Local Gov't Accountability Roundup: 9/7/11

WILLMAR: By Design: Mayor Calls for Budget Cuts in City Design Center and Federal Lobbyist Mayor Frank Yanish says downtown improvement plans have failed to materialize. So he wants to reduce funding from $42,500 to $25,000 and eliminate the city’s $27,000 share for a federal lobbyist in 2012 budget. 

BEMIDJI: Stoner Avenue Signs a Hot Commodity for Thieves in Bemidji Residents of sixties sounding city street convince city council to keep the same name, while authorities step up security to thwart thieves after the signs, which cost up to $5,000 for taller, tougher to steal replacements. 

AUSTIN: City Council Keeps Lobbyist in Vote to Hike Tax Levy up to 13 Percent
A proposal to save taxpayers $46,000 a year by severing the city’s membership in The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities falls short. Even so, officials admit their 13 percent proposed increase in property taxes may appear drastic, but is actually responsible. (corrected)

BLUE EARTH: Confusion over new state law leaves some building projects up in the air  A new state law on local zoning variances leads to complete confusion over what’s permitted and what’s not. Bottom line: Property owners are caught in the middle until and unless the city makes changes in the zoning codes to meet state statute.

ST. CLOUD: Stearns County Website Named Tops in U.S. The Center for Digital Government gives top props to www.co.stearns.mn.us the number one county website in the nation. The features taken into consideration in the rankings include cost-savings, innovation and usefulness to the public.

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