Weekly Memo 8-3-12

Each Weekly Memo to the City Council is also provided on the City Council web page.


125th Anniversary Celebration

The 125th Anniversary Celebration for the City of East Grand Forks is upon us.  Festivities start as early as Tuesday with a wagon train from Fisher’s Landing to East Grand Forks City Hall.  Events will continue through next weekend with a packed schedule.  Some of the many highlights include:

  • Six (at least) music events throughout the celebration at the Boardwalk and at the East Grand Forks Performing Arts Center
  • Over 30(!) inflatable games for children across the street from City Hall
  • A fireworks show on Saturday night that will be 2-3 times the normal July 4th celebration
  • Three parades
  • Free swimming on Sunday, August 12th
  • East Grand Forks School reunion activities
  • Clowns, comics, art exhibits, a car chow, food, and much more

One can find a complete schedule through several media outlets, celebration booklets, or online on the City web site under the “Community” section, or http://www.egf.mn/index.aspx?nid=365.

Candidate filing

Candidate filing for Mayor and City Council began this week and continues through Tuesday, August 14th at 5:00 pm.  There are five Council seats and the Office of the Mayor up for election.  Interested candidates file for office at City Hall through the 14th.  The Administration Office also has candidate packets available for potential candidates.

Primary election

The primary for state and county offices is Tuesday, August 14th.  Ward maps and polling locations are available on the City web site under the “City Council” section, or http://www.egf.mn/DocumentView.aspx?DID=1159.  We expect to have an updated precinct finder soon from Polk County.

Civic Center to host Clean Energy Resources Teams

On August 15th, the East Grand Forks Civic Center will host “Saving Energy in Ice Arenas: Project Case Studies and Financing.  East Grand Forks received a partial grant last year from the Minnesota Clean Energy Resources Teams (CERTs) to conduct an energy efficiency study of the City’s three indoor ice arenas.  The event will feature East Grand Forks’ study and answer key questions such as the following.

  • What funding is available?
  • How do you do it?
  • How have other local governments, and specifically ice arenas, approached and accomplished such projects?

Interested participants can view the event flier at http://www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/sites/default/files/CERTs_EGF_LUGs_halfpage.pdf and can register for free at http://nwlocalgovt.eventbrite.com/.

Swimming Pool

The City Council will reconsider the Mayor’s veto of the swimming pool contract on Tuesday as required by City Charter.  The Save Our Pool group will hold its next organizational meeting after the City Council meeting at 6:30 pm at the Campbell Library.  The internal swimming pool working group also will meet next week to discuss options for the swimming pool project including, but not limited to, rebidding the project and redesigning the project.   Representatives of Save Our Pool are invited to the meeting.

Budget season is upon us

Department Heads are busy preparing their budget requests per City Charter. And, Administration staff is working feverishly on projected operational costs for the 2013 budget.  There will be several challenges to the 2013 budget.  Debt service on long-awaited capital and equipment replacement will begin in 2013.  Also, Local Government Aid (LGA) is flat for the third year in a row.  Some state representatives will claim victory that they have “held the line” on LGA funding.  However, the “same amount as last year” also equates to the same amount that in 2010, which itself is about $600,000 less than previous years.  In effect, East Grand Forks has been cut $2 million in LGA funding just since 2008 – and counting.  I intend to give the City Council a preliminary look at projected budget on August 14th, with a more formal presentation on the work session of August 28th.  The City Council will consider the preliminary levy on Tuesday, September 4. The Council must approve the preliminary levy and budget no later than September 15.  The final levy, approved in December, can be less – but not more – than the preliminary levy.  I have attached one slide from a Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities presentation that shows that LGA would be funded at $817 million in 2012 had the program simply kept with inflation since cuts first began 2002.  The 2012 actual funding amount was $425 million – a cut of 48 percent.  For East Grand Forks, to LGA could (or should) have been roughly $3.5-4.0 million, instead it is $2,471,550 for 2013.

Personnel resignations

Michelle French, Executive Secretary, submitted her resignation effective August 16, 2012.  The City of Moorhead has selected Michelle to be its new City Clerk.   Tom Spoor submitted his resignation effective October 31, 2012.   Both Michelle and Tom have served the City of East Grand Forks for several years. We will greatly miss their knowledge, expertise, and dedication.


Library, Charlotte Helgeson

Imagine That at the Library will be concluding this next week with the Campbell Picnic.  All Reading Passports are to be turned in to have hours of reading counted for prizes sponsored by the Library and the Optimist Club. The summer was a grand success for many children.  A review of the summer activities will include how to be able to serve more children this next year as our waiting lists for many of the weeks were of unacceptable length.

The Library will be closed August 4-6 for uploading our new software, Evergreen.  PALS will be hosting and supporting the open source software.  The Library was able to participate in a Museum and Library Science Institute grant to defray part of the data migration cost.  PALS has maintained a strict schedule and the Campbell Library staff has worked hard on daily assignments to learn the new programming.  With a soft opening on Monday August 6, Council members are invited to renew their library cards or perhaps, sign up for their very first ones.

Public Works, Jason Stordahl

Construction project at the Bygland Road flood closure is complete, and the road is open to traffic.

Police Department, Chief Mike Hedlund

National Night Out

The East Grand Forks Police and Fire Departments will be joining other regional public safety agencies in a National Night Out event at the Purpur Arena in Grand Forks, ND on August 7, 2012.  National Night Out is a family friendly event that works to support crime and drug prevention and increase neighborhood and community spirit.  The event runs from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM and the first 1,000 people get free hamburgers.   Area law enforcement agencies, fire departments, EMS agencies and military organizations will have displays including squad cars, fire trucks, military vehicles and other equipment.   There will be interactive games and lots of information on a variety of topics.  Door prizes will be given away throughout the evening.  Come out and help us celebrate our community!

Minnesota Strengthens Synthetic Drug Laws

Effective August 1, 2012 the State of Minnesota has strengthened its laws regarding synthetic drugs (often times called names such as Spice and bath salts).  Synthetic drugs have become a serious issue for law enforcement in recent years.  Part of the reason for this is the ability of the manufacturers to slightly modify the formulas of the drugs that they are making, thus skirting around the laws of the various states.  Synthetic drugs have been advertised as being safe but they are anything but.  People’s reactions to these drugs seem to vary greatly with many people experiencing extreme reactions and even death.  In recent weeks two subjects have died in Grand Forks/East Grand Forks and several others have been hospitalized after taking synthetic drugs.  The new laws stiffen the penalties for the sale of synthetic drugs and move new synthetic drugs into Schedule I of the state’s narcotics schedules (Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous).