With 2015 coming to a close, Minnesota City managers and administrators are looking back at victories in 2015 and eagerly looking forward to their local legislative priorities. All signs and indicators point in a positive direction for Minnesota.
We interviewed over a dozen city managers to hear about their priorities for 2016. They shared their thoughts about many things, focusing on transparency, transportation and infrastructure, and communications:
Transparency appeared as a frequent topic in 2015. The state received a modest rating in some areas of open government in 2015, however the Center for Public Integrity gave a poor overall grade to Minnesota. The Star Tribune considered 2015 a successful move forward for open government in Minnesota, noting key legislative victories in public information, but there is still much room for improvement in giving access to public information. While cities in other states forge ahead with innovative “tech” solutions that improve government, Minnesota lagged with a “D” grade from the Center for Public Integrity. As city managers were confident in some of their government’s moves to increase public access to information, they also looked forward to hearing about additional opportunities to improve their cities’ transparency to match the 21st century.
Transportation and Infrastructure
Among other cities, Sauk Rapids, Stewartville, Burnsville, Chaska, and Chanhassen are taking aim at major transportation upgrades. State aid is helping some of these cities rebuild major transportation corridors on county roads that affect residents and their downtowns. City managers are also considering ways to keep their roads in great condition and keep citizens in the communication loop for major projects that affect them. Many are considering some of the tools SeeClickFix provides to get residents more involved in the process.
While traditional sources of outgoing communication are being utilized to communicate important changes, cities are also turning to newer forms of communication that improve the City Hall’s ability to receive input from residents. Many cities employ a wide array of communication channels including revamped websites, facebook, and TV media.
New communications tools exist to improve the two-way communications of the city, positioning the city as a listener. Many city managers saw the value in this position and are further exploring mobile, web, and CRM tools to improve the city’s communications.