News Categories: General News

16 Feb
By: MAT Staff 0

Township Tuesday Conference Calls continue each month

Township Tuesday calls are held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month, as a time to connect with MAT staff on latest issues and ask questions. Upcoming “Township Tuesdays” calls will be March 2, March 16, and so on.

Township Tuesday conference call: 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 10 AM

Join us by phone: (571) 317-3117 or Toll Free 1-866-899-4679. Access code is 659-961-501.

OR join us by computer, tablet, or smart phone: https://www.gotomeet.me/LeslieRosedahl/townshiptuesday (Make sure to have the GoToMeeting App installed)

PLEASE NOTE: Due to GoToMeeting cloud services, recorded calls do expire after one week.

Listen to the Township Tuesday Call on February 16, 2021

Township Tuesday Call for August 4, 2020 was replaced with CARES Act Webinar. (It is on the CARES Act Resources News item at the end)

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12 Feb
By: MAT Staff 0

COVID-19 and Operating the Township (02/12)

January  13th Update

This article addresses how townships may hold board meetings, operate during the emergency, protections for employees subject to quarantine, and additional information on COVID-19. The directives described in this article arise from Executive Orders issued by the Governor to address the COVID-19 pandemic, which amounts to a peacetime emergency under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 12. That Chapter provides the governor with powers to address such emergencies for as long as emergencies last, the governor chooses to rescind an Order, or until the legislature ends the peacetime emergency powers. The Legislature is called into Special Session each month to consider the question of the continuing or ending the peacetime emergency.

Status Summary

  • Statewide Emergency Currently Expires Mar. 15, 2021, at 11:59 pm. The full order can be found here.
  • Statewide Mask Mandate is currently in effect.
  • Telephone Meetings Available: Yes, towns may continue to use telephone meetings.
  • Emergency Preparedness Plan: Yes, towns currently must have a preparedness plan in place to open offices or interaction with the public.
  • Township Facility Rentals: Yes, it is possible to rent or allow public use of town facilities or amenities that are for the purpose of organized activities. However, there is a distinction between gatherings that allow food, and those that do not.
  • Polling Place Locations: No change in polling places is allowed except for emergencies described in statute.
  • Mail Balloting: Too late to adopt mail balloting or return to in-person election for the November General Election.

On March 13, 2020, Governor Tim Walz declared a public health emergency related to the COVID-19 infectious disease and directed the Minnesota Department of Health to issue guidance on how to prevent and manage the spread of COVID-19. The latest information from MDH can be found here.

Operational Guidelines for Re-Opening:

As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Minnesota starts to lessen, Governor Walz has issued Executive Order 21-01 (Found here) and was modified by Executive Order 21-07 (Found here), restricting certain types of gatherings and businesses. The order targets the businesses and social activities that the Minnesota Department of Health has found as contributing the most to the increase in COVID-19 cases. The Order affects towns very little.

The Order goes into effect on January 10th at 11:59 pm and The Order affects townships in a few ways described in this article.

Town Meetings Subject to the Open Meeting Law: Towns may meeting in-person under the Order, but the Minnesota Department of Health and MAT strongly recommend towns use remote or telephonic meeting options for their town meetings. If a town board chooses to meet in-person, they must require all attending the meeting to wear a face mask or face shield. A person may remove his or her mask only while recognized by the board to address the board. The board must require social distancing between people of different households, and limit the capacity of the meeting room accordingly. MAT strongly recommends towns also provide a call-in or other remote meeting attendance option so officers and the public can participate remotely if they choose.

Township Operations, Officers and Employees: Essential township services, including road maintenance operations, continue as before under the latest Order. All non-essential employees are encouraged to work from home if possible, but the town may allow employees and officers to work at the normal place of business under the same conditions as they were before the latest Order. This allows non-customer facing offices to work from the normal place of business with the use of face masks, social distancing, and the other precautions described in the town’s pandemic preparedness plan. Town officers should avoid in-person meetings and work during the length of this Order. They should use remote means of communication whenever possible. The town must have a township preparedness plan that addresses concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A sample town preparedness plan can be found here.

The Use of Township Amenities: Towns may make the town hall or other amenity available for public use during this Order. The Order allows venues to be used for celebrations and receptions, including weddings, funerals, or religious services. However, the executive order at the time refers to two separate types of rentals:

  1. Rentals without food: Townships may rent out the town hall without food to gatherings of 25% of the town hall capacity with a maximum of 150 people.
  2. Rentals with food: Townships may rent out the town hall to gatherings of 25% capacity with a maximum of 50 people. The hall cannot be rented during the hours of 11:00 pm to 4:00 am

The details on events relating to celebrations and receptions can be found here. For either type of rental, the town needs to modify its preparedness plan to accommodate opening the town hall to rentals. It may also be prudent to modify the rental contract stating what is and is not allowed under the current executive order.

Other amenities that are not used for social gatherings, like boat launches, parks, playgrounds, and campsites may remain open. Each of these facilities must adhere to guidelines set forth by the most current executive order, MDH, and DEED.

For parks, playgrounds, and launches, the township must follow guidelines as set forth in the most current executive order. Currently, those guidelines would include, frequent cleaning, focusing on high traffic areas and implements frequently touched, like doorknobs, and provide assistance in encouraging social distancing.

For facilities open for rental, like the town hall or campgrounds, each are given guidance by DEED. The town hall may be rented out only for religious services, weddings, or funerals. Meaning that, town halls may rent out, up to 50% capacity for religious services, weddings, or funeral.

Guidance on facilities used for religious services, weddings, or funerals can be found here, guidance on usage of indoor facilities used for other purposes can be found here for celebrations or found here for seated gatherings.

Mask Up, Minnesota: On July 22nd, 2020, Gov. Walz enacted Executive Order 20-81, found here, which requires masks to be worn indoors, unless covered by a specific exemption. A full discussion on the application of Mask Up, Minnesota can be found here, however, in general, township officials must wear masks, when indoors, unless (1) they are speaking/presenting during an open meeting, or (2) in an office or cubicle that provides social distance between people.

Preparedness Plans: As of June 29th, all businesses, including townships, must adopt a preparedness plan before reopening to in-person work or in-person interaction with the public. Preparedness plans provide the procedures and rules that officers, employees, and the public are required to follow when carrying out township business. The purpose of these plans is to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 so further stay-at-home orders are not needed. MAT has drafted township specific preparedness plans, which can be found here (for towns without employees) and here (for towns with employees). If a township does not have anyone working in person, including the clerk, treasurer, or in-person meetings by the town board, a preparedness plan does not need to be passed.

Polling Places: Many municipalities have had difficulties with knowing whether their polling place would be available for the upcoming elections, and the legislature made an exception to designate the polling place by July 1st. However, it is now too late for towns to designate a polling place.

Local government boards may hold in-person meetings with social distancing if they choose to do so. Townships may hold regular board meetings in-person within the framework provided in MDH’s guidelines. Those guidelines require social distancing of at least 6 feet between people, and masking when not speaking. The township may need to reduce the room capacity limit to ensure minimum distance can be maintained. Townships may not prohibit the public from attending a township board meeting, unless the person refuses to wear a mask.

However, township board are not required to meet in-person. The best-practice is to continue telephone or video meetings during the entire length of the public health emergency in order to prevent any unnecessary public gatherings. They may choose to continue meeting by telephone meetings as described in the Teleconferencing section below.

Township Clerks, Treasurers, and Administrative Staff may be able to Return to Work: Most office workers to return to work under certain circumstances. Office workers may return to work if: (1) the work duties cannot be performed from home; (2) the office area has adequate space for individuals to work while maintaining social distance from any other person;  (3) the township adopts a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) describes more details about Preparedness Plans here, and township specific samples can be found here (for towns without employees) and here (for towns with employees).

Essential Services During Stay at Home: Local government employees and contractors providing services in “Critical Sectors” may continue their work outside their homes, in the same capacity as previously able to, if they are included in the list of Critical Sectors and their work cannot be performed from home.

Critical Sector employees include: (1) law enforcement, public safety, and first responders; (2) water and wastewater workers; (3) transportation workers who support or enable transportation functions, road construction workers, engineers, including maintenance vehicle operators; (4) public works employees described in the Federal Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidance here; (5) necessary building management employees; (6) security workers; (7) elections workers, including town clerks and election judges; and (8) data and computer systems management employees. Other Critical Sector employees are described in the Governor’s Executive Order and the CISA guidelines.

Teleconferencing: Because of the Statewide public health emergency and the status of COVID-19 as a pandemic illness, townships may want to use remote meeting options. They may use teleconferencing statute found in the Open Meeting Law to avoid in-person meetings.

Notice of meetings by teleconference should be posted usual. The board must ensure they take excellent minutes of their proceedings and may consider audio recording these meetings. If possible, the township must allow members of the public to join the teleconference.

Minn. Stat. 13D.021 allows a town board to hold a meeting by teleconference if there is a public health pandemic or emergency declared under Minnesota Statutes chapter 12, and the township meets the requirements of the statute. Minn. Stat. §13D.021 allows telephone meetings if:

  1. The township chairperson decides an in-person meeting or interactive television meeting is not practical or prudent because of a health pandemic or an emergency declared under Minnesota Statutes chapter 12;
  2. All township board members participating in the meeting can hear all other participants;
  3. All members of the public at the regular meeting location can hear all discussion and testimony and votes of the town board’s members, unless attendance at the meeting is not feasible because of health pandemic or emergency declaration;
  4. At least one member of the town board is physically present at the regular meeting location, unless unfeasible because of health pandemic or emergency; and
  5. All votes are conducted by roll call so each member’s vote can be identified and recorded.

COVID-19 has been labeled a pandemic illness by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Governor has declared a public health emergency under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 12. As such, township boards may choose to use teleconferencing for their meetings during the public health emergency.

Please refer to MAT’s resource Options for Meeting Remotely, found here.  For information on how to set-up and use a teleconferencing provider, please use this link.

MAT has also provided three options to townships looking to conduct teleconferenced meetings.

  • Option A: This is where townships would learn how to, and conduct the meeting on their own. Some more information on how to set-up a teleconference service can be found in document number: ES3000A.
  • Option B: MAT will create a teleconference line and train officers on how to use the teleconferencing service.
  • Option C: MAT will create and assist in hosting the teleconference for the township.

For more information of each of these options, please see: https://mntownships.org/news/additional-teleconference-meeting-options-for-townships/, or email OptionB@MnTownships.org or OptionC@MnTownships.org regarding the specific option listed in the email. If the township would like to conduct set-up and host the teleconference themselves, under Option A, please see: https://mntownships.org/news/options-for-conducting-a-town-meeting-remotely/, as well as document numbers: ES 3000 and ES 3000A in MAT’s information library.

Employees & Quarantine: Township employees showing signs of illness should stay home to avoid passing COVID-19 to anyone else. The township may not discharge, discipline, threaten, or penalize any employee, or discriminated in the work conditions of the employee because the employee has been in quarantine or has been responsible for the care of a person in quarantine. Minn. Stat. § 144.4196.

Townships may require employees to use any available sick or paid time off during their time of illness or quarantine. The township is not required to pay employees who are unavailable to work and have exhausted their paid leave. However, the town board may choose to offer additional paid leave or other accommodation to those employees. MDH has encouraged employers to be generous, understanding, and flexible in allowing employees to remain home for illness and to care for those who are ill.

Delegate Duties and Authorities: To accommodate fewer meetings and possibly absent supervisors, town boards should: (1) identify the essential operations that must continue each month; (2) delegate authorities and boundaries to individual supervisors, officers, or employees to manage those operations between meetings; (3) to the extent possible, provide individual spending authority to managers up to a certain limit for expenses that cannot wait for a board meeting; (4) establish procedures and permissions for officers and employees to work remotely; (5) consider any extended leave policies and reasonable accommodations that may be needed as employees become ill, are quarantined, or must care for other individuals; and (6) prepare for backup services to be provided by other employees, officers, neighboring townships or governments, or secondary contractors.

Signatures on Checks: Townships may arrange for checks to be signed or send by only one officer if certain processes and protections are followed. Minn. Stat. 367.18 says that claims audited and approved by the town board, and countersigned by the clerk, become a check on the township’s account once signed by the treasurer. Based on this statute, townships usually require the signatures of the chairperson, clerk, and treasurer for a check to be valid. This statute describes one method by which a township check or payment can be issued but it is not the only method of paying claims.

One option is to use electronic funds transfers (EFT), which is allowed by Minn. Stat. 471.38. An EFT does not have three signatures on the check, and instead relies on the town board approving a claim, the chairperson, clerk, and treasurer signing or indicating their approval on the claim form or in the township board minutes. Additional guidance on the use of EFT can be found here: https://www.auditor.state.mn.us/default.aspx?page=20090724.031 .

A second option is for townships to arrange for their checks to be signed by only one officer if: (1) the township board has audited and approved the claim; (2) the clerk has indicated his or her approval that the board took the action indicated; (3) the treasurer indicates there is money available in the township’s account to pay the claims; (4) the board has delegated the authority to issue the check; and (5) each of these elements are document in the township board minutes.

Last, townships should remember that payroll can be processed without a board meeting based on the authority described in Minn. Stat. 471.38, subd. 2, if the employees’ rates of pay have been set in advance.

CARES Act/CRF Funds: On June 25th, 2020, Governor Walz announced a plan to distribute $853 million in federal funding to Minnesota communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding was authorized by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Towns under 5,000 residents will receive $25 per resident, according to data as recent as 2018. Towns with over 200 residents will receive their funds directly from the State and should place those funds into a serperate account to prevent mingling them with other town funds. Towns with under 200 residents are eligible to receive CARES Act funds, but the county holds the funds and the town must work with the county to be reimbursed for costs covered under the CARES Act.

For a fuller discussion, along with answers to frequently asked question, please review this resource.

More Information: Some useful links and information can be found at the following websites:

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

CDC’s Facts About COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/share-facts.html

Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Guidance: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html

 

 

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10 Feb
By: MAT Staff 0

Managing Communications Post-COVID

In this virtual workshop, gain a new perspective on communications with citizens and employees throughout the governance and workplace transitions during the months ahead.

Date: March 22, 2021
Time: 9:30-11:45 a.m.
Location: Online
Cost: $10 per participant
Prerequisite: None
Register
Credit card payment is requested for registration through Sourcewell, AMC’s partner for this workshop.  If you are unable to pay by credit card, please contact Amy Warnberg (amy.warnberg@sourcewell-mn.gov) directly and she can complete your registration with an invoice.

Full details at: https://www.mncounties.org/meetings_and_education/managing_communications_postcovid.php

Presenters:

rogerreinert - Copy (2)
Roger Reinert, Executive Director of the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC)
melanieault - Copy

Melanie Ault, Human Resources Consultant with DDA Human Resources, Inc.

Learning objectives:

  • Create plans for internal and external communications during change
  • Increase public understanding of government operations
  • Support employees to encourage innovation and growth

Description:
Join this two-part virtual workshop to learn about the public engagement and workplace considerations that will support government operations and effective employees as we shift to a new normal.

  • Part I: Community Communications – Keeping your stakeholders informed and engaged
  • Part II: Transitional Workplace Planning – Communicating with staff for an effective return to the office

This is session is made possible by a partnership with
sourcewell - Copy

About the presenters:
Facilitated by Roger Reinert & Melanie Ault. Reinert is a former Minnesota Congressman, Duluth City Councilor, and Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He completed a one-year combat deployment to Afghanistan in 2019, and recently returned from Italy where he spent three months leading a COVID Crisis Action Team. Ault brings over 20 years of experience leading Minnesota county human resources and labor relations operations with additional experience at the city, regional, and state level.

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02 Feb
By: MAT Staff 0

Comment on Upcoming DNR Projects

Townships have the opportunity to provide input for several upcoming DNR projects. Comments can be made to two projects through February 15th, and these projects are the Outdoor Recreation Task Force (ORTF) and a Statewide Off-Highway Motorcycle (OHM) trails master plan. Further information on either can be found below:

Outdoor Recreation Task Force:

This task force aims to provide actionable recommendations to the DNR and Explore Minnesota on how to coordinate and advance outdoor recreation work statewide more effectively. The ORTF has been meeting since April 2020 to create recommendations that enhance the state’s outdoor offerings. The task force’s goal is to propose thoughtful ideas that connect more Minnesotans to the health and wellness benefits of outdoor recreation, improve access to outdoor recreation and benefit the state’s economy by boosting recreation-related businesses.

The sample draft of the ORTF’s recommendations (found here) explicitly addresses the ORTF’s goals. These recommendations are important to townships because the task force may seek cooperation with affected townships. If the town would like to provide input, they may complete the linked form.

Statewide Off-Highway Motorcycle Trails:

The DNR is beginning a masterplan of the OHM trails. Part of this initial process is to provide comments regarding the desired types and locations of additional trails, any concerns about OHM trails, and related issues. Both OHM riders and nonriders are encouraged to share their insights.

Further, townships are also encouraged to provide input on potential opportunities or challenges related to OHM recreation in their area at this link. Issues that may face towns include:

-Location relative to the right-of-way:

-Usage of town roads: and

-Township cooperation.

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02 Feb
By: MAT Staff 0

1099 and W2 Filing and Recording Issues Assistance

There have been several changes to tax filing and recording issues that have provided confusion. MAT has provided several documents as well as a podcast to assist in this filing and to indicate what is recorded.

A podcast to assist in the filing

Reporting Tax Forms W-2 and 1099 Online–Outline from a town clerk’s point of view.

W2Online–Outline from the Social Security Administration.

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27 Jan
By: MAT Staff 0

March Annual Meeting Guidelines Call Recording

March Annual Meetings will be different this year due to the ongoing pandemic and Emergency Executive Orders from Governor Walz limiting in-person participation at events,

GUIDELINES: The Minnesota Association of Townships recommends steps for conducting the annual meeting (and election, if applicable), found on this MAT website page here: https://mntownships.org/news/holding-the-march-annual-meeting-2021-covid-19/

CONFERENCE CALL: In addition, township officials were invited to join MAT General Counsel Steve Fenske and additional MAT staff for a conference call discussion (with plenty of time for questions and answers) regarding facilitating March Annual Meetings.

WHAT: MAT Conference Call via Zoom regarding facilitating March Annual Meetings

WHEN: Wednesday, January 27, at 11 AM (see recording below)

Listen to the Recording of the Conference Call here!
Password:  =6WvATZy

The documents referred to throughout the meeting: this packet.

Please contact the MAT office anytime if we can be of any assistance.

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19 Jan
By: MAT Staff 0

Local Board of Appeals and Equalization Training

Townships hold the power to conduct Local Boards of Appeal and Equalization (LBAE) meetings, so long as they follow the requirements listed in Minnesota Statutes Chapter 274. Part of these requirements includes training for the members of the LBAE. To comply with the training requirements, the board must have a member who participated in the training within the last four (4) years. If not, the board must have a member complete the training by February 1st or lose its power to the county for 2 years.

The board may participate in the training by following either of the following links:

  1. https://mntownships.org/training-events/#1513789739831-0182b6cd-d03f
  2. https://www.revenue.state.mn.us/board-appeal-and-equalization-training

If the town is unsure whether the members have complied with the training requirements, they may either take the training or review this document and determine if an officer for the township is listed on the roster.

 

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13 Jan
By: MAT Staff 0

State Auditor releases the 2021 CTAS Update

Saint Paul, MN – State Auditor Julie Blaha has released the 2021 update for the Small City and Town Accounting System (CTAS). “We listened to CTAS users across the state and as a result, this update is packed with new features and fixes,” said Auditor Blaha.

“I want to thank our local government partners, including the Minnesota Association of Townships, who tested and provided feedback on the update,” Blaha continued.

“This program is designed to assist small local governments in maintaining their financial records and facilitating reporting to our Office,” Auditor Blaha added. “CTAS is a great example of what can be done when State and local governments work together.”

Each year, the Office of the State Auditor releases a CTAS update based on input from local governments to improve the program and stay current with changes in laws and regulations.  This year, the CTAS 2021 version includes a number of fixes and feature requests.  CTAS 2021 includes updates in the Accounting, Payroll, Indebtedness, Investment, Reports and Administrative Modules.

CTAS 2021 highlights include:

General

  • Updated prompt reminding users to back up data if not done in the last 30 days

Accounting Module:  Receipts, Claims, Disbursements, Cash, and Chart of Accounts

  • Updated ability to use the backspace key in the Fund, Account, Object Code and Program Code columns of the Account Distribution section
  • Added ability to print higher value checks
  • Updated Funds included in the Cash balance
  • Added option to include account descriptions
  • Updated account wizard button display to assist in creating new CTAS accounts

Payroll Module

  • 2021 Federal and State Tax Withholding Tables now included in update
  • Updated ability to add/edit account distribution percentages
  • Updated State Tax Table import procedure
  • Updated CTAS allowing account distribution to be saved if not equal to 1 (100%)
  • Added ability to enter a negative figure in tax adjustment boxes
  • Added ability to enter negative figures in Cafeteria plan Employee share column

Indebtedness Module

  • Updated content in delete button box
  • Maturity date now required when creating debt

Investments Module

  • Updated Investment list tab search by feature for “Not Sold” investments

Reports Module

  • Updated the Unemployment report when payroll date is the first of the month
  • Updated the calculation for Schedule 5 Cash Flows from Capital and Related Financing Activities
  • Added subtotals to Statement of Orders Issued Report (Schedule 9)

Coming in CTAS 2022 will be updates to the Internal Revenue Service 1099 Forms.  It will include the ability to print 1099 information to the 1099-MISC (Miscellaneous Income) and 1099-NEC (Nonemployee Compensation) Forms.  CTAS 2021 currently allows entities to view the 1099 reports and transfer the information to the form.

 The Office of the State Auditor collaborated with representatives of small cities and townships to develop and distribute CTAS. The OSA’s website has a CTAS webpage containing numerous resources and information.  Please refer to our website for CTAS information.

 To view the CTAS webpage, go to:  https://www.auditor.state.mn.us/default.aspx?page=ctas

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05 Jan
By: MAT Staff 0

IRS Issues Standard Mileage Rates for 2021

IR-2020-279, December 22, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2021 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on January 1, 2021, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 56 cents per mile driven for business use, down 1.5 cents from the rate for 2020,
  • 16 cents per mile driven for medical, or moving purposes for qualified active duty members of the Armed Forces, down 1 cent from the rate for 2020, and
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations, the rate is set by statute and remains unchanged from 2020.

The standard mileage rate for business use is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

It is important to note that under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taxpayers cannot claim a miscellaneous itemized deduction for unreimbursed employee travel expenses. Taxpayers also cannot claim a deduction for moving expenses, unless they are members of the Armed Forces on active duty moving under orders to a permanent change of station. For more details see Moving Expenses for Members of the Armed Forces.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

Taxpayers can use the standard mileage rate but must opt to use it in the first year the car is available for business use. Then, in later years, they can choose either the standard mileage rate or actual expenses. Leased vehicles must use the standard mileage rate method for the entire lease period (including renewals) if the standard mileage rate is chosen.

Notice 2021-02 PDF, contains the optional 2021 standard mileage rates, as well as the maximum automobile cost used to calculate the allowance under a fixed and variable rate (FAVR) plan. In addition, the notice provides the maximum fair market value of employer-provided automobiles first made available to employees for personal use in calendar year 2021 for which employers may use the fleet-average valuation rule in or the vehicle cents-per-mile valuation rule.

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02 Dec
By: MAT Staff 0

Local Road Improvement Program Application Info

Beginning December 2, 2020, townships may apply for up to $1.25 million in funding for road improvement projects. The grant funds are made available through the Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP), funded by the Minnesota Legislature in the 2020 bonding bill. This bill allocated $75,000,000 to the LRIP, which helps local road authorities improve local roads. The application period opens December 2, 2020, and closes March 3rd, 2021. Towns may use these funds to improve rebuild and upgrade roads, including to improve current roads to a 10-ton weight capacity.

How Much may a Town Receive from LRIP?

A township may receive up to $1,250,000 per project; there is no minimum to what towns may receive.

What is a Project?

Simply put, a project is a specific road improvement effort by a township. A project for LRIP may include several roads, so a township with may improve an area of roads within one project. However, a project must have an expected useful life of at least of ten years, which means, projects like filling potholes, standalone ditch repairs, and purchasing and gravel are not eligible for LRIP. The projects must be improvements in nature, not merely maintenance. Projects need not be high traffic roads – local road essential for agricultural, mining, or other production are eligible.

Some examples of projects that would qualify for LRIP include but are not limited to:

  • Rebuilding the base of a road to become 10-ton roads;
  • Tarring a road;
  • Improving Water drainage systems that protect and strengthen the road.

How does a Township Apply for LRIP?

All townships are eligible to submit a project and receive funding. Townships must work with the county road engineer to submit an application. The county engineer serves as the township’s sponsor to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. A project is not eligible if already received other legislatively appropriated funds (like previous LRIP grants or earmarks) for the proposed project roads. Townships should contact their county road engineer soon for help.

After examining whether the town has an eligible project, the township may begin the application process; the application can be found here. Greater detail about the LRIP can be found in the 2020 LRIP Solicitation Guide. For more information, please contact MAT or review the LRIP website.

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