by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
Each first Wednesday of the month, Royalton plays host to officials from the other cities in Morrison County, bringing together whoever can be there for “city visits.”
“We can be sounding boards for each other, sharing our issues, schedules and ways of doing things,” said Royalton Mayor Andrea Lauer.
The visits were initiated in spring 2011 as a way to join forces, to pool resources.
“We’re learning from one another,” said Lauer. “We don’t have to keep reinventing that wheel.”
One beneficial result of the meetings is a collaboration between the cities of Royalton and Pierz for a master sidewalk and trail plan that brought in cooperative grant money through the Initiative Foundation.
“That’s part of what we’re trying to do with the other cities in Morrison County,” Lauer said. “It’s easier and more beneficial to do things together rather than competing against each other.”
Lauer was notified that Royalton was being given a Local Government Innovation Award for the city visits.
The award recognizes the creative ways counties, cities, and schools are making Minnesota better and doing things differently. Up to 18 local government entities will be recognized as award winners for their innovative work.
Three of the entities being recognized — Dakota County Community Services, Irondale High School of Mounds View Public Schools and the city of St. Paul — are competing to receive a $25,000 grant.
“I was super excited when I got the e-mail notification,” Lauer said.
“Andrea should get the credit for getting the cities together,” said Royalton City Clerk Carol Madsen.
The award will be presented Jan. 16 during a reception at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
The awards have been made possible with the support of InCommons, an initiative of the Bush Foundation that inspires, supports, and connects community-powered problem-solving.
“Anything that brings the city recognition is a good thing,” said Lauer.
Other business that came before the Royalton City Council Tuesday included:
• Welcoming new Council Member Scott Walberg;
• Approving the new fire department and first response team officers;
• Approving the purchase of two new helmets for the fire department at a cost of $200 each;
• Adopting the Emerald Ash Borer management plan for the city. Paul Zimny of the Tree Board said, “We are not planting ash trees on city property anymore, and we discourage citizens from planting ash trees;”
• Approving the reworked Ordinance 25, for 3.2 malt liquor, wine and beer;
• Discussing the survey results for the alley between Elm and Driftwood. A letter will be sent to the 10 residents whose property adjoins that alley, requesting that all personal property — including but not limited to sheds, fences and woodpiles — be moved off the city’s alley by May 1;
• Approving a resolution allowing the electronic transfer of funds by the city clerk-treasurer, deputy clerk or mayor;
• Approving a resolution to allow the city clerk-treasurer, deputy clerk and mayor to generate handwritten and computer-generated checks as appropriate; and
• Approving the 2013 mileage rate as 46.5 cents per mile.
The next regularly scheduled Royalton City Council meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. at the City Complex.