Elected and appointed officials from Clay County gathered Jan. 28 to learn about collaboration, community organizations and flood fighting during the Intergovernmental Retreat hosted this year by Moorhead Area Public Schools.
During the 42nd annual event, leaders focused on topics of importance to the municipalities, school districts and other governmental agencies. Jim Mulder, retired executive director of the Association of Minnesota Counties, spoke during his keynote about collaboration and shared services.
Mulder explained that Minnesota faces a long-term structural deficit and fundamental changes are necessary. â€œState spending will shift focus from education, infrastructure and higher education to care and support of the aging,â€ Mulder said.
He encouraged the audience to begin a mission critical review of each service and function and identify services that meet the basic mission of the community.
â€œCommunities face a fundamental disconnect between the services people expect the state and local government to provide and the tax revenues people are wiling to spend to finance those services,â€ Mulder said.
He suggested that the leaders think about how to work together in and across communities and offered some suggestions for sharing services.
Other presentations included an overview of the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation by President Kevin McKinnon, an overview of the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce by President Craig Whitney and a session on spring flood preparation and the flood diversion.
The Intergovernmental Retreat concluded with the legislative forum. Participants were Senator Keith Langseth, Minnesota Senate District 9; Representative Morrie Lanning, Minnesota House District 9A; Representative Paul Marquart, Minnesota House District 9B; and Andy Martin from U.S. Senator Amy Klobucharâ€™s office. They shared information and answered questions about a variety of topics, including the state budget, local government aid, bonding bill, mandate relief, Vikings stadium and removing sales tax exemptions.