News Categories: General News

12 Oct
By: MAT Staff 0

CARES Act Resources & Frequently Asked Questions

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. Local governments can use the funding to support services and grants to businesses, hospitals, and individuals impacted by the pandemic. The specific aid amounts for each township, based on 2018 population, can be found here.

In order to receive these funds, towns should visit the Minnesota Department of Revenue special page with more information and instructions of how to apply for the funding here. But to summarize, 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 work to prevent those funds from intermingling with other township fund, examples on how to do so can be found in the CARES Act FAQ section. Towns with under 200 residents still apply for the 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.

In general, the CARES Act assistance can only be used to cover expenses that:

  1. are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19);
  2. were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020 (the date of enactment of the CARES Act) for the State or government; and
  3. were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on December 30, 2020.


CARES Act FAQ:
There a several frequently asked questions that have arisen, two documents exist to aid towns in addressing these costs:

Remember that the town needs a SWIFT ID and DUNS number. If not known by the town can find out the SWIFT ID number by emailing EFTHelpline.MMB@state.mn.us. The town can apply for a DUNS or SAMS number by visiting this page, and more information can be found in the state CRF distribution training slideshow found below. To obtain a DUNS number, follow this link and then register here.

Costs Covered with the CARES Act Funds:
As towns have started to receive CARES Act funds, they have also began spending some of these funds. Below are some examples of costs that towns have covered with the CARES Act, remember that each of these have satisfied all three factors that are required by the CARES Act to spend these funds. A resolution, resolving to spend CARES Act funds can be found here.

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for employees, officers, and town meeting attendees:
  • Increased Election costs, such as, increased pay for election judges, PPE, Plexiglas shields, increased number of voting booths, etc:
  • American with Disabilities Act compliant handicap accesses for different buildings, or changed access routes to aid in social distancing:
  • Automatic amenities to reduce the number of frequently touched objects, these amenities include doors, bathroom sinks, soap dispensers, hand sanitizer dispensers, toilets, etc:
  • Audio/Visual displays for meetings to help reduce need to pass paper or materials, or to comply with the Open Meeting Law:
  • Increased payroll expenses such as increased janitorial services or costs related to researching how to mitigate the spread and properly conduct the township through COVID-19:
  • Broadband infrastructure or hotspots that can be deployed this year, and was not already budgeted for as of March 27th 2020:
  • Computers or tablets for remote work and access or meeting participation:
  • Telephone or video meeting service costs:
  • Donations to food shelves or other social support programs:
  • Grant program to local businesses or individuals. Since grants are not commonly given by towns, it is strongly recommended that the town works with their private town attorney or in cooperation with the county that the town is located in, if such a program is established, in building this system:

Towns may also transfer excess funds to other local governments, a sample resolution doing so can be found here.

Help America Vote Act CARES Act Grant:
The state has also received funds specifically for elections, which was received by the Secretary of State, two primary qualifications must be met for a State to utilize these funds. First, distributions made to states include a 20% matching requirement by a State receiving the funds, which means that a State, receiving these funds must also spend 20% of the HAVA money used to secure the HAVA Grant. Second, HAVA requires ‘projects’ to exist for at least two years to receive the funds. However, the CARES act requires all money to be used or planned to be used by the end of 2020. To solve this potential contradiction, the extra money from HAVA is only used for the 2020 elections, and the subsequent care of materials, such as ballots.

These funds are to be distributed by the Secretary of State through the counties, so long counties agree to a “fair, equitable, and mutually agreeable” distribution plan with the municipalities within the county. So, if the town would like to learn how to apply these funds to their election, please reach out to the county to get some clarification. More information on the HAVA Cares Act Grant can be found here.

CTAS Reporting:
The linked document contains the reporting requirements in order to report these funds on CTAS.

CARES Act Reporting:
Towns over 200 residents that receive CARES Act funds must complete periodic reports (The report form can be found here). Reports have been due 7 business days after the end of the month (e.g., August 11th and September 9th, October 9th, and November 10th). The final report is due 7 business days from November 15th (November 24th). If you received distributions prior to the end of August, you must report for August and the months prior, if you received distributions after, there is no need to complete this first report. You may review the instructions and report to the MMB and COVID-19 accountability office here.

August 25 CARES ACT Webinar: For information regarding this form, please watch/listen to the August 25th webinar found here.

ZOOM CARES Act Teleconference Calls:
On July 8th, a Zoom conference call with leaders at the MN Department of Revenue to explain the application process and answer questions.

Listen to the CARES Act Information Zoom Teleconference & Presentation Here:
Password:   8q&4m^P6
Click to view PowerPoint used in teleconference: State CRF Distribution Training

On August 4th, a second Zoom conference call with Minnesota Management and Budget experts to discuss the procedures and take questions.

Listen/View the August 4, 2020 CARES Act Information Zoom Teleconference
Password:     cv7%TNG?
Click to view PowerPoint used in Aug 4 Zoom teleconference: COVID-19 Funding Reporting Presentation (Aug 4 Call)

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12 Oct
By: MAT Staff 0

Please Take Survey to Shape MN Climate Control Priorities

Climate change is not in the distant future – it’s happening here and now. In Minnesota, extreme weather events threaten agriculture, the environment and many of our most cherished natural and cultural resources. But by working collaboratively, we can build resilient communities and mitigate risks posed by climate change. The state of Minnesota is committed to making climate resiliency and mitigation efforts a priority in both the immediate and long-term future. Gov. Walz, through Executive Order 19-37, established a Climate Change Subcabinet, which I serve on, to bring renewed focus to finding effective climate policy solutions and strategies.

Increasingly, BWSR programs will include climate considerations that recognize the climate benefits our programs already provide while striving to make climate resiliency a priority for the agency and the state.

Last week, state agencies including BWSR celebrated Minnesota Climate Week. A new interagency website about climate change, Our Minnesota Climate, was launched simultaneously to raise public awareness around climate issues. Please consider taking this brief survey that will be used to help shape the Climate Change Subcabinet’s priorities and approach. We want to hear which issues affect you the most and how you’d like to be involved in this important work. As local leaders, your input is highly valuable to this process.

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02 Sep
By: MAT Staff 0

Presidential Executive Order Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations

On August 8th, President Trump issued an executive order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order states that starting September 1st,  a deferral of the 6.2% social security tax obligation “shall be made available to any employee … whose wages or compensation … during any bi-weekly pay period generally is less than $4,000” through December 31st, 2020. The deferral is a temporary relief from paying the tax, but under current law, the employee must eventually pay the deferred tax obligation. The order discusses the possibility of the federal government forgiving the tax, but that would require an act of Congress and amounts to speculation or hope on the part of the President.

The Department of Treasury guidance on the tax deferral indicates the deferred tax must be paid back by April 30th, 2021. Townships must offer their employees the option to defer the social security tax obligation, but the town should inform the employee that under current law the township must collect double the amount of social security tax withheld between January 1st, 2021, to April 30th, 2021, to pay back the deferment.

Using the median household income in the U.S. ($64,000 gross income), over the deferment period, this would defer $1,220 of tax or $152 per pay period until December 31, 2020.

The text for the executive order can be found here.

The text of guidance from the Department of Treasury can be found here.

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31 Aug
By: MAT Staff 0

Mower & Rice Counties Invited to Virtual Ash Borer Meeting

Mower and Rice County Residents Invited to Virtual Informational Meeting Concerning Emerald Ash Borer

Public can also weigh in on adoption of formal quarantines of the two counties

St. Paul, MN: Residents of Mower and Rice counties are invited to a virtual informational meeting on Thursday, September 17 regarding the discovery of emerald ash borer (EAB) in the two counties.

On March 20, 2020, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) confirmed an EAB infestation in an ash tree in the city of Faribault in Rice County. EAB was then confirmed on April 2 near Racine in Mower County. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person meetings were not held.

Those attending the upcoming virtual meeting will have an opportunity to learn more about EAB, local options to deal with the insect, and hear how residents and tree care professionals can limit the spread of the bug. Experts from the MDA will give a brief presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.

Emerald Ash Borer Virtual Informational Meeting
Thursday, September 17, 2020
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Pre-register at www.mda.state.mn.us/eab

The public will also have an opportunity to provide input on the proposal to add Mower and Rice counties to the state formal quarantine. Emergency quarantines were placed on the two counties when EAB was discovered. The MDA will take comments on the proposed formal quarantines through October 1 and recommends adopting the quarantines on October 15 The quarantines limit the movement of ash trees and limbs and hardwood firewood out of each county. The proposed quarantine language can be found at www.mda.state.mn.us/eab.

Comments can be made during the virtual informational meeting or by contacting:

Kimberly Thielen Cremers
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
625 Robert Street North St. Paul, MN 55155
kimberly.tcremers@state.mn.us
Fax: 651-201-6108

Emerald ash borer larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves nutrients up and down the trunk. Minnesota is highly susceptible to the destruction caused by this invasive insect. The state has approximately one billion ash trees, the most of any state in the nation. The insect is now confirmed in 23 of the state’s 87 counties. For more information on emerald ash borer, visit the MDA website.

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26 Aug
By: MAT Staff 0

MAT District Director Meeting Recordings and Results

Eleven of the thirteen District Director Meetings are being held via a Zoom webinar/teleconference call.  For those eleven virtual meetings, you can watch and listen to the event below under each District.  District Meetings will be added as they occur.

Handout used at all District Meetings: 2020 District Meeting Handout

District 2

Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Director: Sandy Hooker
No Election Held
Listen to the District 2 Webinar Here
Password: fr$9^Sq^


District 3

Monday, August 10, 2020
Director: Tammy Houle
No Election Held
Listen to the District 3 Webinar Here
Password: D7Ze$#sQ

District 1

Thursday, August 6, 2020
Director: Nate Redalen
New Director Elected: Rex Edge
Meeting was held Live at the Dodge County Fairgrounds

 

District 4

Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Director: Gary Burdorf
No Election Held
Listen to the District 4 Webinar Here
Password: ^rl1@!fd

District 7

Thursday, August 13, 2020
Director: Mike Miller
Election Result: Mike Miller Re-Elected
Listen to the District 7 Webinar Here
Password: yY1@B?am

 

District 6

Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Director: Lyle Stai
Election Result: Lyle Stai Re-Elected
Meeting was held LIVE outside at Shooters Bar & Grill

 

District 5

Thursday, August 20, 2020
Director: Jane Youngkrantz
Election Result: Jane Youngkrantz Re-Elected
Listen to the District 5 Webinar Here
Password: mfY=gG3B

 

District 12

Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Director: Mel Milender
No Election Held
Listen to the District 12 Webinar Here
Password: baK#!a?0

 

District 10

Thursday, August 27, 2020
Director: Jim Fisher
No Election Held
Listen to the District 10 Webinar Here
Password: 8*k895?L

District 9

Monday, August 17, 2020
Director: Vance Bachmann
No Election Held
Listen to the District 9 Webinar Here
Password: =#0gr$t0

 

District 8

Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Director: Lori Stalker
No Election Held
Listen to the District 8 Webinar Here
Password: y2nw9Vy+

 

District 13

Monday, August 24, 2020
Director: Jill Hall
No Election Held
Listen to the District 13 Webinar Here
Password: =D^$$5Kj

 

District 11

Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Director: Reno Wells
Election Results: Reno Wells Re-Elected
Listen to the District 11 Webinar Here
Password: 3p8BM@2u

 

That’s all folks!

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20 Aug
By: MAT Staff 0

Online Noxious Weed & Gravel Roads Training

NEW Noxious Weed Training Video Available!

On the Training Events page (link also towards top of homepage), you will find training opportunities provided by other organizations.  Board of Appeal & Equalization Training, Noxious Weeds, Firefighter Training, GTA Land Use Planning, LTAP, and Truck Weight Training is all updated on this page.

Here are some new Training Opportunities:

NOXIOUS WEEDS
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has produced an 18-minute video for Townships regarding Noxious Weeds.
This brief video describes the biology of invasive plants, the categories of noxious weeds in Minnesota, and identification and treatment timing for selected noxious weeds.
Noxious Weed Training for Townships (Part 1): Biology and Treatment Timing

(NEW!!) Noxious Weed Training for Townships (Part 2): Duties and Tips for a Successful Local Weed Program

LTAP
Gravel Roads Webinar Series
Session 4: Hills, Super Elevations, and Intersections
August 26, 2020
Free!
Registration and More Info

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20 Aug
By: MAT Staff 0

Help the Broadband Coalition Speed Test Initiative

The Minnesota Broadband Coalition asks Minnesotans to participate in their Speed Test Initiative, which gathers data about the internet speeds that households and businesses are experiencing. The process should take only a few minutes, with the test itself lasting less than a minute. This data will help to show where broadband infrastructure may be needed, and can be used to show the great disparity between urban and rural broadband services. MAT asks township officers to take the test and encourage others in their community to do so. The more users take the test, the more reliable and useful the data will be to rural communities.

Take the Test!

Anyone may view the data collected by this initiative. View the Speed Test Data.

Those with no internet access at their homes are encouraged to visit a local library or drive-in hotspot in their community, or use their mobile device to take the survey and check the “no available service” button to record their physical address. This simple access and speed survey will result in statistically valid data and mapping for decision makers to plot a course for Minnesota’s ambitious broadband expansion plans.

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10 Aug
By: MAT Staff 0

Free MPCA Smart Salting Online Certification Trainings

Sign up now!

All MPCA Smart Salting Certification Trainings are now available online. All online trainings are open to anyone, providing more access to the different types of trainings that best fit your work. You may find it advantageous to sign up for one hosted by a local organization near you, providing the chance to connect to local partners, advocates and businesses.

Does training really make a difference?  Yes, it does! In Dakota County, the MPCA and its partners tracked effectiveness of Smart Salting training through two winters. Fourteen months after the county’s snow plow drivers took the course, the evaluation showed measurable improvements. In the first season after the training, the county used 14,175 tons of salt for 35 snow events (average: 405 tons per event). In the next season, the county used 9,585 tons of salt for 27 events (average: 355 tons per event).

All participants must pass the online test to get certified. Certificates are sent electronically. Sign up below for Smart Salting trainings that meet your needs: Parking Lots & Sidewalks, Property Management, Roads, or Turfgrass Maintenance Certifications, or visit the MPCA Smart Salting training calendar for specifics. General questions can be directed to smartsalting.pca@state.mn.us.

MPCA Smart Salting for Parking Lots & Sidewalks

Audience: For those who maintain or contract with private or public professionals that manage parking lots, walkways, sidewalks, service roads and more.

August 14 – Hosted by City of Plymouth. Register here.

August 20 – Hosted by Rice Creek Watershed District. Register here.

August 26 – Hosted by Koochiching Soil & Water Conservation District. Email host to register.

August 27 – Hosted by City of Rochester. Email host to register.

September 2 – Hosted by Nine Mile Creek Watershed. Register here.

September 15 – Hosted by Mississippi Watershed Management Organization. Register here.

September 16 – Hosted by City of Hutchinson. Email host to register.

MPCA Smart Salting for Property Management

Audience: For those who manage properties, influence winter maintenance activities or want high-level information to make more informed decisions

August 26 – Hosted by City of Rochester. Email host to register.

August 28 – Hosted by Crow Wing Soil & Water Conservation District. Email host to register.

MPCA Smart Salting for Roads

Audience: For those who maintain high and low speed roads

August 13 – Hosted by Anoka Conservation District. Register here.

August 18 – Hosted City of Bloomington. Email host to register.

August 19 – Hosted by Stearns County Soil & Water Conservation District. Email host to register.

August 25 – Hosted by Koochiching Soil & Water Conservation District. Email host to register.

August 27 – Hosted by Crow Wing Soil & Water Conservation District. Email host to register.

August 31 – Hosted by City of Cloquet. Email host to register.

August 31 – Hosted by Dakota County and Vermillion River Watershed. Email host to register.

MPCA Turfgrass Maintenance Certification

Audience: Winter maintenance professionals are also often in charge of maintaining turfgrass and other landscape plants, another source of chloride pollution.

August 13 – Hosted by Rice Creek Watershed District. Email host to register.

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03 Aug
By: MAT Staff 0

Guidance on MN Driver’s Licenses & Identification Cards

As the election nears, towns should be aware of the information regarding the expiration dates of Minnesota driver’s licenses and identification cards. The Minnesota legislature extended the expiration dates of driver’s licenses and identification cards in response to the peacetime emergency.

Effective March 29, the expiration date for driver’s licenses and identification cards that expire during the peacetime public health emergency or anytime in the month the emergency ends are extended. The expiration dates are extended two months after the month the peacetime emergency ends. Because the current peacetime emergency ends on Aug. 12, credentials that expire between March 13, and Aug. 31, are valid until Oct. 31.

Memo to the SOS about DL and ID extensions

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03 Aug
By: MAT Staff 0

Fall Nitrogen Fertilizer Restrictions begin September 1, 2020

MDA is providing this as a reminder that the fall nitrogen fertilizer restrictions begin September 1, 2020 as part of the Groundwater Protection Rule. Below are resources to help explain where the restrictions apply and the exceptions to the rule. Please let me know if you have any questions and feel free to share this message with your staff or local contacts.

Where does the restriction apply?
The application of nitrogen fertilizer in the fall and on frozen soil will be restricted in areas vulnerable to groundwater contamination. This will also apply to Drinking Water Supply Management Areas (DWSMAs) with elevated nitrate levels. Vulnerable groundwater areas include coarse textured soils, karst geology, and shallow bedrock. Approximately 12 to 13 percent of Minnesota’s cropland is vulnerable to groundwater contamination. View a map showing the vulnerable groundwater areas as well as a list of exceptions to the restrictions.

Prerecorded Presentation or Live Webinar
We’ve prepared a presentation to explain the purpose of the Groundwater Protection Rule, where the nitrogen fertilizer restrictions apply, and the exceptions to the rule. View the prerecorded presentation or join us for a live webinar through WebEx on August 12, 2020 from 10:00 to 11:00. The video and webinar details are available online.

Thanks in advance for your help to share this information and please don’t hesitate to reach out for more information.

Note that several counties are not subject to the Groundwater Protection Rule.  These are:

Climate Exclusion Less than 3% cropland exclusion
Beltrami Cook
Clay Itasca
Clearwater Koochiching
Kittson Lake
Lake of the Woods Ramsey
Mahnomen St. Louis
Marshall  
Norman  
Pennington  
Polk  
Red Lake  
Roseau  
Wilkin (only 1/2 the county)  
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