funds to food shelves. The bill would place towns in the same position as cities and counties regarding this power. It is not a controversial bill and is expected to pass easily.

2018 Bill Log

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02 Mar
By: Steve Fenske 0

2018 Session Update Week 2

Legislative Session 2018 – Week 2

The 2018 Session began February 20, with the House and Senate focusing on tax conformity (matching Minnesota state taxes to the federal system), securing funding for the legislature, and sexual harassment training. Committee hearings started but were mostly reviews and updates of events since the close of the 2017 session. The biggest news since then has been the new budget projection, showing a $329 million surplus – a very healthy Minnesota economy. Legislators are already talking about supplemental budgets if the tax conformity bill doesn’t eat up the surplus. This a ‘short’ session, meaning the legislature has about a month less to work. They are less interested in hearing controversial matters because they don’t have as much committee time available. This limits our expectations for the session.

Although the legislative session began last week, MAT’s government relations team has been busy for months. Our newest member, Cari Ann Alleman, has been arranging and taking meetings with legislators in their home districts, which has offered us much more time and attention than we are able to get in St. Paul. MAT has already seen success in contacts with legislators. Our Legislative and Research (L&R) meeting was held February 20 and 21. Over those two days, L&R members met with over 50 legislators, up from 18 last year. MAT members and District Directors have also held three District/County lobby days at the capitol. Its been a great showing of town officers.

MAT’s Legislative Priorities are based on work started last year, and updates on some issues are below.

Transportation: We heard from House Capital Investment Chair Dean Urdahl yesterday that he expects funding for local roads and bridges to be included in the bonding bill. This is great news for towns because last year’s transportation bill largely left out towns. We’ve also had discussion and good feedback regarding more dedicated town road funding or grant programs that will be available for local road and bridge repairs.

Broadband: A new Senate broadband bill, SF 2787, was introduced this week to appropriate $51,480,000, from the General Fund to the State’s Border-to-Border Broadband program. A companion bill is expected from the House soon. While there is good support for broadband, there continues to be disagreement about the reliability of wireless interest solutions in rural areas. Your legislators need to hear about your experiences with wireless because right now, they are hearing that wireless can completely solve the broadband issue in rural Minnesota. We have heard differently, but legislators need your voice.

No Net Gain / 30-Year Plan: What we thought was going to be a more controversial issue has turned more positive than we expected. Legislators throughout the state are concerned with the loss of tax base to local governments, the loss of productive land, and the increasing amount of State-owned land. The opposition to the bill has come from outdoor sporting groups that want more public land for hunting. To be clear, MAT does not oppose more land available for recreation, but it cannot come at the expense of the town residents whose taxes increase whenever land becomes non-taxable. While No Net Gain would stop the bleeding, the 30-Year Plan would allow more recreation land while keeping the town whole.

As always, we need your help. Please contact your legislators about the issues that matter to you and your town. Your voice goes much farther than ours can.

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26 Feb
By: MAT Staff 0

Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition Day on the Hill

Join Us For Broadband Day on the Hill 2018!

April 12, 2018

L’Etoile du Nord Vault, MN State Capitol


The Minnesota Broadband Coalition needs your help to bring the broadband message directly to Minnesota’s lawmakers. Building on the success of the 2017 Broadband Day, this year’s event will provide you with a full day of activities and prepare you to meet your elected representatives. Attendees will be able share stories about the importance of broadband to economic vitality and quality of life – especially in rural areas – and address the need for broadband investments.

More information including the Agenda, Hotel Block, Meeting Details, Registration and more can be found at this link.

Post expires at 5:29pm on Thursday April 12th, 2018

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06 Feb
By: MAT Staff 0

Beware – Email Phishing Scams Sent to Towns!

MAT has received several reports of fraudulent emails asking the recipient to transfer money from the town’s account. The emails appear to be from another town officer but were not sent by the officer listed in the sender line. Town officers should verify email requests for money transfers, passwords, or other private information in-person or by phone with the alleged sender of the email, if ever faced with such a request. Remember, the information in an email, such as the person listed as the sender, can be misrepresented – just like the return address on a letter can be misrepresented.

“Phishing” is the practice of sending fraudulent emails to induce the recipient to reveal private information, like passwords, or to take an action that will harm the recipient. For more information, see Federal Trade Commission’s webpage on the subject, and the FBI’s information on computer security. Unfortunately, no amount of computer security can relieve us from remaining cautious and careful when using online resources, including emails that appear to be legitimate.

MAT’s 2018 Spring Short Course presentation for Clerks & Treasurers will also include basic information about computer and internet security.


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01 Feb
By: MAT Staff 0

Certified Stormwater Inspector Training in MN

The National Stormwater Center is offering Certified Stormwater Inspector (municipal) training in St. Paul, MN on April 16-17, 2018.

Designed specifically for municipal personnel our course offers training and certification to demonstrate, for the record, that inspectors are qualified.

Inspectors who take our course learn:

– how to inspect construction, commercial, and industrial, and municipal activities

– what to inspect

– the limits of their authority

– appropriate demeanor

– appropriate discretion

They also learn about the Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, the six Minimum Control Measures, and how to better implement and support their MS4 stormwater program.

Graduates of the Certified Stormwater Inspector course receive certification for 5 years and continuing education units, and ongoing, unlimited support of the National Stormwater Center.  All of our instructors have stormwater enforcement experience at the Federal or State level.

Please download the announcement with course details and registration information.  Stormwater Inspector Training (St Paul)

You may call Michele at 1-888-397-9414, email or visit our website at  Registration is available on our website for all classes.

Post expires at 4:19pm on Monday April 16th, 2018

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01 Feb
By: MAT Staff 0

Poison Hemlock now added to Updated 2018 Noxious Weeds List

See the commissioner’s order on this page approving NWAC’s recommendation for poison hemlock.  It is now a Prohibited Noxious Weed on the Eradicate List.  CAI’s, townships and cities make sure you let your constituents know about this change to the weed list.  State agencies should also pass this information to their field offices.  Also, remember that the 25 varieties of Japanese Barberry that were Specially Regulated are now Restricted Noxious Weeds.

Commissioner Order Noxious Weed List 2018_Signed

2018 MN Noxious Weed List Fact Sheet

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23 Jan
By: MAT Staff 0

No Town Meetings Feb. 6, 2018, after 6 pm!

February 6 is precinct caucus night in Minnesota. By law, local governments may not hold meetings on precinct caucus night after 6 pm. (Minn. Stat. 202A.19). Towns with meetings for that time may post notice of a meeting cancellation and reschedule the meeting as a special meeting if needed.

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15 Jan
By: MAT Staff 0

LCCMR seeking proposals for $59 million in project funding from Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund

The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) has issued its 2019 Request for Proposals (RFP) for funding from Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Approximately $59 million is available for projects that will provide multiple ecological and other public benefits. New this year is a focus on proposals for projects under $200,000, especially from local units of government and non- profits, that aim to quickly and efficiently provide environment and natural resource benefits in Minnesota.

The LCCMR is requesting proposals in the following categories:

  1. Foundational Natural Resource Data and Information
  2. Water Resources
  3. Environmental Education
  4. Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species
  5. Air Quality, Climate Change, and Renewable Energy
  6. Methods to Protect or Restore Land, Water, and Habitat
  7. Land Acquisition, Habitat, and Recreation


The 2019 RFP (linked above) contains detailed instructions for submitting a proposal to the LCCMR as well as additional explanation of the LCCMR’s proposal and funding process. Anyone with a project idea consistent with the RFP may submit a proposal for consideration by the LCCMR. LCCMR staff are available to assist in proposal development and to review proposal drafts. Lobbying or professional grant-writing experience is not necessary for success.

Issuance of this RFP begins the competitive, multi-step process through which the LCCMR selects projects to recommend to the Minnesota Legislature for funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Proposals responding to the 2019 RFP are due Wednesday, April 11, 2018. In June 2018, the LCCMR will consider all proposals received and make final selection of projects to include in its recommendations to the legislature for the 2019 session. Funded projects can begin July 1, 2019.

For more information on the 2019 RFP and the LCCMR funding process, please visit

Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund
The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund is a permanent dedicated fund in the Minnesota state treasury that was established by 77% voter approval of a constitutional amendment in 1988. The amendment directs forty percent of the net proceeds of the Minnesota State Lottery, or approximately seven cents of every dollar spent on playing the lottery, into the Trust Fund. The Trust Fund is intended to provide a long-term, stable source of funding for innovative and far-sighted activities that protect and enhance Minnesota’s environment and natural resources for the benefit of current citizens and future generations. Since 1991, the Trust Fund has provided approximately $576 million in support of nearly 1,500 projects benefitting every county in the state.

Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources
The LCCMR is made up of 17 members (5 Senators, 5 Representatives, 5 citizens appointed by the governor, 1 citizen appointed by the Senate, and 1 citizen appointed by the House). The function of the LCCMR is to make funding recommendations to the Minnesota State Legislature for special environment and natural resource projects, primarily from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. The LCCMR developed from a program initiated in 1963.

Post expires at 8:30am on Wednesday April 11th, 2018

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