Blog

  • 01 Apr 2021 9:06 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    ST. CLOUD: 

    February 22, City Council –

    March 8, City Council –

    March 22, City Council –

    SARTELL: 

    February 22, City Council –

    March 8, City Council –

    March 22, City Council –

    April 5, Planning Commission Agenda –
    • Wollak Development Rezoning
    • Ruth Variance Request
    • Hullsiek Variance Request
    • Frie Property Variance and Subdivision Request
    • Zoning Amendment Discussion:
      - Conditional Use Permits
      - District Discussion
      - Current R-2 District

    SAUK RAPIDS:

    February 22, City Council –

    March 8, City Council –

    March 22, City Council –


    ST. AUGUSTA: 

    March 2, City Council –

    ST. JOSEPH: 

    March 1, City Council –

    March 15, City Council – [Nothing of particular interest to CMBA]

    March 23, City Council – [Nothing of particular interest to CMBA]

    WAITE PARK:

    March 1, City Council –

    March 15, City Council –

    April 5, City Council – [Nothing of particular interest to CMBA]

    CLEARWATER:

    February 22, City Council (Work Shop, no actions) –

    March 8, City Council –

    FOLEY:

    March 2, City Council –

    March 16, City Council –

    March 19, City Council – (Continuation of March 16 agenda)

    STEARNS COUNTY:

    February 22, Planning Commission – ShapeStearns 2040 Land Use & Zoning Ordinance Review Committee

    March 2, County Board – 

    March 29,  Planning Commission – ShapeStearns 2040 Land Use & Zoning Ordinance Review Committee

    March 30, County Board – Special Meeting

    BENTON COUNTY: 

    March 2, County Board – [Nothing of particular interest to CMBA]

    March 11, Planning Commission –

    March 16, County Board – 

    As always, contact CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt, with any questions or concerns.


    Steve Gottwalt

    Government Affairs Consultant
    Central Minnesota Builders Association

    1124 West St. Germain Street | St. Cloud, MN  56301
    M: 952.923.5265  |  steve@cmbaonline.org


  • 29 Mar 2021 5:06 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    Bills of interest: CMBA works closely with BAM and others to stay on top of Minnesota legislative and regulatory actions.  The following is a list of proposed Minnesota bills impacting our industry. Use the links below to access information about each bill, including the full text of each. If you have questions or would like to provide input or feedback, please contact CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt, steve@cmbaonline.org, 952-923-5265.

    MINNESOTA:

    • Protecting the Contractor Recovery Fund - HF762 / SF419 (Support)  Protects the CRF from being raided for use in the state’s General Funds budget.  CMBA encouraged the authors to take more time considering several other potential CRF changes.
    • Family Homes Exempted from Window Fall Protections - HF1496 / SF802 (Support)  Exempts single-family homes from the window fall prevention device mandate.
    • Building Permit Fees Based on Sq. Ft. - HF1085 / SF801 (Support)
      Requires cities to base construction permit fees, including inspection fees, on cost per sq. ft. and post the fees publicly.
    • Preventing Exclusionary Zoning via PUD - HF1840 / SF915 (Support)  Prohibits cities from requiring a PUD if a residential development already meets existing zoning code.
    • Workforce Development Scholarships in High Demand Fields - HF1519SF1301 (Support) Funding to help schools add students based on regionally-specific worker shortages including construction and trades

    • Sick & Safe Time Requirements - HF7 SF29; HF1200 SF1205; HF41 SF331 (Oppose)  Mandates requiring employers to give employees minimum amounts of paid time-off, specifically including construction.

    • Capping Park Dedication Fees – HF1839 / SF914 (Support)  City parkland fees capped at 5% of the appraised value of the land at the time of subdivision application.

    • Park Dedication Fee for Cities of The First Class - HF1350 SF1781 (Oppose) Gives cities of the first class authority to apply parkland dedication fees to developments not currently subject to the fee (i.e., prior to subdividing), including multifamily housing and commercial.
    • Street Impact Fees - HF527 SF277 (Oppose)  CMBA member, David Werschay, testified against.
      Allows cities to charge developers a new, up-front fee to pay projected costs of public roadway infrastructure. Estimated to add $8,000-$10,000 to the cost of each new home.
    • Street Improvement Districts HF1565 / SF1998 (Oppose)
      Gives cities the authority to establish new “street improvement districts” for purposes of assessing roadway infrastructure costs.
    • Energy Code Impacts Must Have 5-Year Payback - SF910 (Support) Changes to Minnesota's Energy Code must have a 5-year payback once a home is built
    • PPP Federal Tax Conformity - HF501 SF263 (Support) Conforms Minnesota’s tax treatment of Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans with that of the federal government, exempting forgiven PPP loan amounts from Minnesota taxation.
    • Carpet Stewardship Program - HF1426 / SF1171 (Oppose) Creates a new, costly carpet stewardship program and mandates that all carpet suppliers pay a fee applied to any carpet sold in Minnesota.

    NATIONAL:

    • Stimulus bill: President Biden has signed the $1.9 trillion federal stimulus package that includes $1,400 per adult for most Americans, and another $1,400 per child. The package includes $300 per week extension of unemployment benefits, funding to expand COVID vaccine distribution, and money to help schools upgrade their HVAC systems.  Click here for more details.
    • Lumber prices: NAHB led a coalition of more than 35 organizations in sending a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary, Gina Raimondo, urging the secretary to “examine the lumber supply chain, identify the causes for high prices and supply constraints, and seek immediate remedies that will increase production.” Shortages and delays of raw materials have driven up new home building costs.  Click here for more details.
    • Carried Interest bill:  The U.S. House recently introduced H.R. 1068, the Carried Interest Fairness Act of 2021. Such changes to the taxation of carried interest would have a significant negative impact on the multifamily housing industry, as well as those who participate in real estate investment partnership. Click here for more details.


  • 25 Mar 2021 4:10 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    CMBA Government Affairs Committee Meeting, Tues., April 20 - Join us for the April CMBA Government Affairs Committee meeting, Tuesday, April 20, 8:00-9:00 a.m., at CMBA Offices in downtown St. Cloud (with appropriate distancing and masks as needed), or via Zoom.  We have an information-packed agenda focused on legislative and regulatory activities impacting our industry at the local, state and federal levels.  We will also hear from Sauk Rapids Community Development Director, Todd Schultz, sharing Sauk Rapids development priorities, and answering your questions. Meetings are open to any CMBA member!  Just contact CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt, steve@cmbaonline.org, M: 952-923-5265.  Hope to see you there (or there)!


  • 25 Mar 2021 4:07 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    View the spring 2021 edition of the CCLD Review.

    Some of the stories in this edition include:

    • Registration is open for the 2021 CCLD Spring Seminar

    • Working group reviews adoption of new Commercial Energy Code

    • New GFCI enforcement begins April 5

    • Minnesota Plumbing Code rulemaking update

    • Municipal Fee and Expense Report due by June 30, 2021

    • Unlicensed contractor's second violation results in $28,500 fine

    • Seeking requests for proposals to provide electrical inspections in Minnesota

    • ... and more.

    About the CCLD Review

    The CCLD Review is a quarterly publication that promotes safe, healthy work and living environments in Minnesota and informs construction and code professionals about the purpose, plans and progress of Construction Codes and Licensing Division. Subscribers may also receive periodic updates about CCLD activities and seminars.


  • 09 Feb 2021 5:24 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    CMBA Government Affairs Committee "Shooting The Bull" Tues., Feb. 16 - Join us for this month's CMBA Government Affairs Committee meeting, Tuesday, February 16, 8:00-9:00 a.m., at Tactical Advantage in Waite Park (and via Zoom).  Tactical Advantage has provided us a spacious and well-ventilated meeting space, so we hope you join us in-person (masks and distancing required).  We have an information-packed agenda, and afterward, members are invited to stay and shoot targets on Tactical Advantage's beautiful, warm indoor shooting range. You can rent a gun and purchase ammo on-site, or bring your own. Any CMBA member is welcome to join the meeting!  Just contact CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt, steve@cmbaonline.org, M: 952-923-5265.


  • 09 Feb 2021 5:08 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    CMBA Government Affairs Committee "Shooting The Bull" Tues., Feb. 16 - Join us for this month's CMBA Government Affairs Committee meeting, Tuesday, February 16, 8:00-9:00 a.m., at Tactical Advantage in Waite Park (and via Zoom).  Tactical Advantage has provided us a spacious and well-ventilated meeting space, so we hope you join us in-person (masks and distancing will be required ).  We have an information-packed agenda, and afterward, members are invited to stay and shoot targets on Tactical Advantage's beautiful, warm indoor shooting range. You can rent a gun and purchase ammo on-site, or bring your own. Any CMBA member is welcome to join the meeting!  Just contact CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt, steve@cmbaonline.org, M: 952-923-5265.

    Stearns County Board of Commissioners Public Hearing on Zoning Ordinance Changes, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, 9:00 a.m.

    • Rural Tourism (i.e., Wedding Barns)
    • Solar Farms
    • Second Home on a Farm
    • Agricultural Employee Housing
    • Manufactured Homes
    • Accessory Dwelling Units (i.e., "Granny Pads")

    For more details, click here - ShapeStearns 2040, shapestearns.com

    BAM Revives Government Relations Committee - The Buiilders Association of Minnesota (BAM) has revived its Government Relations Committee roundtable. The every-two-week meeting gives BAM locals like CMBA a chance to put our heads together on statewide issues impacting developers and builders, including activities at the State Legislature.  During the Feb. 5 meeting, the committee discussed state legislative priorities and bill deadlines.  Bills of interest to our members include: SF419 (protecting the state's Contractor Recovery Fund), SF148 (imposes new well disclosure and water quality requirements), SF134 (allowing 16-17 year olds on construction jobs), SF155 (sprinklers in high rises), HF7 (new and costly employee leave mandates), and HF527 (new city authority to impose street impact fees on developers).

    CMBA Helps Fight Proposed New Street Impact Fees - CMBA Board member, David Werschay (Werschay Homes), will testify Wed., Feb. 10 during the House Local Government Committee hearing on HF527, a bill that would give cities new authority to impose street impact fees on developers of new housing subdivisions.  This would be a direct new impact to developers, estimated to add $8,000-$10,000 to the cost of each new home.  "Cities already have tools for levying the money needed to build new streets and place requirements on new subdivisions," said CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt. "This proposal is a costly kick in the gut when we're facing a shortage of available homes and community concerns for housing affordability,." CMBA has joined a coalition of organizations, including home builders and realtors, opposed to the bill.

    For more information about government affairs or regulatory matters, contact CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt, steve@cmbaonline.org, M: 952-923-5265.


  • 24 Nov 2020 9:24 AM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    CMBA Government Affairs Committee - Post-Election Wrap-Up!  The GA Committee held its monthly meeting in November shortly after the elections.  We welcomed and congratulated U.S. Representative-elect Michelle Fischbach, who won Minnesota's 7th District Congressional seat, defeating long-time incumbant Congressman Collin Peterson. We also welcomed 6th District Congressman Tom Emmer's staff for a post-election update.  Julia Bogue with NAHB gave us a sense of the federal landscape.  BAM Executive VP, Grace Keliher, and BAM Lobbyist, Brian Halloran, provided a run-down of the Minnesota state elections.  Minnesota remains the only state in the nation with divided government as the GOP held onto its majority in the Senate, and the DFL held onto its majority in the House.  We also discussed lumber shortages, delays and costs which are beginning to ease, and the high cost of local fees with some area communities.  We had at least three state legislators join our Zoom Meeting, and at least one local community development official (Scott Zaehr with the City of Sartell).  To join the CMBA Government Affairs Committee, or for any questions or concerns about local zoning, development and building requirements, contact:  Steve Gottwalt, steve@cmbaonline.org, M: 952-923-5265.

  • 24 Nov 2020 9:10 AM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    Nov. 23, 2020

    NOTE:  Some city councils, planning commissions and county boards are still holding virtual meetings (available via online or conference call only) due to COVID-19.  Check the respective city or county websites for links to meetings and instructions for how to participate in public hearings and other opportunities for public input.

    ST. CLOUD: 

    October 26, City Council –

    November 9, City Council –

    • Approved: Introduction to 2021 Proposed Enterprise Funds Budget  NOTE:  Sewer and Water fees, including SAC/WAC, are set to increase in 2021, the third year of a previously approved 5-year set of annual rate increases.  SAC/WAC fees increase from $2,650 in 2020, to $2,800 in 2021.

    November 23, City Council –

    SARTELL: 

    October 26, City Council –

    November 9, City Council –

    November 23, City Council –

    SAUK RAPIDS:

    October 26, City Council –

    November 9, City Council –

    November 23, City Council –

    ST. AUGUSTA: 

    November 4, City Council –

    ST. JOSEPH: 

    November 12, City Council –

    November 23, City Council –

    NOTE:  St. Joseph is hiring a new Community Development Director.

    WAITE PARK:

    November 12, City Council – [Nothing of particular interest to CMBA]

    November 16, City Council – [Nothing of particular interest to CMBA]

    CLEARWATER:

    November 12, City Council –

    FOLEY:

    November 10, City Council –

    • Discussion/Update: Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion Project
    • Discussion/Update:  MnDOT Highway 23 Property Acquisition
    • Discussion/Update on Orderly Annexation/Joint Planning Agreement

    STEARNS COUNTY:

    October 26, Planning Commission –

    • Report/Discussion:  Shoreland Alterations, Part 1. Topographic alterations, sand blankets and retaining walls. Identifying what needs to be changed and how.

    November 3, County Board – [Nothing of particular interest to CMBA]

    November 17, County Board – [Nothing of particular interest to CMBA]

    November 19, Planning Commission 

    • Public Hearings: Rezoning requests from property owners in Cold Spring (pgs. 108-122) and St. Joseph (pgs. 124-147) to rezone from Agricultural to Residential (R10)

    BENTON COUNTY: 

    November 17, County Board –

    November 3, County Board –

    As always, contact CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt, with any questions or concerns.

    Stay healthy and safe, and best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!

    Steve Gottwalt

    Government Affairs Consultant
    Central Minnesota Builders Association

    1124 West St. Germain Street | St. Cloud, MN  56301
    M 952.923.5265  |  steve@cmbaonline.org
    Member Directory  |  CMBAtour.com  |  www.NAHB.org/savings


  • 30 Oct 2020 8:06 AM | Nikki Juntunen (Administrator)

    CMBA Government Affairs Committee - The GA Committee met Tuesday this week.  The agenda included a federal update from Congressman Tom Emmer's office.  Congressman Emmer's Senior Legislative Assistant, Nick Lunneborg, informed us the Canadian trade issues impacting the availability and cost of lumber here have been brought to President Trump's attention.  CMBA builders report long delays and big price increases for dimensional lumber, plywood sheets and trusses.  BAM Executive VP, Grace Kelliher, and Government Affairs Director, Brian Halloran, provided a Minnesota update, including the latest on residential Energy and Electrical codes.  There was also a robust discussion of what to expect in the upcoming election at the federal, state and local levels.  To join the CMBA Government Affairs Committee, contact CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt, at steve@cmbaonline.org, M: (952) 923-5265.


    Election Day November 3rd - This coming Tuesday, November 3rd is Election Day!  Elections have consequences, and this one is a very consequential. Study the candidates on your ballot, and find out where you are supposed to vote, by visiting https://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/.  If you have not already cast your vote, please vote Tuesday, and encourage your colleagues, associates, vendors and others to do the same. American democracy is a "contact sport", and we all need to get involved to make a positive difference!

    Voter Information Portal - Polling Place Finder

    Elections & Administration: Elections Phone Numbers: Metro Area: 651-215-1440 Greater MN: 1-877-600-VOTE (8683) MN Relay Service: 711 Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Public service counters at the office are currently closed.

    pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us

    One Win, One Loss, One To Go - CMBA has worked with BAM and others to advocate for our industry as Minnesota considers changes to its Energy, Electrical and Plumbing codes.  Win: We opposed consideration of changes to the state's Energy Code, and the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) ruled in our favor, recommending to the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) that it is "inappropriate" to consider changes at this time.  Loss: CMBA also opposed changes to Minnesota's Residential Electrical Code, but the ALJ in that matter ruled the state should go ahead with 2020 National Electrical Code changes, and DOLI quickly moved to adopt them.  Those changes include an external master electric cut-off switch on every new home, and installation of Arc Fault Interrupts (AFIs) which have been problematic.  CMBA also objected to the process which allows for little industry input. To Go: DOLI announced this week it is beginning the process of considering changes to the state's Residential Plumbing Code.  CMBA will continue working with BAM and others to advocate for you and our industry in these matters.


    Communities Holding The Line On Development/Building Fees - CMBA regularly tracks the activities of our local communities and counties.  Area communities report they are considering property tax levy increases for 2021, but are not planning increases in development or building-related taxes/fees, including SAC and WAC.  The indication is they do not want to hamper development as we work to recover from the economic downturn of the COVID-19 shutdowns.


    Fewer Jobs, More Job Seekers in Q2 - According to the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), employers reported 111,753 job vacancies in the second quarter of 2020, down 23.7% from second quarter 2019, according to Job Vacancy Survey results. The survey took place during the peak period of pandemic-related job losses this past spring and is the first survey since 2016 to indicate there are more unemployed workers than job vacancies.  Statewide, there were 2.4 unemployed persons for each vacancy. This is the highest number of job seekers per vacancy reported since 2012, when there were 2.6 unemployed workers for each opening. However, it is still significantly lower than the peak of 8.2 job seekers per vacancy reached in the midst of the Great Recession in 2009.


    Questions or Concerns About Government or Regulatory Issues? - Contact Steve Gottwalt, steve@cmbaonline.org, M: (952) 923-5265.


  • 14 Oct 2020 12:42 PM | Nikki Juntunen (Administrator)

    Meet The Candidates and Bowling With Builders, Oct. 15, 5:30 -  CMBA has invited area candidates for local, county and state offices to join us this Thursday, October 15th, 5:30 - 7:00 PM, at the Great River Bowl in Sartell for a rare and informal opportunity to connect, share more about issues important to CMBA members and learn where the candidates stand on those issues.  Make plans to join us, and bring a guest!  Register online at www.CMBAonline.org/FindAnEvent, or call the office at 320-251-4382.  Questions? Contact: Steve Gottwalt, CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, steve@cmbaonline.org, M: 952-923-5265.

    Special Session #5 - Walz Emergency Continues and Maybe A Bonding Bill - The Minnesota Legislature is back for its fifth Special Session beginning today (Monday, October 12th). The first order of business will be a vote on Governor Walz's decision to extend the public health emergency for another month. As in previous sessions, the GOP-majority Senate is expected to oppose the extension, and the DFL-majority House will take no action, resulting in continuation of Governor Walz's public health emergency for another month.  The good news is that leadership in the House and Senate appear interested in passing a State Bonding Bill. The bill language is drafted and a spreadsheet has been posted. The latest proposal includes $16 million for public housing rehabilitation, and $100 million in housing infrastructure bonds, and nearly $50 million in MNSCU Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPER).  CMBA is in constant touch with our area legislative delegation to underscore the importance of passing a Bonding Bill, and other issues important to our industry.


    Decision This Week On State Residential Electrical Code - An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is expected to rule this week on whether or not to recommend proceeding with proposed changes to Minnesota's Residential Electrical CodeThe Minnesota Board of Electricity is considering adoption of the National Electrical Code (NEC) by reference, with any necessary amendments, as the Minnesota Electrical Code in Minnesota Rules, chapter 1315.  CMBA, BAM and others have advocated strongly for the judge to find it inappropriate to make changes in the Electrical Code at this time.  We had success addressing a similar situation regarding proposed changes to the State's Residential Energy Code.  Last week, the ALJ in that matter recommended to the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) Commissioner that it would be "inappropriate" to consider changing the code.  The Commissioner must now decide whether or not to follow that guidance.


    CMBA Government Affairs Committee Meeting, Oct. 20, 8:00 AM - Mark your calendar! The next CMBA Government Affairs Committee Meeting is Tuesday, October 20th, 8:00-9:00 AM.  We will get an update on State Government Affairs from BAM, and learn the latest on the local front as we all get ready for Election Day, Tues., Nov. 3rd, 2020.  Of course, absentee/mail-in balloting has already started.  Watch for the agenda and more details.  Join the CMBA Government Affairs Committee!  We make government affairs impactful, informative, engaging and (yes) fun!  Open to any CMBA member.  Contact CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt, 952-923-5265, steve@cmbaonline.org.


CMBA:
1124 West Saint Germain Street, St. Cloud MN 56301
320.251.4382 info@cmbaonline.org | www.cmbaonline.org
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