News Categories: General News

26 Oct
By: Ruth Simpson 0

MAT Annual Educational Conference and Business Meeting

Township Officials Meet in Duluth for MAT’s 85th Annual Educational Conference and Business Meeting
Nov. 15-17, 2018

The Minnesota Association of Townships (MAT) hosts its 85th Annual Educational Conference and Business Meeting in Duluth at the DECC, November 15-17, 2018. This year’s theme is Powering Our Future: Energy to Build in Your Township. Township officers wishing to attend can register online at the MAT website, www.mntownships.org/.

Nathan Redalen, President of the Board of Directors of MAT, said “MAT is excited to be back in Duluth for our Annual Conference. This year’s theme on energy is very timely given all the energy issues facing our state — from solar farms and wind development, to the construction of pipelines and electric transmission lines. We encourage all township officers to attend and learn the impact these energy issues will have on your township.”

Conference Highlights:

MAT is excited to have Tim Gabrielson as our luncheon speaker. Tim blends comedy, magic, and inspirational principles in a presentation that helps people equip themselves to live with more joy and intentionality.

• Over thirty vendors will be on hand at the Exhibitor Showcase on Thursday evening and Friday morning. Road equipment will be on display and learn your “inner identity” with an image drawn by a caricature artist. Lots of door prizes will be given away!

• The Friday morning plenary will feature PUC Commissioner John Tuma, Julie Pierce from Minnesota Power and Fritz Ebinger from UM Extension, who will discuss energy development in Minnesota and the impact it has on land use, the environment and the economy in townships.

• Workshops will be held on CTAS Payroll Account Coding, Record Keeping, Regulating Utilities in the Right-of-Ways, Regulation of Solar Farms, Energy Planning, Line 3 Update and learn about the uses of Peat.

• Representatives from MAT, MATIT, DNR, MCPA, Dept. of Ag, MN Board of Fire Training & Education, DEED, PERA will be there to answer questions at the Round Tables. Stop by and chat with Duane Blanck, Lenny Laures and Tom Nelson about road or truck issues or visit the ever-popular Attorney Talk.

• The Friday evening banquet will recognize six high school students that will each be awarded $1000 scholarships for writing essays on our conference theme.

• At the MAT Annual Business Meeting, township officers vote on issues crucial to township government in preparation for the upcoming legislative session.

Agenda and registration information can be found at the MAT website, www.mntownships.org/.

Post expires at 2:28pm on Saturday November 17th, 2018

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23 Aug
By: MAT Staff 0

MAT Announces David Hann as New Executive Director

The Minnesota Association of Townships is excited to announce that David W. Hann has been chosen as its new Executive Director.

David and his wife Anne are residents of Eden Prairie. They have four adult children and seven grandchildren.  He is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College with a degree in Religion and did graduate work at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He volunteered for service in the U.S. Army while in college and served a year in Vietnam. After college, he had a long career as a senior executive for a food manufacturing and distribution business. He was elected to three terms on the Eden Prairie School Board and served four terms in the Minnesota State Senate. While in the Senate, he served on the following Committees: Agriculture, Education, Judiciary, Finance, and Rules and was Chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee. He was elected by his peers in his last term to serve as the Senate Minority Leader.

“I am excited to begin work with the Minnesota Association of Townships. The Association provides a vital service in support of local township government. More and more today, there are efforts to drive decision making and governance to larger and more centralized authorities. For those of us who believe that this trend needs to be resisted, the Minnesota Association of Townships plays a critical role. By making sure townships have access to the resources they need and defending their interests in the state legislature, MAT is assuring the continuing effectiveness of local township governance and the preservation of an essential part of American life.”

David’s official start date at MAT is September 4. He will be introduced to members at the Legislative & Research meeting in St. Cloud on September 19-20.

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13 Aug
By: MAT Staff 0

Data Request from American Transparency

Townships across the state recently began receiving a data request from a group called American Transparency, (Minnesota@OpenTheBooks.com ) 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.

Townships 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.

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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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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 14, 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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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

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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11 Jan
By: MAT Staff 0

Board of Appeal and Equalization Update

All local and county boards of appeal and equalization must have at least one trained member by February 1, 2018. If the board does not have a trained member by February 1, 2018, the board will be out of compliance and the powers of the board will be transferred for a minimum of two assessment years.

How long do I have to take the training?

Important: the training will be shut down at 5:00 pm on February 1, 2018. Until then, you have 24/7 access to the training and it can be completed at your own pace. It can take up to 5 business days for your login information to be generated, please be sure to plan your training accordingly.

How do I know if a board member needs to take the training?

There is an attendance roster located on our website that anyone can access to check the training status of board members. There is a list for local boards and a list for county boards. The lists are sorted by county. You can search the document and/or filter the data, which makes finding the information you need much easier. We update the attendance rosters every month, the most recent rosters are posted and were updated today (January 3, 2018).

County assessors will review the roster after February 1, 2018 to verify that there is a trained member for each jurisdiction that holds a local board of appeal and equalization meeting. If a jurisdiction does not have a trained member, the county assessor will schedule an open book meeting for 2018 and 2019.

The commissioner of revenue will review the roster after February 1, 2018 to verify that there is a trained member for each county board of appeal and equalization. If a county board does not have a trained member, the boards powers will be transferred to a special board for 2018 and 2019.

How do I access the training?

Visit our website for detailed instructions on how to register and access the training.

Below are some tips on how to navigate through the board of appeal and equalization online training.

  • What should I do if my completion status is showing as “in progress”, but I completed the training?
    • Please email the property tax division at proptax.bae@state.mn.us. We will manually set you as “completed” and you will be able to print your certificate. Do not re-register or take the training again, you just need to contact us and we will fix it.
  • What should I do if the screen prompts me to reset my password?
    • If your password has expired and the system is asking you to reset it, you should click on the link and follow the prompts to reset your password.
      If you are locked out of the system due to entering an incorrect password too many times, then you should email the property tax division at proptax.bae@state.mn.us. Please do not re-register when you have a password issue.
  • What should I do if the training does not open?
    • Check your computer settings to be sure your pop up blocker is disabled. If that does not fix the problem, please review the troubleshooting instructions posted to our website. If you continue to have issues please contact the property tax division at proptax.bae@state.mn.us
  • When do I have to complete the training by?
    • All training must be completed by 5:00pm on February 1, 2018. If you start the training prior to February 1, but do not finish it on time, you will not be marked as trained. You must complete the training in its entirety by February 1, 2018.

What if I have questions?

You can contact us at proptax.bae@state.mn.us or by calling 651-556-6091.

 

 

2017 Legislative Updates

There were some board of appeal and equalization related law changes that were enacted during the 2017 sessions of the Minnesota Legislature. The omnibus tax bill was signed into law on May 30, 2017. Below are the changes that will take effect for the 2018 board of appeal season:

  • Local and County Boards of Appeal and Equalization do not have to provide proof of a trained member. Boards must still comply with the training requirement by February 1 but no longer have to submit a Trained Member Certification Form to the assessor and/or Commissioner of Revenue.
  • Local and County Boards of Appeal and Equalization must have a trained member by February 1 to maintain their board powers and to hold a meeting. If a board does not comply with the February 1 date, the board will lose their board powers for a minimum of two assessment years.
  • County Boards of Appeal and Equalization (CBAE) cannot make any valuation or classification changes to a property if the owner has refused the assessor access to the property for an inspection. Note: this is also true for Local Boards of Appeal and Equalization (LBAE), however that is not a new law, this restriction has been in place for LBAEs and now places the same restrictions on CBAEs.
  • County Boards of Appeal and Equalization no longer are required to send meeting minutes to the Commissioner of Revenue. The meeting minutes should remain at the county office and should be provided to the department upon request, if a review is needed.

For more information on 2017 law changes you can review the 2017 Property Tax Law Summary which can be found on the MN Department of Revenue website.

 

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20 Dec
By: MAT Staff 0

IRS news release regarding the 2018 federal mileage rates

You can view the following information at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/standard-mileage-rates-for-2018-up-from-rates-for-2017

IR-2017-204, Dec. 14, 2017
WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2018 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
• 54.5 cents for every mile of business travel driven, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
• 18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
• 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The business mileage rate and the medical and moving expense rates each increased 1 cent per mile from the rates for 2017. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.

The standard mileage rate for business 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.

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

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously. These and other requirements are described in Rev. Proc. 2010-51.

Notice 2018-03, posted today on IRS.gov, contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

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14 Dec
By: MAT Staff 0

2018 MNDNR Parks and Trails Applications

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announces grant funding opportunities for park and trail projects across Minnesota. Applications are now being accepted for the following grant programs: outdoor recreation, regional trail, local trail connections and federal recreational trails.

These grants help local governments throughout the state create partnerships with the DNR to fund projects ranging from local parks, regional trails to trail connections. Eligibility requirements, deadlines, and other details can be found on the DNR Web site at mndnr.gov or on the following program links:
Outdoor Recreation Grant Program (Updated for 2018)
Federal Recreational Trail Program (Updated for 2018)
Regional Trail Grant Program (Updated for 2018)
Local Trail Connections Grant Program (Updated for 2018)

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