Blog

  • 04 May 2020 1:57 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    NOTE:  City councils and county boards are holding virtual meetings (available online or by conference call only) during the COVID-19 emergency.  Check the respective city or county websites for links to these meetings and instructions for how to participate in public hearings and other opportunities for public input.


    ST. CLOUD: 
    April 20 – No meeting
    April 27  No meeting

    May 4 –

     

    SARTELL: 
    April 20 – No meeting
    April 27 –

    May 4 – No meeting

     

    SAUK RAPIDS:
    April 20 –

    April 27 – No meeting
    May 5  No meeting

    ST. AUGUSTA: 
    April 21 – No meeting
    April 28 – No meeting

    May 5 

    • Building Inspector's Report (to be provided during the meeting)
    • City Clerk's Report:  Considering changing the City's parking ordinance in response to concerns about parking at Blackberry Farms
    • City Clerk's Report:  Discussion of future meetings format, and a site plan application from Dollar General


    ST. JOSEPH: 
    April 20 

    April 27 – No meeting

    May 4 

     

    WAITE PARK:
    April 20  – No meeting

    April 27  – No meeting
    May 4  – No meeting

     

    CLEARWATER:

    April 20  – No meeting

    April 27  – No meeting
    May 4  – No meeting

     

    FOLEY:

    April 21  –

    April 28  –

    May 5 

     

    STEARNS COUNTY:  May 5 – (No items of particular interest to CMBA)

    • COVID-19 Update from Stearns County Emergency Operations Center staff

     

    BENTON COUNTY:  May 5 – 

     

    As always, contact CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt, with questions or concerns. steve@gmbaonline.org  952-923-5265

     

    Stay healthy and safe!


  • 29 Apr 2020 3:44 PM | Nikki Juntunen (Administrator)

    Government Affairs Update for the Week of April 28:

    Minnesota Slowly Reopening for Business – Today, up to 100,000 Minnesotans are expected to be back to work – about 20 percent of the roughly 500,000 who have filed for unemployment in the last month. Governor Tim Walz announced late last week about 20,000 businesses in the manufacturing and office sectors could reopen today if they implemented social distancing policies to protect employees and did not have face-to-face interactions with customers. On Thursday, Governor Walz also announced Minnesota’s schools would remain closed through the academic year, keeping nearly 900,000 students at home. Walz has come under increasing pressure to open up Minnesota’s economy even as the state tries to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Challenging Times for Home Builders – These are tough times for most businesses, including those in the housing industry. Some clients who were ready to build have pulled back due to sudden lost revenues, financial distress, and other challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Area builders have reported some project cancellations, and are concerned about impacts going into the peak summer season. As private sector projects dwindle, local builders have also reported a sharp increase in bidders on publicly funded projects. There are growing concerns about building supply chain impacts. Realtors face challenges showing and selling homes under stay-at-home and social distancing protocols. Here is an article the St. Cloud Times published today out of the Twin Cities (http://saintcloudtimes.mn.newsmemory.com/?publink=0c7dd909b&fbclid=IwAR0JZ-dCY66A6nVMdenlxKWl9o_4o6GekVT7AEyJuNDUrwrWb4wPtOct16I)

    Congress Adds $320 Billion to Paycheck Protection Program – Congress has approved another $320 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which ran out of money in less than two weeks due to high demand. The program offers forgivable loans to qualified small businesses that keep a high percentage of their employees on their payrolls. Stearns County HRA Offers Small Business Emergency Loans – Here is a link to more information about the loan program

    https://co.stearns.mn.us/Portals/0/docs/Department%20Files/StearnsHRA/Terms-SBEL.pdf

    CentraCare has also offered a COVID-19 FAQ for Businesses:https://www.centracare.com/documents/covid-19/COVID-FAQs-For-Businesses.pdf

    CMBA Government Affairs Committee Meeting 4/21 – The committee had a solid turnout for its first “virtual” meeting last Tuesday. The committee elected a new Vice-Chair, Peter Cleuver (Xcel Energy), and discussed numerous impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Area communities are doing a good job in this challenging environment helping make sure plan reviews, permits and inspections continue. COVID-19 precautions have added some time delays, and smaller communities are struggling more than our larger communities. Builders are concerned about long-term impacts to supply chains and projects if the statewide stay-at-home order continues too long. Builders Association of Minnesota (BAM) Executive Vice President, Grace Keliher, and Government Affairs Director, Brian Halloran, joined our GA Committee meeting and provided state updates: The Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) has delayed implementing electrical code changes until at least August due to COVID-19, but they are unlikely to change unless we successfully lobby the State Electrical Board members. State government is moving from COVID-19 responses to how to reopen Minnesota. The Legislature is expected to only have a couple more days of major legislative activity before the end of the month when they are set to adjourn. They expect a State Bonding Bill will get done late in the session.

  • 21 Apr 2020 11:11 AM | Wanda Schroeder (Administrator)

    New Radon Mitigation License Requirement GOES INTO EFFECT JUNE 1, 2020  - Q&A 

    Are residential builders required to have a Radon Mitigation license?  

    • -          A radon mitigation professional and/or company license and tag is not required when installing a radon system in a new residential building before the certificate of occupancy is issued.  If a radon mitigation system is installed after the certificate of occupancy is issued, then a radon mitigation professional license and tag is required in residential buildings starting June 1, 2020.
    • -          A license is required to test for radon in any building a person does not own or lease.  This has been in effect since January 1, 2019. 

    When you go to the link on the MDH website it leads you to believe that the change is only for non-residential dwellings.  Can you please clarify?

    • -          A radon mitigation professional and/or company license and tag is currently required, and has been since January 1, 2019, when installing a radon mitigation system in a commercial (non-residential) building.  The change that is occurring on June 1st is that residential buildings will be included in the licensing and tag requirements. 
    • -          FYI… We had updated the website last Tuesday. So from Monday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon the website was showing that the mitigation licensing applied to non-residential. Now it shows an asterisk next to every non-residential reference.

    If remodelers choose to install a system, I am not finding much on the training when or where training opportunities are being held.  

     -          MDH requires initial training and exams for licensing to be approved by the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) or the National Radon Safety Board (NRSB).  You can find links to the two organizations websites on the MDH licensing information webpage here: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/air/radon/mitigationprof.html.  Both organizations have lists of approved courses.


  • 15 Apr 2020 8:39 AM | Wanda Schroeder (Administrator)

    Working from home? Please pay attention to cybersecurity

    Even though this article was written for tax pros, it could be used to remind small business owners of good cybersecurity practices:

    IRS, Security Summit partners warn tax professionals on scams, urge additional security measures to protect taxpayer data

    Here’s today’s tax tip:  Here’s how much individuals will get from the Economic Impact Payments

    As of today:

    The web-based portal to file a simple return for those who do not have a filing requirement is AVAILABLE NOW. Start here: Economic Impact Payments

    The web-based portal to provide updated direct deposit info is NOT AVAILABLE YET – maybe tomorrow?  It will be here: Economic Impact Payments

    FAQs on EIP should post to IRS.gov this week.

    The “Filing and Payment Deadlines Questions and Answers” have NOT been updated yet based on Notice 2020-23.

    Please continue to monitor the Coronavirus Tax Relief and Economic Impact Payments page. 

    This is also a good resource: Coronavirus and Economic Impact Payments: Resources and Guidance.


  • 13 Apr 2020 2:47 PM | Nikki Juntunen (Administrator)

    GA NOTES for week of 4/13

    Minnesota DEED Posts Updated List of Critical Businesses
    The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has posted an updated List of Critical Businessesconsidered exempt from Governor Walz’s stay-at-home emergency order:

    https://mn.gov/deed/assets/critical-worker-definitions-ACC_tcm1045-425195.pdf  Any worker in any business (even Critical Businesses) who can work from home is still ordered to do so.  We continue to work with our colleagues at BAM and others to keep CMBA members up-to-date on COVID-19 developments impacting our industry.

    CMBA Government Affairs Committee Meeting via Zoom Tues., April 21st, 8-9 a.m.

    Mark your calendar – The CMBA GA Committee will hold its next meeting online/conference call via Zoom on Tuesday, April 21st, 8:00-9:00 a.m. The agenda will include updates and discussion regarding COVID-19 measures and impacts, a report from our colleagues at BAM, and local activities.  We look forward to your participation!  For more information, contact CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt, M: 952-923-5265, steve@cmbaonline.org

    SCTCC Virtual Job Fair – Register Interest by Wed., April 14th

    If you are looking for good workers, SCTCC is seeking your interest in their upcoming "Virtual Job Fair" -- and they need to hear from you by next Wednesday, April 14th. The Job Fair is May 1-4, and they already have more than 40 area businesses registered to participate.  Your contact for more information is Lisa Mohr320-308-5926, lisa.mohr@sctcc.edu. Here are more details (click on the highlighted survey link below to indicate interest and get more information):  SCTCC’s Virtual Job Fair will take place May 4th – 8th with a prep/promotion the week before.  SCTCC would love for you to partner with them. There is no cost to participate. Take a look at these opportunities to promote your company and hiring opportunities: 

    • Virtual Job Fair Week – May 4th – May 8th
    • Virtual Job Fair Program Guide – creates the feeling of a job fair with each page dedicated to an employer, similar to a job fair booth
    • JobFlash – report of job leads posted to JobNet that goes to faculty who will share with students/graduates
    • Employer Panels – opportunity for students to see you live via a Zoom link and hear you talk about your current hiring opportunities
    • Job Fair Prep Week – April 29th – May 1st.  Help us prep students for a virtual job search.

    To learn more about these opportunities and to sign up, please complete this survey by Wednesday, April 14th (time frame was extended).

    Urgent – NAHB Asking Members to Contact Congressional Leaders

    Congress recently enacted the Coronavirus Aid and Economic Security Act, (CARES Act), the largest stimulus package in our country's history. While the CARES Act includes a number of helpful provisions for individuals and businesses, housing providers, employees and their residents will need additional economic relief to avoid a collapse of the housing sector. Specifically:

    • Providing direct rental payment assistance to multifamily properties on behalf of renters impacted by COVID-19
    • Expanding federal mortgage forbearance for multifamily properties
    • Limiting the eviction moratorium provisions to COVID-19
    • Expanding the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program so all housing firms are eligible for relief

    NAHB has joined other real estate partners in sending a letter to Congressional leaders as part of a broad coalition of housing stakeholders. NAHB now asks you to take action as part of the Call to Action campaign that aims to educate Congress about the need for additional relief for both renters and housing operators in future COVID-19 stimulus and recovery packages.  Click here to Take Action! NAHB asks you to please consider sharing this message and encourage others at your company to also take action. Messages like these really do make a difference!

    NAHB Invites Builders, Contractors to Join COVID-19 Safety Stand-Down April 16th
    The Department of Homeland Security has provided guidance to states that construction is deemed an essential infrastructure business, allowing construction to continue in places under stay-at-home.  In Minnesota, residential and non-residential construction, including remodeling, is deemed essential and exempt.  As we are permitted to keep working, safety is of the utmost importance.  To highlight safety, this Thursday, April 16th  NAHB is asking all members to halt work for 10 minutes for a COVID-19 Job Site Safety Stand-Down to educate workers on what they should do to keep themselves safe from coronavirus and to help “flatten the curve” for everyone.  NAHB has developed detailed blueprints — in English and Spanish — for builders to conduct their COVID-19 safety stand downs, including guidance on sharing the resources digitally.  More on the Safety Stand Down can be found here: http://nahbnow.com/2020/04/nahb-members-urged-to-stand-down-for-coronavirus-safety/


  • 09 Apr 2020 4:07 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    April 9, 2020 - If you are looking for good workers, SCTCC is seeking your interest in their upcoming "Virtual Job Fair" -- and they need to hear from you by next Wednesday, April 14th. The Job Fair is May 1-4, and they already have more than 40 area businesses registered to participate.  Your contact for more information is Lisa Mohr, 320-308-5926, lisa.mohr@sctcc.edu. Here are more details (click on the highlighted survey link below to indicate interest and get more information):

    SCTCC’s Virtual Job Fair will take place May 4th – 8th with a prep/promotion the week before.

    We’d love for you to partner with us. There is no cost to participate. Take a look at these opportunities to promote your company and hiring opportunities: 

    • Virtual Job Fair Week – May 4th – May 8th
    • Virtual Job Fair Program Guide – creates the feeling of a job fair with each page dedicated to an employer, similar to a job fair booth
    • JobFlash – report of job leads posted to JobNet that goes to faculty who will share with students/graduates
    • Employer Panels – opportunity for students to see you live via a Zoom link and hear you talk about your current hiring opportunities
    • Job Fair Prep Week – April 29th – May 1st.  Help us prep students for a virtual job search.

    To learn more about these opportunities and to sign up, please complete this survey by Wednesday, April 14th. 

    We look forward to seeing you at SCTCC’s Virtual Job Fair!

      

  • 09 Apr 2020 3:52 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    April 9, 2020 - The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has posted a new Critical Workers Definition (Emergency Executive Order 20-33) identifying more employers and workers allowed to get back to work under Governor Tim Walz's continuing stay-at-home Emergency Executive Order (now extended to May 4th). While the expanded list allows more workers to get back to work, the Governor's order still requires those who can work from home to do so, and others to practice social distancing and other precautions while on the job.  One notable addition is landscapers who are now allowed to work.  CMBA is working with our colleagues at BAM and others to keep members up-to-date on these important changes as we navigate these extraordinary times.  Stay healthy and safe!

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

    COVID-19 Impacts:  Working with our colleagues at BAM and NAHB, CMBA continues monitoring state and federal developments related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.  Minnesota Governor Tim Walz held his State of The State address last night from his home, focusing exclusively on COVID-19.  Updates to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) information around COVID-19 are available at:  https://www.dli.mn.gov/business/workplace-safety-and-health/mnosha-compliance-novel-coronavirus-covid-19  National officials are warning us to brace for the most difficult week of the COVID-19 outbreak this week.

    List of Businesses Exempt from Stay-at-home Order: DLI posts specific guidance and updates about Minnesota Critical Businesses considered exempt under Governor Walz’s stay-at-home Emergency Order 20-20 here:  https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/business-exemptions/ Under the Governor’s order, In general, anyone who can is ordered to work from home to constrain spread of COVID-19.

    Minnesota State Building Codes 2020:  The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) has posted information about the 2020 Minnesota Building Code Changes here: https://www.dli.mn.gov/business/codes-and-laws/2020-minnesota-state-building-codes  DLI declined to extend implementation, and these code changes became effective March 31st.

    Area Communities Issue Emergency Declarations:  Be aware most area communities are operating under emergency declarations related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.  Most are now conducting public meetings via conference calls and/or teleconferencing.  Check this week’s “CMBA Cities Update” for more details.

    CMBA Government Affairs Committee Meeting Tuesday, April 23rd 8:00-9:00 a.m.:  We will hold GA Committee meetings via Zoom/conference call through the COVID-19 emergency.  Watch for more details.

    CMBA Making Progress with City of St. Cloud to Improve Online Systems:  The CMBA Commercial Builders Council continues working with City of St. Cloud building officials to improve functionality and the end-user experience of the City’s online plan review, permitting and inspections systems. CMBA members participated in a teleconference with City officials last week, and progress is being made. Special thanks to St. Cloud’s Chief Building Inspector, Lee Gladitsch.

    St. Cloud Technical and Community College (SCTCC) Holding Virtual Job Fair Week, May 4th-8th:  SCTCC had planned to hold a live, in-person Job Fair on April 1st, but had to cancel due to the COVID-19 emergency.  SCTCC has decided to host a “virtual” Job Fair May 4th-8th.  Indicate your interest by April 9th and get more information here:  https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=xscRULQKq0ae9PrnSpIaf9yczbMUW7lMgo3_379MWIJURE9CVElXSzhJRzFPRTQzWTNWUDFRVjc5UC4u  There is no cost to participate. Take a look at these opportunities to promote your company and hiring opportunities: 

    • Virtual Job Fair Week – May 4th – May 8th
    • Virtual Job Fair Program Guide – creates the feeling of a job fair with each page dedicated to an employer, similar to a job fair booth
    • JobFlash – report of job leads posted to JobNet that goes to faculty who will share with students/graduates
    • Employer Panels – opportunity for students to see you live via a Zoom link and hear you talk about your current hiring opportunities
    • Job Fair Prep Week – April 29th – May 1st.  Help us prep students for a virtual job search.


  • 06 Apr 2020 12:26 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    ST. CLOUD:  April 6 –

    • St. Cloud has postponed its regularly scheduled April 6th Council Meeting to April 13th.
    • On March 30th, the St. Cloud City Council met via teleconference in response to isolation strategies related to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak:
    • March 30th – Approved plans and specs for the Pan Park Place 2nd Addition, Phase 3 improvements. Total project cost is estimated at $3,288,968. The City will  assess $703,646, leaving a net City cost of $2,585,322. The City cost will be funded by utility revenue and general bond proceeds.
    • March 30th – Approved plans and specs and authorized advertisement for bids for 25th Avenue Bituminous Resurfacing Improvements. Estimated cost: $1.5 million ($1 million from general revenue, $500,000 from MSA)
    • March 30th – Approved 2020 Wastewater Conveyance System Facilities Plan – Wastewater lift station improvements. Estimated cost: $10.6 million using a Minnesota Public Facilities Authority loan on a 20-year bond.

     

    SARTELL:  April 6 –

    • Sartell City Council did not meet March 23rd, and held a Special Meeting March 24th which included nothing of particular interest to CMBA
    • Sartell Planning Commission meets tonight, April 6th (Planning Commission Agenda and Packet).  The agenda includes:
      * Consideration of the preliminary and final plat of Daybreak LLC - Outlot A of Sandstone Village R1 development with three variances.
      * Discussion of Zoning Ordinance amendnments (Planning Commission packet pgs. 12-15) including:  Changing the definition of “height”, increasing maximum height of Agricultural District structures from 35’ to 45’, changes in setback, lot coverage and maximum height requirements for Residential districts.  If recommended by the Planning Commission, the amendments would be considered for adoption by the City Council on April 27th.

     

    SAUK RAPIDS:  April 6 –

    • March 24th – The City Council held a special meeting to approve a Declaration of Emergency related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • April 6th – The City Council will hold a special meeting via Skype to consider a resolution supporting application for a State LCCMR grant to help fund Southside/Lions Park improvements. No items on the agenda of particular interest to CMBA.

    ST. AUGUSTA:  April 7 –

    • Board of Review and Equalization (5:30 p.m.)
    • City Council (7:00 p.m.) – Extension of Declaration of Emergency, and 2020 street improvement program.  No other items of particular interest to CMBA.

     

    ST. JOSEPH:  April 6 –

    • City Council Meeting to be conducted via conference call due to COVID-19 emergency.  Application for Payment of Industrial Park East Improvements ($167,437.50).  Engineer’s update report on projects.  No other items of particular interest to CMBA.
    • April 13th – Planning Commission Meeting

     

    WAITE PARK:  March 20 –

    • Held a special City Council meeting March 20th via conference call and declared an emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  No other items on the agenda.
    • April 13thBoard of Appeal and Equalization Meeting

     

    CLEARWATER:  April 6 –

    • No City Council Meeting (last meeting was March 9th)

     

    FOLEY:  April 7 –

    • March 18th – City Council held an emergency meeting dealing with responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and adopting a Declaration of Emergency
    • April 7th – City Council consideration of amendments to Ordinance 448 (Permitted Parking Surfaces in Residential Zone, pgs. 19-20, allowing crushed granite) and Ordinance 449 (Manufactured Homes, pgs. 21-22, adds definition and regulation of hoop/tubular buildings).  No other items of particular interest to CMBA.

    STEARNS COUNTY:  April –

    BENTON COUNTY:  April 7 –

    As always, contact CMBA Government Affairs Consultant, Steve Gottwalt, with questions or concerns.  steve@cmbaonline.org, M: 952-923-5265

    Stay healthy and safe!


  • 03 Apr 2020 1:24 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    April 3, 2020 - The State of Minnesota responded to an inquiry we made on behalf of CMBA members seeking explanation and clarification about Remodeling and Landscaping under Governor Walz's stay-at-home order 20-20.  Here is the response:

    "Landscaping is not generally exempt, unless it is done in service to a critical industry or an emergency need.  A clarification on this was added on March 27.  An example of a critical industry is construction.  And an example of an emergency need would be a tree that has fallen down. This means that you and other employees in this worker category at your place of business must remain at home as directed in Executive Order 20-20 unless you are performing a critical or emergency service.

    You can see we are clearly identifying that if the [landscaping] work is essential as part of a construction project, they are exempt. That said, please note that Executive Order 20-20 is not about social distancing.  It is about making sure everyone stays home with very limited exceptions only given to services that are critical to maintaining public health and safety. 

    All construction, including remodeling of residential homes, is exempt."
    -Erin Campbell (ADM), State of Minnesota

    SUMMARY: The State has basically indicated, if workers are essential in supporting a Critical Sector (like Residential and Non-Residential Construction) project, and cannot perform the work from home, they are exempt.  That would include Concrete Manufacturing, Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturing and Landscaping that is essential to any construction project.

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