News Categories: General News

13 Aug
By: MAT Staff 0

Data Request from American Transparency (Minnesota@OpenTheBooks.com )

Townships across the state recently began receiving a data request from a group called American Transparency, requesting employee income and other financial information under the Minnesota Data Practices Act. The organization is a private company operated out of Florida, that collects government data for publication on its website. The group is engaged in a nationwide data collection operation.

First, remember that Minnesota Townships outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area are not subject to the State’s Data Practices Act because of its complexity and townships’ lack of full-time staff to comply with the Act. Townships outside the Twin Cities area are not required to respond to this request, but your township board should decide what, if anything, they choose to send.

Townships in the Twin Cities area that are subject to the Data Practices Act may need to respond, depending on their policies for the format or method of data requests.These townships should rely on their township attorney for guidance in complying with data requests.

Township are not required to produce any new data or compile the data in the format or method requested. Townships may send the data they already possess after redacting sensitive information such as Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, home addresses, personal phone numbers, the deductions in any paycheck, or other information deemed to be not public.

Non-metro Townships may charge a fee for the compilation of data, including the clerk’s time to meet the request. Non-metro townships may ask the money be deposited in advance, with any surplus returned when the response to the data request is complete.

Post expires at 3:33pm on Monday September 24th, 2018

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31 Jul
By: Ruth Simpson 0

Crisis Management Leadership Workshop for All-Hazards Preparedness

Overview

This workshop provides a forum for senior officials to understand strategic and executive- level issues related to all-hazard disaster preparedness, to share proven strategies and best practices, and to enhance coordination among whole of community officials responsible for emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. The workshop emphasizes planning, operational coordination and public information and warning through extensive group discussions and a table-top exercise. The final outcome of the seminar is the development of an action plan to improve the preparedness posture of the community/organization.

Dates & Locations – 2018

Register early as space is filling up. Download Workshop Flyer Crisis Management.
Mankato, August 16 REGISTER
University of Minnesota Extension Regional Office
1961 Premier Drive, Suite 110

Fergus Falls, September 20 REGISTER
Lakes Country Service Cooperative
1001 E. Mount Faith

Staples, October 11 REGISTER
Sourcewell (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance)
202 12th Street NE

Registration Details:
Free of charge, but registration is required.
*Note* New Time: Coffee begins at 8:30 a.m.
Session time: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Learning Topics

  • Planning for success through utilization of the National Preparedness System, the preparedness cycle, identifying the role senior officials play in the planning process, and gaining an understanding of the importance of having plans in place that are adequate, feasible and all-hazards based.
  • Effective operational coordination with emphasis on the importance of having coordinated operational structures and the integration of all critical stakeholders.
  • Includes a table-top exercise designed specifically for the jurisdiction(s). The exercise incorporates community response, public information, and community resilience and recovery.
  • Developing a broad action plan, based on lessons learned from the workshop, to guide future personal, departmental, and jurisdictional emergency preparedness planning.

Presenter: Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center with FEMA. Crisis Management Workshop Course

Post expires at 6:05pm on Friday October 12th, 2018

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31 Jul
By: Ruth Simpson 0

Mental Health Workshops this Fall

One in Five American Adults Lives with a Mental Illness

This fall, discover how you can help during a mental health crisis at the Mental Health First Aid workshops. Sponsored by the League of Minnesota Cities, the Minnesota Township Association is a partnering organization along with the Association of Minnesota Counties and the Minnesota School Boards Association.

Whether your work in your townships connects you to a large number of community members or just a few, this workshop will give you skills to help people in need. You will learn:
• Specific signs of individual mental illnesses, including anxiety, depression, substance use, bipolar disorder, and more
• How to recognize risk factors and warning signs
• Strategies to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations
• Methods to connect someone with resources they need to get help

Space is very limited—only thirty spots per workshop, and only three participants can register from each city/entity. These eight-hour workshops are $15, include lunch, and will take place in a city near you this fall:

Sept. 18—Waseca
Sept. 20—White Bear Lake
Sept. 26—Paynesville
Oct. 3—Fergus Falls
Nov. 14—Golden Valley

Only 44% of adults with diagnosable mental health problems receive needed treatment—help connect your community to first aid and resources for those in need.

Register with the League of Minnesota Cities

Audience: This workshop is designed for all public employees and public officials who frequently encounter community members while working or at public meetings.

 

Post expires at 5:40pm on Monday November 5th, 2018

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31 Jul
By: MAT Staff 0

Railroad Crossing Grant Funds

The Message below comes from MN DoT, which is seeking help from townships to decide where to award grant money for railroad crossing repair. The document linked in this news item includes more complete instructions on how to participate in the grant program. Rail-Grade-Crossing-Safety-solicitation-letter.pdf (16 downloads)

From MN DoT:

Please respond to the railroad crossings in your jurisdiction with a risk score of 7 (page 4 of the attachment). These crossings have been deemed an eligible project (based on the risk factors at these locations) by the engineers/project managers in our office.

If you, the road authority, have an eligible railroad crossing on the list and are willing to participate in a safety improvement project at the crossing for state fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021), please reply with your agreement to fund 10% of the project cost by September 14, 2018.

The risk factors present at each crossing are noted in the attached letter. In 2016, MnDOT analyzed crash data to determine the risks present at each crossing. The resulting report is called the Rail Grade Crossing Safety Project Selection report (click on that link for more info on risk factors and results). This data was then merged into an Excel spreadsheet, which is also here for your review.

The Excel spreadsheet contains all open, public, at grade crossings in Minnesota. At this time, we are only looking at passive crossings with a rank of 7 to be funded for fiscal year 2021. You can filter and search for crossings in your area to see the risk factor (column DC). If you see data that isn’t correct (AADT, for example), please email me with the correct info.

Of the $6M that we receive from FHWA annually, our funding goals are the following:

  • Consolidation/Closures – up to 50%
  • Antiquated Equipment – between 25-50%
  • Grade Crossing Control Criteria – between 25-50%.

Once we receive the responses for this solicitation, we will then score each project internally. If we receive and select more projects than can be funded in state fiscal year 2021, we will work with you to program that project in state fiscal year 2022.

The Excel spreadsheet (Rail Grade Crossing Safety Solicitation) and report mentioned above can be found here: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/ofrw/railroad/safety.html

 

Amy L. Johnson, Program Manager
Rail Grade Crossing Safety
MnDOT – Office of Freight & Commercial Vehicle Operations
395 John Ireland Bvld., MS 470
St Paul, MN  55155
Amy.L.Johnson@state.mn.us
651/366-3709

Post expires at 2:00am on Saturday September 15th, 2018

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25 Jun
By: MAT Staff 0

New Guidance from Secretary of State

The Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office has provided the following instructions for election officials when dealing with a person who is displaying campaign materials in a polling place on election day.

From the Secretary of State’s Office:

Please use the following process when dealing with an individual who is displaying campaign material or otherwise inducing or persuading another voter within the polling place:
1. Minnesota law prohibits a person from displaying campaign material or inducing or persuading a voter in the polling place.

2. Campaign materials include:

  • Any item including the name of a political party that has candidates designated under that party name on the ballot of the current election, for example, DFL or Republican. A minor party is not present on the primary ballot, therefore displaying campaign material, including apparel bearing a minor party name or the name of a political principle, for example, Libertarian, Independence, and the like at the primary is not prohibited. However, at the general election, such display would be prohibited if they were on the ballot.
  • Any item including the name of a candidate on the ballot at the current election. The name of a candidate who will appear only on the general election ballot, but not the primary, is not prohibited at the primary but is prohibited at the general election when that candidate appears on that ballot.
  • Any item in support of or in opposition to a ballot question appearing on the ballot that day.

3. If a person is displaying campaign material or otherwise inducing or persuading others within the polling place, you should do the following:

  • Explain that state election law prohibits displaying campaign material or inducing or persuading other voters in the polling place. (Minnesota Statutes, section 211B.11, subd. 1)
  • Ask the individual to either cover up or remove the campaign material while in the polling place, or to refrain from inducing or persuading other voters.
  • If they refuse, explain that eligible voters will be allowed to vote, but any refusal will be recorded and referred to appropriate authorities.

4. Even if a voter refuses to do so, you must permit any eligible voter to receive a ballot and vote.

5. Record the names and addresses of a voter from the polling place roster along with a brief description of the campaign material that the voter refused to remove or cover up, or a description of any other way in which the voter was inducing or persuading another voter.

6. Election judges and official challengers are prohibited from displaying campaign material in the polling place, or inducing or persuading voters. If they refuse to remove the campaign materials, or to stop inducing or persuading voters, you can ask them to leave.

 

Post expires at 4:25pm on Monday December 31st, 2018

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16 Jun
By: Ruth Simpson 0

Broadband services in rural America is focus of listening session June 19 in Minnesota

Broadband providers and the people who use—or would like to be able to use—those services in rural America are invited to offer their perspectives on enhancing e-connectivity at a listening session June 19.

The Upper Midwest Listening Session of the project, What’s on the Horizon for E-Connectivity in Rural America, will be 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. June 19 at the Archery Building on the grounds of the Rice County Fairgrounds, Faribault, Minn. A live webcast of the session will be available and can be accessed at https://www.youtube.com/user/thefarmfoundation/live.

There is no charge to participate in this session but reservations are requested and can be made by sending an email to Michelle@farmfoundation.org.

“We want to hear from the people who live and work with limited broadband access today, as well as those who have innovative solutions for expanding the availability of those services,” says Constance Cullman, president of Farm Foundation.

Farm Foundation is partnering with CoBank, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to organize broadband listening sessions across the country. The intent is to gather insights into the tools that are needed to improve e-connectivity to enhance the economic health of rural America.

Bill Esbeck, executive director of the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association, will join Steve Fenske, attorney and government relations Manager with the Minnesota Association of Townships, to discuss e-connectivity needs in the Upper Midwest.

“Access to broadband is critically important for the economic viability and sustainability of rural communities. This listening session is a great opportunity to share the accomplishments of small, rural broadband providers across Wisconsin. The rural providers I represent are continuously reinvesting in their broadband networks and closing the digital divide,” said Esbeck. “Conversations like these among diverse stakeholders allow us to develop a greater understanding of the issues, explore solutions and showcase what has worked so these efforts may be replicated to the benefit of rural communities across the nation.”

Innovative solutions now being used to deliver broadband will be the topic for three Minnesota officials: Kristi Westbrock, CEO/General Manager of Consolidated Telephone Company of Brainerd, Minn.; Danna MacKenzie, Executive Director of the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development; and Brian Zelenak, CEO of the Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative, Aitkin, Minn.

“Enhancing the quality of life throughout our communities is our priority,” said Zelenak. “Broadband spurs economic growth in rural communities and opens the door to modern education, healthcare and telework options. We’re proud to help modernize our local economy by making broadband internet a possibility for our members.”

“With these experts and the other rural stakeholders attending, we want to identify the challenges rural communities now face in providing quality broadband services, as well as the innovative options being used to address those challenges,” says Cullman.

The June 19 listening session is part of a series planned across the country. A report of the feedback from those sessions will be provided to federal and state public and private leaders to better inform their decisions regarding improvements to, and expansion of, broadband services in rural America.

Dates and locations of future listening sessions will be announced by the end of June.

Article appeared in the High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal, June 14, 2018.

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21 May
By: Steve Fenske 0

End of 2018 Regular Session

Both the House and Senate ended their Regular Sessions minutes before midnight on Sunday, after passing or re-passing nearly all the ‘major’ bills. They did it with 4 minutes left to spare. It was remarkable how quickly they passed these items because only a day before, on Saturday, the major bills were either not yet passed or had already been vetoed by the Governor. The items important to townships remained in the bills passed by the Legislature, but we now wait for the Governor to act.

The Omnibus to End All Omnibus!?! The Supplemental Budget Omnibus bill (HF 4099 / SF 3656), at over 990 pages, nicknamed the mega-omnibus, omnibus-omnibus, and omnibus-prime – contains funding and policy changes for nearly all of MAT’s legislative priorities. The bill includes:

  • $4 million for the town road account, nearly $11 million for local bridge replacement;
  • $15 million for the Broadband Grant Program;
  • $200,000 for reimbursement to local governments for costs associated with increased maintenance due to the Border-to-Border Touring Route proposed in Northern Minnesota;
  • Amendments to the MS4 (Municipal Wastewater Treatment rules) permit process that would exempt non-urbanized portions of townships that otherwise must comply with those rules.

The bill passed the House and Senate this weekend and was sent to the Governor, who promptly suggested he would veto the bill. The Governor had listed 117 items he wanted changed or removed, none of which are township-related. The GOP leadership said they addressed over 70 of those items. The good news here is that the Legislature and Governor appear to agree on the appropriations and policy changes favorable to townships. The bad news is that threat of the veto remains over unrelated items in the bill.

Bonding … Capital Improvement Bonding: There is also township transportation funding proposed in the Bonding Bill (HF 1226). A revised bonding bill was released late Sunday, which includes:

  • $35 million in undesignated Local Road Improvement Fund Grants;
  • $5 million in the Local Bridge Replacement Program;
  • $6.7 million in the Local Government Roads Wetland Replacement Program (Wetland credits fund).

Special Session – Is it really ‘special’ if it has become normal? No matter the answer to that question, we don’t know if the Governor will call a special session.

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11 May
By: Cari Alleman 0

2018 Session Update Week 12

10 days Left of the 2018 Session! We can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Transportation: The constitutional dedication of auto part sales, HF 4437, continued its journey through the House this week, with the House Tax Committee hearing the bill this week. This bill proposes dedicating 3.25% of the auto part sales to Townships for our road and bridges. This funding would be phased in between 2021 and 2024. Several interest groups have opposed the bill because it removes funding from the general fund. MAT continues to emphasize the importance of transportation infrastructure as a key to bringing industry into the rural areas. HF 4437 is scheduled for the House floor on next week. The Senate’s version, SF 3837, is in the Senate rules committee, with the Senate waiting for passage in the House before further Senate action. Next week will be an important one to if the bill is to move forward. If it passed both the House and Senate, you will see a question on the ballot come November.

Broadband: The proposed Broadband Grant Fund appropriation of $15 million is still on track. The governor suggested $30 million to the program knowing the need and desire to have the program help grow rural areas. The $15 million is included in both the House and Senate omnibus bills, with talk of it going up. As we move into the final week of session we will be pushing to increase the fund.

 

Post expires at 3:26pm on Monday June 18th, 2018

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26 Apr
By: Ruth Simpson 0

Free septic system and well management workshops from UMN and MDH

The University of Minnesota Onsite Sewage Treatment Program and the Minnesota Department of Health are offering FREE septic system and private well homeowner education classes across Minnesota.
The classes will cover the basics of how septic systems function, well water testing, and how to help protect your well from contamination sources. It will also provide property owners information on chemicals of emerging concern (CEC) including pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and the potential impact on ground and surface water. Information on proper maintenance of both septic systems and private drinking water systems will be covered to help property owners protect their investments and the environment. A representative from the county will be present to answer any questions you may have related to the local ordinance and related programs.
Below is the list of locations and local contacts for more information:

May 9, 2018
Douglas County Lake Association
2:00pm
Douglas County Public Works
526 Willow Dr, Alexandria, MN
Contact: Pat Schultz, email: pats@co.douglas.mn.us / Phone: 320-762-3868

June 5, 2018
Lake County
6:00pm
Law Enforcement Center
613 Third Avenue, Two Harbors, MN
Contact: Emily Nelson, Email: emily.nelson@co.lake.mn.us / Phone: 651-249-5868 / Christine McCarthy, Email: christinem.mccarthy@co.lake.mn.us \ Phone: 218-834-8322
www.lakecountyswcd.org

June 6, 2018
Cook County
9:00am
Firehall
7401 Gunflint Trail, Grand Marais, MN
Contact: Irene Mullen, Email: lmullen001@msn.com
cookcountycola.mnlakesandrivers.org/

June 6, 2018
Cook County
6:00pm
Grand Marias Community Center
317 W. 5th Street, Grand Marias, MN
Contact: Irene Mullen: Email: lmullen001@msn.com
cookcountycola.mnlakesandrivers.org/

June 14, 2018
Kandiyohi County
5:30pm
Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building
2200 23rd Street NE Willmar, MN
Contact: Eric VanDyken, Email: eric_v@co.kandiyohi.mn.us /
Phone: 320-905-4489 320-231-6229, ext. 5257

June 28, 2018
Itasca Waters
6:00pm
Wabana Town Hall
36463 Hunter Drive, Grand Rapids, MN
Contact: Patty Gould St. Aubin, Email: pgs@mchsi.com / Phone: 218-259-1603
itascawaters.org/

October 2, 2018
Washington County
5:30pm
Hooley Hall
12300 40th St N, Stillwater, MN
Contact: Stephanie Souter, Kati Hallerman Email: Kati.Hallermann@co.washington.mn.us / Stephanie.Souter@co.washington.mn.us / Phone: 651-430-6655
www.co.washington.mn.us/septic

November 6, 2018
Dakota County
6:00pm
Extension & Conservation Center
4100 220th Street W Ste 101, Farmington, MN
Contact: Emily Gable, Email: emily.gable@co.dakota.mn.us / Phone: 952-891-7008
www.co.dakota.mn.us/Environment/WaterQuality/SepticSystem

March 7, 2019
Blue Earth County/Nicollet County
5:30pm
Blue Earth Government Center
410 south 5th Street, Mankato, MN
Contact: Pete Otterness, Email: Pete.Otterness@co.nicollet.mn.us / Phone: 507-934-7076

Post expires at 11:56am on Friday March 8th, 2019

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24 Mar
By: MAT Staff 0

Minnesota Roadway Maintenance Training and Demo Day

This one-day event, which replaced the Spring Maintenance Training Expo in 2012, focuses exclusively on education and technology exchange through classroom sessions and outdoor demonstrations. Attendees learn about the latest practices, innovations, and research related to Minnesota’s roadway maintenance operations.

Date and Location

The next event is scheduled for Thursday, May 17, 2018, at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds, 7223 Fairgrounds Rd NW, in Bemidji, MN.

Registration

Topics Covered

  • CDL updates & driving requirements
  • Cargo securement device procedures & inspection
  • Gravel road maintenance & design
  • Gravel quantity computations
  • Blading techniques & proper equipment
  • Culvert management & ditch maintenance
  • Surveying techniques & drainage
  • Gravel field surveying & assessment
  • Methods to identifying existing grades & drainage issues
  • Home-grown Minnesota equipment innovations on display

Who Should Attend

Maintenance operators, supervisors, and transportation and research implementation personnel from township, tribal, city, county, and state agencies who are seeking continued education and knowledge-building opportunities.

 

More Info: http://www.mnltap.umn.edu/training/roadway/index.html

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