Blog

  • 05 Oct 2020 4:14 PM | Nikki Juntunen (Administrator)

    Judge Recommends Against Rulemaking to Change MN Residential Energy Code -  Administrative Law Judge, Eric Lipman, has recommended not to open rulemaking on Minnesota's Residential Energy Code.  CMBA joined with BAM and others to send a strong message opposing proposed onerous changes to the state's energy code contained in the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC or 2018 Model Energy Code) . While the judge concluded the hearing record could support revising or not revising the code, he recommended postponing rulemaking to change the code.  The decision is now up to the Commissioner, but it will be more difficult to go against the judge's recommendation.

    CMBA Candidates Social and Bowling With Builders, Oct. 15 at Great River Bowl, Sartell- CMBA has invited candidates for local county, city and legislative seats to join us the evening of October 15th, 5:30-7:00, at the Great River Bowl in Sartell to meet CMBA members and Bowl With Builders.  Early voting by mail has already begun, and the General Election is November 3rd.  We work in a highly regulated industry, and it is important to know who wants to represent our interests locally and in St. Paul.  You must register to attend.  Contact the CMBA office at 320-251-4382.

    Stearns County Posts Completed ShapeStearns 2040 Comprehensive Plan Update - Stearns County has posted the finished results of its update to the county's Comprehensive Plan, including Land Use and Zoning ordinances regarding residential development.  Rural parts of Stearns County are seeing an increase in development as landowners look to develop their land into residential properties. Stearns County’s Land Use and Zoning Ordinance #439 and Subdivision Ordinance #230 establish the rules and regulations.  You can check it out Stearns County's updated Residential Development Manual by clicking here.


  • 30 Sep 2020 12:33 PM | Nikki Juntunen (Administrator)

    Judge's Decision on MN Energy Code This Week?: CMBA has been working with BAM and others to prevent consideration of onerous Energy Code changes.  This week, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is expected to rule on whether or not Minnesota should proceed with considering proposed changes to the Energy Code.  Behind the scenes, we understand the Minnesota DLI technical staff have been suggesting rulemaking not be opened to change the Energy Code. The Department’s comments during the rebuttal period following this summer's hearing made that clear.  Scott McLellan stated that state law does not require adoption of the proposed changes.  A "win" here would mean we will not have to fight the tougher battle to defeat the changes themselves.

     

    Judge's Decision on MN Electrical Expected Code In October: CMBA has been working with BAM and others to prevent consideration of onerous Electrical Code changes. We understand the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is expected to issue a decision October 15th on whether or not to proceed with considering proposed changes. We have little indication of how the ALJ might rule on this. It is always a high bar to overturn rulemaking, even when they admit the process is flawed.  We hope the judge fully recognizes the process was rushed, the Electrical Board did not understand the rulemaking requirements and did not do a proper Statement Of Need And Reasonableness (SONAR).  The Electrical Board took a very tough stance in responding to process concerns.  One "win" coming out of all this is there has been great attention given to the current "rubber stamping" process, and some positive changes are expected going forward.  CMBA members were very active in providing input on this and the Energy Code!

    NAHB BuilderLink Action Alert - Protect Housing Affordability in Energy Codes:  NAHB has asked CMBA to help engage members in contacting Minnesota's U.S. Senators, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Tina Smith, asking them to SUPPORT Senator John Cornyn's amendment #1551 to protect Housing Affordability from onerous energy targets.  You can do that by calling the Capitol Switchboard and leaving them messages at 202-224-3121.  Background:  Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) has introduced Amendment #1551, To protect Affordable Housing for low-income Americans, that would prevent the U.S. Department of Energy from setting aggressive and costly energy code targets that could increase the price of home ownership for working- and middle-class Americans.  Cornyn's amendment would counter a provision in the comprehensive Senate energy package that includes problematic energy code provisions offered by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) which would expand the federal government's authority in the code development process.  Learn more about the bill here.  Thank you, in advance, for your active engagement!


  • 30 Sep 2020 10:43 AM | Nikki Juntunen (Administrator)

    Two topics for today:

    1. Banks should not issue Form 1099-C for Cancellation of Debt for a PPP Loan that’s forgiven.

    2. CARES Act grants are taxable. More details to follow about Form 1099-G.

    Banks should not issue Form 1099-C for Cancellation of Debt for a PPP Loan

    that’s forgiven.

    The CARES Act allows qualifying small business owners to receive Paycheck Protection Program

    (PPP) loans in order to stay in business and pay their employees during the Coronavirus

    epidemic.

    Recipients of these loans are eligible for forgiveness of all – or a portion of these loans – if the

    loan proceeds are used in accordance with the CARES Act.

    Announcement 2020-12 notifies lenders who make PPP loans (that are later forgiven under the

    CARES Act) that they are not required to, and should not file information returns or furnish

    payee statements to report the forgiveness. (In other words, the bank should not issue Form

    1099-C.)

    For more information about the rules for PPP loan forgiveness, see the SBA website: Paycheck

    Protection Program

    The most recent announcement about how forgiven PPP loans will be handled is in Notice 2020-

    32. It says that the CARES Act states that a forgiven PPP loan will not be included in income, and

    it discusses the deductibility of expenses that were paid with a PPP loan.

    CARES Act grants are taxable. More details to follow about Form 1099-G.

    Under the CARES Act, money was paid to States. The States may have given grants to

    businesses. Or the States gave the money to Counties, or to various economic development

    agencies. The money was given to business owners, or possibly to a third party on behalf of the

    business owner.

    Is the grant taxable? Yes. See CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund frequently asked questions.

    Should Form 1099-G be issued to the business? Probably, but we’re working on clarifying that

    and issuing guidance to the States, Counties, and economic development organizations.

    If Form 1099-G should be issued, who should it be issued to? The business, or the entity that got

    the money? For example, a business needed money to pay rent. In some cases, the grant money

    was given to the business owner and they paid it to the landlord. In other cases, the grant

    money was paid directly to the landlord on behalf of the business that had past due rent. Who


  • 23 Sep 2020 10:41 AM | Nikki Juntunen (Administrator)

    CMBA Gov't Affairs Committee 9/22 Meeting Highlights - Great turn-out for the GA Committee Meeting 9/22 at Wild Marsh Sporting Clays in Clear Lake and via ZOOM!  In addition to committee members, we welcomed our new CMBA Executive Director, Wanda Schroeder, and several of our area legislators.  Eight stayed afterward to shoot sporting clays, and we wrapped-up before noon. On the local front:  CMBA surveyed area cities, and all have indicated they have no plans to increase development and building-related fees and taxes for 2021On the state front:  BAM Executive VP, Grace Keliher, reported we might still get a State Bonding Bill, and we are waiting to hear administrative law judges' rulings on proposed changes to the State Electrical Code and State Energy Code.  Congratulations to CMBA members -- We were the most responsive BAM local in submitting letters and comments on the Energy Code changes!  On the federal front:  Congressman Tom Emmer's office has connected with the Trump administration regarding lumber shortages and costs.  His office indicates the supply and price situations are improving, and have been complicated by trade issues between Canada and the U.S.  

    Sartell Sets New Zoning with CMBA Input - CMBA was closely engaged with the City of Sartell which has revised its zoning plans as they sunset their moratorium on R5 (multi-family) PUD development.  The City Council held a public hearing earlier this month on the City's new zoning scheme, including testimony from CMBA, and plans to make a final decision next week. Issues at the hearing focused on resident concerns about too much multi-family housing near one neighborhood, and the concentration of commercial/retail zoning along Pine Cone Road.

    Local Lifestyle Affordable Housing Discussion - CMBA is helping keep the local conversation going, and educating communities about the fees and other inputs that add significantly to the cost of new housing.  The discussion is not only about affordability for low income residents, but how to better accommodate people at all stages, including refurbishing aging existing housing stock.  If you are interested in joining the area discussion, please contact Steve Gottwalt (steve@cmbaonline.org or 952-923-5265).


  • 17 Sep 2020 4:22 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    In August, we had a couple of requests from our GA Committee directed to Congressman Tom Emmer seeking Trump Administration action on the lumber shortage and price increases.  The following is a response from Congressman Emmer's staff expert, Nick Lunneborg.  We are keeping in-touch with Congressman Emmer's office on this issue, and will offer a more complete federal update during our GA Committee Meeting on Tuesday (9/22) at Wild Marsh Sporting Clays.  Please let Steve Gottwalt know if you have any questions or concerns (steve@cmbaonline.org or 952-923-5265).

    From:  Nicholas Lunneborg, [Congressman Tom Emmer's Office]

    Late last month the World Trade Organization (WTO) largely sided with Canada’s challenge to the U.S. countervailing duties (CVDs) against softwood lumber imports. The WTO found that the U.S. acted inconsistently with the WTO’s agreement subsidies and countervailing measures when relying on benchmark stumpage prices in Nova Scotia to assess "the adequacy of remuneration for Crown stumpage" in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta, and for relying upon a Washington state benchmark to determine that for British Columbia lumber.

    With the lack of an operating Appellate Body, it remains unclear how the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body can compel the U.S. to change policy if the U.S. objects and seeks an appeal.  Under WTO rules the DSB cannot “adopt” a panel report if one of the parties seeks an appeal, which in this case would be an indefinite action or previously termed, “appeal into the void.”

    USTR blasted the WTO’s Canadian softwood lumber decision arguing the DSU panel report was “flawed” and only further exemplifies the U.S. longstanding calls for WTO reform and systemic problems in the DSU apparatus.  USTR Amb. Lighthizer called the findings "erroneous" and said they "prevent the United States from taking legitimate action in response to Canada's pervasive subsidies for its softwood lumber industry." "This flawed report confirms what the United States has been saying for years: the WTO dispute settlement system is being used to shield non-market practices and harm US interests," Lighthizer said in a statement.


  • 17 Sep 2020 4:09 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    CMBA Government Affairs Committee Meeting, Tuesday, September 22, 9:00-10:00 a.m., (followed by sporting clays shoot)

    Location:  Wild Marsh Sporting Clays, 13481 Co Rd 3, Clear Lake, MN  55319  or via Zoom

    If you plan to attend in-person at Wild Marsh, please RSVP to Steve Gottwalt at 952-923-5265 or steve@cmbaonline.org.  If you plan to stay and shoot, the cost is $25 per person.  You can bring your own shells, or purchase them at Wild Marsh.

    A   G   E   N   D   A

    • 9:00  Welcome new CMBA Executive Director:  Wanda Schroeder

    • 9:10  Local Government Update - including local cities' plans for 2021 development/building-related fees and taxes    (Steve Gottwalt)

    • 9:30  BAM - State Update - including special session, bonding bill, and emergency powers    (Grace Keliher)

    • 9:45  National Update - including lumber supply/prices action, U.S. Chamber data, and election dynamics    (Steve Gottwalt)

    • 10:00  Adjourn Meeting
      _____________________________________________________________

    • 10:00-Noon - Sporting Clays Shoot  (Please let Steve Gottwalt know if you plan to stay and shoot!)


  • 10 Aug 2020 1:12 PM | Nikki Juntunen (Administrator)

    VOTE TUESDAY: August 11th Primary Election Is Important! "Elections have consequences" for better or worse!  You can see a list of all the candidates on your Primary ballot by visiting the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office (https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/) and entering your home address and zip code.  Early voting is available at locations in your county, including at the county administrative offices.  Mail-in ballots must arrive at the county offices by Tuesday's election, so unless you already have one and plan to hand deliver it by the end-of-business Tuesday, it is too late.  For the link to your county's voting information, including information about voting early in-person, visit (https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/find-county-election-office/). Primary elections are often disregarded as unimportant, but this is a critical time, and it's important we make our votes count!

    REGISTER for CMBA Government Affairs w/ Congressman Tom Emmer, Friday, August 21st, 8:00-9:00 a.m. - The CMBA Government Affairs Committee holds an important meeting Friday, August 21st, 8:00-9:00 a.m., to discuss the latest on national and state COVID-19 business relief developments, regulations and impacts.  Congressman Tom Emmer will join us for a roundtable dicsussion of federal issues, and BAM officials will join us to provide a state government affairs update.  Mark your calendars - This is an important opportunity to get the latest information, and get direct answers on federal and state developments.  NOTE:  Due to social distancing requirements, we need to limit the number of CMBA participants attending in-person at the CMBA offices to the first eight (8) who register.  Masks will be required.  We will provide a ZOOM Meeting link for all other CMBA members who register.  Watch for the meeting posting on the CMBA Events page.  As always please contact CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt, with questions, 952-923-5265, steve@cmbaonline.org.

    DEVELOPERS/BUILDERS - Sartell Open House, August 12th, 3-7 p.m., Covering Zoning Changes - The City of Sartell is inviting CMBA developers, builders and interested members, to a Planning Open House, this Wednesday, August 12th, 3:00-7:00 p.m., at Sartell City Hall to show proposed zoning changes and get feedback prior to public hearings and approvals.  Sartell is proposing to update current R-5 PUD locations to R-1, R-2, or R-3.  They plan to add a new RR zoning (Rural Residential), and they plan to combine B1 zones into into B2.  Sartell has a new "team" at City Hall, and this is an important opportunity for CMBA members to connect with them and provide direct feedback on important zoning proposals.  We have discussed with Sartell officials the need for earlier interaction with our CMBA members on planning proposals, so we need a good turn-out to show our interest in making our voices, ideas and concerns heard on planning matters.  There is no need to RSVP -- Just make plans to show-up at Sartell City Hall next Wednesday, August 12th, between 3:00-7:00 p.m.

    CMBA Joins Efforts to Block Costly Minnesota Residential Energy Code Changes - On Monday, August 3rd, an Administrative Hearing Judge heard arguments for and against moving ahead with considering amendments to Minnesota's Residential Energy Code that could add thousands of dollars per unit to housing costs.  CMBA submitted a letter asking that the judge find it "inappropriate" to proceed with the changes.  CMBA has now joined a broad coalition opposing the changes.  CMBA members can help by submitting comments before the August 24th deadline after which the judge will make his ruling and recommendation to the DLI Commissioner.  To leave a comment online: Click here.  Contact CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt, 952-923-5265, steve@cmbaonline.org

    CMBA Members Urged To Submit Comments on Proposed MN Residential Electrical Code Changes - The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) holds a hearing August 19th    

    on proposed changes to Minnesota's Residential Electrical Code.  BAM issued a briefing last week with more details for those who want to comment.  Concerns center around six proposed changes:  1) GFCIs mandated for 250-volt receptacles, 2) GFCIs mandated for basement receptacles, 3) GFCIs mandated for outdoor A/C unit receptacles, 4) Surge protection devices mandated, 5) master emergency power disconnects mandated, 6) mandated 3-foot separation of receptacles from bath or shower units. You can submit comments to:   Amanda Spuckler, Email: dli.rules@state.mn.usPhone:  651-284-5006, Fax:  651-284-5725.  The public hearing on the proposed rules was rescheduled from May 4, 2020, to Wednesday, August 19th at 9:00 a.m. via WebEx.  To view the DLI presentation on August 19th and join the WebEx hearing online, when it's time for the hearing click here.  Meeting number: 146 735 1484,  Meeting password: nxJ9pQ7N2hW.  To join by phone, call toll-free 855-282-6330 or 415-655-0003. For other methods, view the Notice of Revised Format of Hearing.


  • 06 Aug 2020 1:31 PM | Nikki Juntunen (Administrator)

    Reminder: August 11th Primary Election Is Important - "Elections have consequences" for better or worse!  Because we function in a highly regulated industry, it is very important to make your vote count. This Primary Election has many important races at the local, state and national levels.  There are multiple candidates running for Mayor and City Council in this Primary.  Minnesota U.S. Senator Tina Smith's seat is up for election, and there are multiple Democrat and Republican candidates in the Primary race.  Area congressional races have primary challengers, including Congressman Tom Emmer and Congressman Collin Peterson, as well as his challenger, Michelle Fischbach.  You can see a list of all the candidates on your Primary ballot by visiting the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office (https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/) and entering your home address and zip code.  Early voting is available at locations in your county, including at the county administrative offices, but the opportunity to request a mail-in ballot is getting tight.  The best way to do that is to order a mail-in ballot online through your county, and return the ballot in-person.  Any mail-in ballot must be received by the county no later than Primary Election Day (this Tues., Aug. 11th).  For the link to your county's voting information, including information about voting early in-person, visit (https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/find-county-election-office/). Primary elections are often disregarded as unimportant, but this one certainly is, and it's important we make our votes count!

    Congressman Tom Emmer Joins CMBA Government Affairs, Friday, August 21st, 8:00-9:00 a.m. - Congressman Tom Emmer will be our special guest for this month's CMBA Government Affairs Committee Meeting, Friday, August 21st, 8:00-9:00 a.m.  Congressman Emmer will join us at our CMBA offices for a roundtable discussion of federal issues impacting our industry.  We will also get updates about state affairs from BAM along with more new about COVID-19 assistance, regulations and industry impacts.  We will also check local government affairs.  Mark your calendars - This is an important opportunity to get the latest information, and get direct answers on federal and state developments.  We will need to be careful about the number of people at the CMBA offices for this meeting, and will also offer Zoom Meeting access online. Watch for the meeting posting on the CMBA Events page.  As always please contact CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt, with questions, 952-923-5265, steve@cmbaonline.org.

    Sartell Open House, August 12th, 3-7 p.m., to Cover Zoning Changes - The City of Sartell is inviting CMBA developers, builders and interested members, to a Planning Open House, Wednesday, August 12th, 3:00-6:00 p.m., to show proposed zoning changes and get feedback prior to public hearings and approvals.  Sartell is proposing to update current R-5 PUD locations to R-1, R-2, or R-3.  They plan to add a new RR zoning (Rural Residential), and they plan to combine B1 zones into into B2.  Sartell has a new "team" at City Hall, and this is an important opportunity for CMBA members to connect with them and provide direct feedback on important zoning proposals.  We have discussed with Sartell officials the need for earlier interaction with our CMBA members on planning proposals, so we need a good turn-out to show our interest in making our voices, ideas and concerns heard on planning matters.  There is no need to RSVP required -- Just make plans to show-up at Sartell City Hall next Wednesday, August 12th, between 3:00-7:00 p.m.

    CMBA Joins Efforts to Block Costly Minnesota Residential Energy Code Changes - This week, on Monday, August 3rd, an Administrative Hearing Judge heard arguments for and against moving ahead with considering amendments to Minnesota's Residential Energy Code that could add thousands of dollars per unit to housing costs.  CMBA submitted a letter asking that the judge find it "inappropriate" to proceed with the changes.  CMBA has now joined a broad coalition opposing the changes.  CMBA members can help by submitting comments before the August 24th deadline after which the judge will make his ruling.  Watch for more information and a link to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry's (DLI's) comment form.  Contact CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt, 952-923-5265, steve@cmbaonline.org


  • 23 Jul 2020 8:42 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    CMBA Members,

    We just received the following from DLI regarding updating your COVID-19 Preparedness Plans to include Governor Walz's new mask wearing requirements.

    Stay healthy and safe!

    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


    From: Tschida, Breca (DLI) <breca.tschida@state.mn.us>
    Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2020 3:26 PM
    Subject: COVID-19 Preparedness Plans - Updates

    Good Afternoon, Everyone.

    With the recent announcement of Executive Order 20-81 (See https://www.leg.state.mn.us/archive/execorders/20-81.pdf), the guidance requirements (and recommendations) in the guidance documents for all industries and business sectors have been updated to reflect the new State requirements.

    I am providing you with a courtesy notice of the recent changes within Minnesota’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan “Guidance for Construction Sector”, which can be found at the Stay Safe MN website  (See https://staysafe.mn.gov/industry-guidance/index.jsp).

    A primary requirement is that employers must review and update their written COVID-19 Preparedness Plans to operate in accordance with the new requirements involving “face-coverings”. Additional considerations include the following:

    1. Ensure all workers are provided training on the additional requirements;
    2. Face-coverings must be used indoors at all times (unless they qualify under one of the “Exemptions”, or are allowed to “temporary remove” them);
    3. Face-coverings must be worn outdoors by workers where social distancing cannot be maintained;
    4. If workers are unable to wear face-coverings due to a medical/physical limitation, or mental health condition, alternative protections must be implemented;
    5. Review the guidance to evaluate circumstances where the use of a face-covering “may present a hazard” to the workers;
    6. The use of face-coverings is not a substitute for social distancing where social distancing can be achieved and/or maintained.

    Please ensure that you review the Executive Order, updated guidance, and your written COVID-19 Preparedness Plan to maintain congruency with these new requirements.

    Thank you for your continued regard and vigilance.

    Stay safe.

    Highest Regards,

    Ben Wood, JD, MS, CSP
    Safety Consultant Principal | Workplace Safety Consultation

    Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry
    443 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN  55155
    Phone:  651.478.8199 | Cell: :  651.443.0282

    Title: Image - Description: Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry logo


  • 23 Jul 2020 12:58 PM | Nikki Juntunen (Administrator)

    New Statewide Face Mask Mandate Effective Saturday 7/25 - As expected, Governor Tim Walz today issued a statewide mandate to wear masks indoors starting Saturday, July 25th. (Executive Order 20-81).  Governor Walz's new mandate renders "null and void" the mask mandate ordinance put in-place by the St. Cloud City Council earlier this week as indicated in the City's ordinance itself.  CMBA is working with BAM and others to get more detailed information about the impacts for our industry.  Watch for more information.

    Sartell Agrees To Delay Acting On Zoning Ordinance Changes - The Sartell City Council agreed to delay acting on a set of Zoning Ordinance changes to give CMBA and its members more time to review and discuss the changes with City officials.  The changes involved permitting, setbacks and condition upgrades of flat work, accessory building requirements, and more. CMBA members met with City planning officials and received explanations and clarifications about the proposed changes. The Sartell City Council continued its public hearing on the changes until their meeting Monday, July 27th when they are expected to take final action.  The City of Sartell also committed to working more closely and earlier with CMBA on such issues.  The City is working on new Shoreland, Environmentally Sensitive Areas, and Property Maintenance Standards ordinances.

    CMBA Government Affairs Committee met earlier this week.  BAM Executive Vice President, Grace Keliher, provided a State Government Affairs Update, including extensive discussion about the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry's (DLI's) requirement of COVID-19 Preparedness Plans for construction businesses and many other industries.  There was also extensive discussion about the lack of results from the Legislature's 2nd Special Session which ended early Monday.  CMBA members were most concerned about the lack of a Bonding Bill which would fund state capital and infrastructure improvements.  On the local level, participants discussed CMBA's work engaging Sartell on zoning ordinance changes, the St. Cloud City Council's passage of an indoor mask-wearing ordinance (now replaced by Governor Walz's statewide mask-wearing mandate - see above), and concerns about local communities revenue losses from COVID-19 potentially driving tax and fee increases.


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