• 29Sep

    To stream line the process, the City of Rochester and DMC created a joint application for funding dollars. Here it is:

    DMC Funding Application

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  • 06Dec

    Thanks to RAEDI ED (and fellow elected official) Gary Smith for putting together a summary of how the Envirolastech loan works.  We approved this loan at our last meeting and will use sales tax funds that were approved for economic development. Read more…

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  • 26Mar

    The reason this is being done is for reliability. However it is such a big project that it has a significant economic impact. The biggest benefit to Rochester is the improved reliability enabling the decommissioning of the Silver Lake Powerplant.

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  • 22Feb

    I expect that there will be many edits to this post as I respond to additional questions.

    Today I was fortunate enough to serve on a panel with John Wade (Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce), State Sen. Carla Nelson, Gary Smith (RAEDI), and Kathleen Harrington (Mayo Government Relations).  The focus of the session was on economic development and specifically Destination Medical Center (DMC).  The event was hosted by Cube.  You can find a replay on their blog.

    I always like to preface the discussion of some of the minutia with the big picture.  Here is a quote from me.

    “When you talk about #DMCMN you are talking about one of the greatest opportunities of our lifetimes.” – @votewojcik

    I am 100% committed to have the best medical community in the world.  It’s my job to make sure we do it right.

    Here are some of the questions asked / thoughts articulated in the forum.  To summarize; the big issues were transparency, conflict of interest, public involvement, government role in infrastructure, and eminent domain.

    Transparency

    There were a number of questions around transparency.  I have a unique perspective on this as I also didn’t have a view as to what was going on as the concept evolved.

    I don’t claim to be an attorney, but here is my understanding after questioning the city attorney.

    In my discussions with staff as a representative of the public interest I asked some pretty direct questions as I wanted to make sure there were going to be no smoke filled rooms with the DMC authority.  What I did learn was that authority meetings would be subject to the Minnesota Open Meetings Law.  This ensures that all meetings are open to the public (unless closed for certain legal reasons).  In addition, emails between a quorum of the members would be illegal.  Further, emails exchanged in a serial manner (I sent to you, you send to John Doe, etc.) are also illegal.  In short you get to see the decision making process play out in public.

    The DMC Authority would also be subject to the Minnesota Data Practices Act.  As such internal documents and email would be would be provided to any member of the public upon request.

    Do these guarantee transparency, no, but it does go a long way.  Only honest leadership can provide true transparency.  I was the only city councilmember to insist on citizen representation and open meetings for the Downtown Masterplan Implementation Committee, and as such those meetings continue in secret.

    Independent Leadership / Conflict of Interest:

    One of my early concerns was conflicts of interest, but that seems to be moving in the right direction.  The initial version of the law would have had all 3 people representing Rochester on the DMC Authority actually employed by or receiving a pension from the Mayo Clinic.  I expressed some concern about this, but the city administrator told me that I was the only person on the city council that had a problem with this.  As it turns out some leaders at the state agreed with me and this is now being changed.  It never made sense to me that a Mayo employee should negotiate for the best interests of the community across the table from their employer.

     

     

    Question from Travis:

    Mayo has the name branding of John Hopkins and the Cleveland Clinc, but this town is not Clev or Balt, hell MPLS is not either. how does anyone think this will work? size and infra is just not here to compete at that level.

    More coming…

     

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  • 20Mar

    The exact moment in time that Rochester officially became a city of the first class.  Here is a note from City Attorney, and Fighting Sioux Alum, Terry Adkins. Read more…

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  • 03Mar

    I made the statement that the addition of retailers at Shoppes on Maine has not increased jobs in Rochester.  I have met with Tom Hexum and Ron Schultz of Maine Street Development.  They stated and I agree that there are new job at Shoppes on Maine.  However if these are simply a shuffling of existing jobs there is not a new benefit. Read more…

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  • 22Feb

    Many of you know that I have been a long standing champion for continuing education.  Now I will have a unique opportunity to learn from some of the best community and economic development folks in the nation.  I just found out that I have been appointed to the National League of Cities’ Community and Economic Development Policy and Advocacy Committee (CED). This is a good fit given my interests in economic development, financial analytics, as well as my professional background.  Knowledge learned in this position should benefit the citizens of Rochester.

    Here is my offical quote:

    “I am honored to have been selected for this national leadership position. This will provide my community access to some of the best community and economic development practices and professionals in the nation. I look forward to advocating for fiscally responsible community and economic development, learning from my peers, and sharing progressive policies that have worked in Rochester. Our continued commitment to education and renewal will help keep Rochester one of our nation’s most vibrant economies.”

    A copy of the press release can be found here.

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  • 08Feb

    The first pure session at the NLC event this past weekend dealt with an overview and some basics about community economic development.  The goals of economic development, particularly that with tax payer support include: Read more…

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  • 22Nov

    Some of you might have caught my appearance on ABC advocating for a 2011 jobs bill.  Here is a report discussing why it makes sense right now. Read more…

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  • 25Jun

    If current revenue and spending trends continue and no policy changes are made, Minnesota cities of all sizes in all regions of the state will be broke by the year 2015. That is the startling finding of a recently completed projection prepared for the League by the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota, and released on June 24 at the League’s Annual Conference in St. Cloud. View the full report.

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