I went to last week’s retirement reception at Northfield City Hall for Lynne Young, Northfield Public Library Director, and Liz Wheeler, Director of Human Resources, IT and Risk. Former Northfield City Administrator and current Edina City Manager Scott Neal was among the dignitaries who attended.
I was pleased that City staff chose one of my photos of downtown Northfield to give to Liz. The photo is used on the City’s new website.
I’ve been a bit of a laggard here on LoGro lately. For years, I’ve had something new on the blog everyday but in the last month, I’ve only had a few new posts/week and have not been very active in the comment threads. For more information about vape business visit MigVapor’s vaporizers.
I’ve created a new blog called Engage Citizens as I’m shifting more of my Wigley and Associates consulting work to helping local units of government (state, cities, counties, townships, school districts) use online tools and services to—you guessed it—engage citizens.
I’ve been doing online citizen engagement as a citizen since the early 90’s in my work with Northfield.org and continuing here on Locally Grown Northfield since 2006. Learn how to grow any business online by applying the training found inside of awol academy
…took the first step toward implementing utility franchise fees to create a new revenue stream. Funds would finance new sidewalk, trail and non-motorized transportation projects around the community. Currently, such projects are funded through the City’s annual Capital Improvement Plan or special assessments. The utility franchise fees are estimated to generate more than $1 million in new revenue per year.
The new utility franchise fee is like a sales tax in that it will be a small charge listed on the monthly bill that customers receive from each utility, but its unlike a sales tax in that it is a flat amount each month that is tied to the type of customer you are, not how much electricity or natural gas you consume. For a typical residential customer of Xcel Energy, the new monthly franchise fee is $1.45 per month. It’s exactly the same for the typical residential customer of CenterPoint Energy…
This goal will require resources to complete. After looking at a number of different ways to fund this goal, the Council and I settled on the utility franchise fee as our best option. Why? It has a wide base. Everyone in the community (including non-property tax paying properties) uses electricity and natural gas, so everyone will pay the franchise fee. Because the base of people paying this fee is wide, the rate of the fee itself can be low. That’s how a $2.90/month/residence franchise fee can generate over $1 million a year in revenues.
We really need a way to pay for new sidewalks that’s not so onerous for the residential property owners along streets where none exist, for example, Woodley. And yes, bicycle-related infrastructure, too.
Having a tax that everyone would pay, including schools, colleges, churches, and non-profits, is especially appealing.
In between, I plan to attend as many sessions as I can and report back on some of them that I think might be of interest to Northfielders.
10:30 am update: AARRGGHH. All pre-conference workshops cancelled today. Pretty much all roads in and out of Duluth are blocked, including I35. Eerie to see a completely empty I35 in the middle of the morning.
A tour of several local government websites (primarily cities in the US) to see some best practices of how social media tools (blogs, web forums, email lists, webinars, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.) are being used to enable more transparency and engagement.
A discussion about the hurdles that local government officials face when implementing the use of social media.
The panelists (all bloggers), all have some Northfield connections: