Quick Hits

Here are some items that I’ve had on the backburner.

Tom Horner in EGF. Independence Party Gubernatorial Candidate will be at City Hall today (October 7) at 2 p.m.

Cities, Services, and Funding. The League of Minnesota Cities commissioned the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute to examine city finances statewide based on past and future cuts to Local Government Aid (LGA) along with projected revenues and spending.  The results are not pretty.  If cities and the state made no other significant changes, many cities would be deficit spending as early as 2015.  And, cities would face a statewide funding deficit of 35 percent by 2025.  This study proves that status quo is not an option for municipalities.  Cities have to balance their budgets, unlike the federal government and, to some degree, the state government.

Outside the Ox. The League has also developed a new web site, www.outsidetheox.org, to illustrate the funding issues (I do not use the term “crisis” lightly) at hand in city governments; and to gather input and ideas from interested parties.

Budget Work Sessions. The City Council heard the first two budget presentations on Wednesday evening from the Public Works Department and the Metropolitan Planning Organization.  The Council will meet each Wednesday evening in October to hear departmental presentations.  Next Wednesday, October 13, will be “Public Safety night” with presentations from the Fire Department and the Police Department.

MyMNBudget.com.  The results are in.  Users from across the state submitted their state budget plans online.  The results by program are surprisingly bipartisan.  Most favored some combination of spending cuts and new revenue.  While the specific funding each varied, the overall similarity in priorities is encouraging.  If only our elected officials could reach this kind of consensus.  And, as the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities pointed out, over 600 citizens submitted balanced budgets.  The gubernatorial candidates have yet to accomplish that feat.

A Civic Going Out of Business Sale. What kind of messages do cities send by deferring local infrastructure maintenance?  Can they no longer afford to be cities?  Read on.

My Social (networking) Calendar. How do the kids do it?  This social media thing is tough to maintain.  The City has a web site, a Facebook account, and a Twitter account.  I have my own sites on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, something called GovLoop that I haven’t had much time to review, and, oh yeah, this blog.  In between maintaining those sites I occasionally manage a City and try to get home once in awhile. The Grand Forks Herald included me in their younger area leaders list some time ago.  I do not always feel so young anymore in trying to keep up with these “social engagements.”

Tomorrow: The Weekly Memo.