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Fri, Oct 31st, 2003
Posted in Features
Posted in Features
The League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) brought its annual Fall road show to Chatfield on Tuesday, October 28, the tenth of 12 regional cities the league has visited since September 30.
According to Stephanie Lake, the LMC’s Public Relations Coordinator, the Fall Tour allows the league to discuss issues with member cities throughout the state. On this year’s agenda were discussions about health care costs, land-use regulations, budget cuts and the upcoming legislative session. When asked how cities are dealing with the past year’s state legislative budget cuts, Lake said that it varies city by city. “In some cases it has been nip and tuck and cities have been spreading the pain by cutting services, and, in some cases, cutting staff. In other cases, cities have been drawing down reserves,” Lake said. Lake went on to say that many cities have been creative in looking at how they can share the cost of services with neighboring cities, such as with police and fire department costs. Lake said that the league has copies of 740 cooperative agreements where cities share services with other cities. Jim Miller, Executive Director of the LMC, said that it has been a tough year for municipalities in Minnesota. “Many cities have had to cut services while at the same time raising fees and taxes,” Miller said. On the other hand Miller says that it has forced communities to look hard at cooperative efforts. LMC’s Resource Guide for Dealing With Budget Cuts, which was part of each representative’s information packet, looked at alternative ways cities can deliver essential services while reducing costs. These include cooperative arrangements and privatization of services. Lake said that the league, which is made up of more than 800 Minnesota cities, received numerous requests for information this past year. “Do you know any city that is doing this?” was a common question, according to Lake. After their visit to Chatfield, the LMC team finished the week with stops in Waseca and Independence.