Local Gov't Accountability Roundup: 10/6/11

BROOKLYN CENTER: City Sign Ordinance Holds up Anti-Graffiti Mural  Jimmy Langoria’s canvas is a 1,400 sound barrier now marred by gang graffiti between Highway 100 and Earle Brown Elementary School in Brooklyn Center. The Hopkins artist got support from the a Metropolitan Regional Arts Council grant to go ahead. Before Langoria paints over the gang signage, however, he needs the city to sign off on the project, which is illegal under the city’s sign ordinance.  

FERGUS FALLS: Doing Payroll for Other Schools Pays off for MSCTC When the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) board of trustees went looking for accounting efficiencies for the statewide system, Minnesota State Community and Technical College stepped up. With campuses in Fergus Falls, Moorhead, Detroit Lakes and Wadena, MSTC was already handling multiple payrolls. It’s another way to cut costs and keep jobs in the community.

ALEXANDRIA: Builders Concerned about Impact of Nearly Doubling City Fees  The city plans to nearly double building fees, raising about $170,000 in new revenue annually. The fees for a $180,000 project would rise to about $2,200. Local builders who have already laid off employees said they were not asked about the proposal in advance. The city also announced numerous other significant fee hikes on everything from dog licenses to taxis and signs.

RED WING: City May Bail Out Troubled Port Authority  City council members and the financially challenged Port Authority discussed having the city cover bond payments on land held for economic development. Currently the port authority spends some $200,000 per year for the bond payments, which the city covered until a few years ago. The big question remaining is whether the port authority or city should be holding land for economic development in the first place. 

AITKIN: County Board Sets Policy for Flying Flag  The Aitkin County commissioners have formalized a policy for flying the flag at half staff. Thus far in 2011, the county has flown the flag at half staff on sixteen occasions.

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