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  • 20 Mar 2019 9:59 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by Ron Euteneuer, CMBA President

    Truism [troo izzem]

    Definition: obvious statement: a statement that is so obviously true and so often repeated that people find it trite or meaningless.

    What the plans indicate, what the customer wants and what is built are never the same thing.

    The building inspector shows up during lunch time and leaves a correction notice you can't read.

    Battery operated tools allow you to make mistakes in remote locations.

    Terms such as: Square, Plumb and Level are translated at the job site to: "It looks good from here."

    Drywall comes in 12' widths. The room is 12'3"

    The day you plan to shingle it snows.

    Change orders are free.

    The  day you plan to shingle, it's 97 degrees.

    Toilet paper holders come with a 27 page illustrated instruction booklet, translated into 3 languages. Framing lumber comes with none.

    Dimensions such as 1/4, 1/8 and 1/16 are translated at the job site to: a hair, a skosh or "saw cut"

    The plans indicate six steps extending to the landing. Seven steps are needed to comply with building codes. If seven steps are installed, the landing is too short --- building violation.

    Customers show up after hours and leave notes you can't read.

    Cell phones allow you to make mistakes without a paper trail.

    People in the construction industry expect to "get paid". At project closeout, you realize there's not enough money in the checkbook to pay the most important person, "YOU".

    Ron Euteneuer, Great Northern Environmental Solutions, LLC

  • 06 Feb 2019 7:26 AM | Miller (Administrator)

    EPA and Army Propose New "Waters of the United States" Definition

    12/11/2018 - Release Date 

    Contact Information: 

    EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

    WASHINGTON  — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (Army) are proposing a clear, understandable, and implementable definition of “waters of the United States” that clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act. Unlike the Obama administration's 2015 definition of “waters of the United States,” today’s proposal contains a straightforward definition that would result in significant cost savings, protect the nation’s navigable waters, help sustain economic growth, and reduce barriers to business development.

    “Our proposal would replace the Obama EPA’s 2015 definition with one that respects the limits of the Clean Water Act and provides states and landowners the certainty they need to manage their natural resources and grow local economies,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “For the first time, we are clearly defining the difference between federally protected waterways and state protected waterways. Our simpler and clearer definition would help landowners understand whether a project on their property will require a federal permit or not, without spending thousands of dollars on engineering and legal professionals.” 

    The agencies’ proposal is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of “waters of the United States” consistent with President Trump's February 2017 Executive Order entitled “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.” The Executive Order states that it is in the national interest to ensure that the nation's navigable waters are kept free from pollution, while at the same time promoting economic growth, minimizing regulatory uncertainty, and showing due regard for the roles of Congress and the states under the Constitution.

    “EPA and the Army together propose this new definition that provides a clear and predictable approach to regulating ‘waters of the United States.’ We focused on developing an implementable definition that balances local and national interests under the Clean Water Act,” said R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. “I have heard from a wide range of stakeholders on Clean Water Act implementation challenges. This proposed definition provides a common-sense approach to managing our nation's waters.”

    The agencies’ proposed rule would provide clarity, predictability and consistency so that the regulated community can easily understand where the Clean Water Act applies—and where it does not. Under the agencies’ proposal, traditional navigable waters, tributaries to those waters, certain ditches, certain lakes and ponds, impoundments of jurisdictional waters, and wetlands adjacent to jurisdictional waters would be federally regulated. It also details what are not “waters of the United States,” such as features that only contain water during or in response to rainfall (e.g., ephemeral features); groundwater; many ditches, including most roadside or farm ditches; prior converted cropland; stormwater control features; and waste treatment systems.

    The agencies believe this proposed definition appropriately identifies waters that should be subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act while respecting the role of states and tribes in managing their own land and water resources. States and many tribes have existing regulations that apply to waters within their borders, whether or not they are considered “waters of the United States.” The agencies’ proposal gives states and tribes more flexibility in determining how best to manage their land and water resources while protecting the nation’s navigable waters as intended by Congress when it enacted the Clean Water Act.  

    Robust, publicly accessible data is also a key component of common-sense, cost-effective environmental protection. In response to requests from some states, EPA and the Army are exploring ways the agencies can work with our federal, state, and tribal partners to develop a data or mapping system that could provide a clearer understanding of the presence or absence of jurisdictional waters.

    The agencies invited written pre-proposal recommendations and received more than 6,000 recommendations that the agencies have considered in developing this proposal. The agencies listened to those directly affected by the regulations, and this proposal balances the input the agencies received from a wide range of stakeholders.

    The agencies will take comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. EPA and the Army will also hold an informational webcast on January 10, 2019, and will host a listening session on the proposed rule in Kansas City, KS, on January 23, 2019.

    More information including a pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice, the supporting analyses and fact sheets are available at: https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule.  



  • 05 Feb 2019 9:50 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    NAHB continues to focus on several issues, including:

    • Regulatory Reform 

    On average, nearly 25 percent of the price of building a typical new single-family home – almost $85,000 – is attributable to government regulation. Equally disturbing, the cost of regulation in the price of a new home is rising twice as fast as the average American’s ability to pay for it.
    Meanwhile, government regulation accounts for more than 30 percent of the cost of an average multifamily development.

    NAHB firmly believes that efforts to further regulate the housing industry must:

    o   Be subject to greater oversight

    o   Allow for increased public participation in the process

    o   Be based on sound data

    o   Only be undertaken after a careful consideration of the costs and benefits as well as the potential effects on small businesses.

    • Housing Finance Reform 

    NAHB is a strong proponent of housing finance reform that would increase the role of private capital in the U.S. housing finance system but maintain a limited federal backstop to the nation’s housing finance system.

    Federal support is particularly important in continuing the availability of the affordable 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which has been a staple of the U.S. housing finance system
    • Labor Shortage/Immigration Reform

    NAHB supports comprehensive immigration reform that will:

    o    Safeguard our borders;

    o   Establish a fair employment verification system; and

    o   Create a market-based visa system that will allow more immigrants to legally enter the construction workforce as the housing industry gains momentum and the demand for workers increases.

    • Environment

    NAHB supports a common sense, scientific approach to safeguarding the environment that reasonably balances protection of endangered species, clean air and clean water, with the need to allow local communities to grow and thrive.

    The Year Ahead

    ·        Addressing ongoing housing affordability concerns will be the top issue for home builders in 2019.

    ·        With Democrats in control of the House and Republicans in charge of the Senate, the next two years give NAHB an opportunity to forge a new bipartisan coalition among housing advocates in both chambers to drive housing affordability -- both ownership and rental --  to the top of the national agenda.

    ·        Builders in the field report there is a strong demand for new homes but that prospective buyers have become increasingly gun shy due to rising mortgage rates in recent months coupled with the aggregate run-up in pricing.

    ·        A vibrant housing market is critical to a strong economy. Rising home costs threaten the ongoing housing and economic recovery.

    ·        Federal policymakers need to address this issue by taking appropriate steps to ease needless regulatory burdens that will help stabilize residential market conditions.

    ·        This year, the nation’s home builders will also ask federal policymakers to move forward on several other key issues, including:

    o   Reforming the nation’s housing finance system to ensure that single-family and multifamily housing credit remains readily available and affordable.

    o   Refining tax policy and enhancing the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

    o   Promoting policies and job training programs that will help ensure an ample supply of well-trained workers to build the nation’s homes.

    o   Pursuing immigration policies that complement ongoing vocational training efforts and help fill labor gaps while protecting the nation’s borders. Creating a national flood insurance program that is predictable and affordable.

    o   Enabling a supply of softwood lumber sufficient to meet demand.

    o   Improving and streamlining the federal permitting process.

    Economic Outlook

    Looking forward, there are signs that conditions in the housing market should show continued modest improvement in the coming months:

    ·        While the economic recovery has been uneven, it continues to add jobs, a key driver for housing market recovery.

    ·        Growing household formations indicate solid demand for single-family homes and rental apartment units.

    NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz’s analysis: “Despite a solid demand for homeownership, growing housing affordability concerns are causing consumers to hesitate on making a home purchase. Builders need to manage supply-side costs to keep home prices competitive for buyers at different price points. Policymakers also must act to ease needless regulatory burdens that will help stabilize residential market conditions.”

  • 10 Jan 2019 11:09 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    Central Minnesota Builders Association (CMBA) has inducted its new president and board of directors, comprising members from Waite Park, St. Cloud, Avon, Foley, Rice, Sauk Rapids, and Sartell.

    Members of the new board were inducted during the organization’s annual dinner, held at the Eagles Club on January 9th. Ron Euteneuer, Great Northern Environmental Solutions LLC was named the president. He’ll lead a 13-member board in 2019.

    Among the Officers on the board, Tony Steinemann, ADS Designs LLC is First Vice President; 2nd Vice President/Treasurer is Nate Moeller, Paramount Construction; Secretary office is held by Sue Lentner, Tri-County Abstract and Title Guaranty; Associate Vice President is Robin Gohman, Liberty Bank Minnesota and the Past President is Chris Froelke, RetroGreen Energy.

    The Directors are Jack Brandes, Lumber One Avon; Alex Mastellar, Rinke-Noonan; Jeff Millner, Millner Construction Inc.; John Muller, SB Restoration Services, Inc.; Jeremy Salzbrun, H&S Heating & A/C Residential & Service LLC; Stuart Swenson, Suncom Development, Construction, Management and David Werschay, Werschay Homes, Inc.

    CMBA represents 420 home builders, remodelers, developers and industry suppliers throughout Central Minnesota, serving as the resource for your building project.

    To contact the Board go to CMBA's Board page.


    l-r: John Muller, SB Restoration Services; Chris Froelke, RetroGreen Energy; Robin Gohman, Liberty Bank MN; Stuart Swenson, Suncom Development, Construction, Management; Bonnie Moeller, CMBA Director; Sue Lentner,  Tri-County Abstract and Title Guaranty; Ron Euteneuer, Great Northern Environmental Solutions LLC; Jack Brandes, Lumber One Avon; Tony Steinemann, ADS Designs LLC; Jeff Millner, Millner Construction Inc.; David Werschay, Werschay Homes, Inc.; Alex Mastellar, Rinke-Noonan; Nate Moeller, Paramount Construction; and Jeremy Salzbrun, H&S Heating & A/C Residential & Service LLC.

  • 27 Dec 2018 3:22 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    source: NAHB.org

    You may think it’s inevitable – the cooler weather means that your home’s energy bills will rise. Whether you are turning up the heat or turning on the holiday lights, energy usage tends to increase during these cooler months. Yet, there are many steps you can take — from small adjustments to major modifications — to stay warm and use less energy this winter. Here are a few simple tips to get you started.

    Don’t Heat an Empty Home

    If household members are at school and work during the day, or you are traveling for the holiday season, adjust your thermostat to limit the amount of wasted heat. While you can do this manually each day, programmable and smart thermostats can automatically keep your house cozy when it counts and save energy when everyone’s away.

    The selection of smart thermostats is ever-expanding. Many keep track of how much you would save based on your region, size of home and heating type. In many cases, this investment results in significant savings.     

    Some utility companies also offer free programmable or smart thermostats to encourage their customers to use energy wisely. Check with your local utility to see what programs they offer.

    Control the Air Flow

    By sealing air leaks in a home, an average household can cut 10 percent of its monthly energy bill. Use caulk to seal any cracks or small openings on surfaces such as where window frames meet the house structure. Check your weatherstripping in exterior door frames and replace any that is deteriorated or cracked.

    Sealing windows and doors will help, but the worst culprits are cutouts for pipes or wires, gaps around recessed lights, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Do-it-yourselfers can buy material that expands to fill the gaps and prevent air from escaping.

    Use Energy-Efficient Holiday Lights

    There is a wide and growing selection of holiday lighting options on the market today, meaning their energy usage and operating costs also vary. The most efficient lights are the light emitting diode (LED) options, which produce very little heat and last much longer than traditional lights. While the initial price of LED lights is often higher than less efficient lights, they use a lot less energy, meaning long-term energy savings. LED lights also typically last about 20,000 hours, which means you will not need to replace them as often. Plus, connecting your lights to an automatic timer helps you control the amount of energy that is being used, as well.

    Seek Professional Help

    The best way to know exactly what will reduce your home’s overall energy consumption is to hire a professional energy auditor to evaluate your home and identify any inefficiencies. In addition to showing you where to tape, caulk and seal, the auditor might also suggest improvements that would require a professional. Adding attic insulation, upgrading to an energy-efficient HVAC system, or installing high-performance windows are sizeable investments, but they can have a dramatic impact on your home’s air quality, energy efficiency and overall comfort.

    CMBA professionals at your service.

  • 26 Nov 2018 10:55 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)
    CMBA is proud of the Tools for Schools Fund, our tax free Fund accepting and matching $20,000 in 2018. 


    CMBA invited High School Instructors to the CMBA membership meeting. A face to face presentation of checks given to 16 area schools enabled each instructor to speak for a few minutes about how the donations have been helpful and what is still needed. Photos submitted by each school showed that the years of CMBA support has really enhanced the programs. They also reported a growing numbers of students are enrolling in classes with increased space being dedicated to some departments.

    The need for carpenters is great. The average Carpenter salary in Minnesota is $52,071 as of October 31, 2018, but the range typically falls between $44,965 and $60,014. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession. 

    Courses and fees at Alexandria Technical & Community College in Minnesota cost $12,468 for the associate's degree in carpentry.  The employment outlook through 2024 is expected to grow approximately 7.2%, a high-growth career.

    • Over $5000 tax free dollars were donated at the meeting
    • Checks totaling $21,110 were presented to 16 schools  
      • Albany, $2,220 purchase tools
      • Apollo, $1,500, purchase tools
      • ALC, $1,500, update hand and power tools
      • Becker, $1,000, update cordless tools, purchase ladders
      • Eden Valley-Watkins, $2,000, purchase tools
      • Foley, $1,000, competitions and field trips
      • Kimball, $550, scroll saw, tools
      • Little Falls, $750, purchase tools
      • Melrose, $1,500 purchase tools
      • North Jr High, $1,500, purchase tools
      • Rocori, $440, Kreg Foreman Semi-Auto pocket hole machine 
      • Sartell, $500, tools
      • Sauk Rapids, $1,500, purchase tools
      • Swanville, $2,500, Purchase tools
      • St. Cloud Tech, $1,800, building materials for building shed
      • Upsala, $850, purchase tools

    Kimball StudentsEach school thanked the members for their generosity.

    Since last year, the TFS Fund has provided $70,727 to area schools |  $154,000 since 2004.

  • 12 Oct 2018 10:56 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    Is traditional college is an absolute must? Is a bachelor’s degree THAT important? Sure, everyone needs a skill to support themselves and their families, but do those skills need to come from training at expensive four-year universities. Here is why Trade School makes so much sense practically and financially.

    What is a Trade School?

    A post-secondary institution that’s designed to give students the technical skills to prepare for a specific occupationVocational degrees can lead to well-paying jobs like carpentry, HVAC, electrician, mechanic, machinist, pharmacy technician, nuclear technician, and dental hygienist, with room for growth and managerial potential in each field. Trade schools have smaller class sizes, averaging around 30 students.

    Get into the Workforce Quicker

    Programs can be completed in six weeks to two years. 

    Dollars and Sense

    Technical and trade school jobs have a median annual salary of $35,720, varies by industry - Construction mean wage in MN is $49,640.

    Tuition in Trade school runs, on average, around $33,000 from start to finish, with 100% acceptance rate.

    Job Security

    Trade school positions, ones that need a physical body present, are not easily filled by going elsewhere. Trade skill workers such as plumbers, mechanics, and electricians need to be available to work onsite; this type of work cannot be done via the Internet.

    Not only that, but there’s a growing domestic demand for high-precision skills. According to Forbes, skilled trade workers are a disproportionately older population, and will only continue to get older, creating increased opportunities for young workers to fill their shoes.

    Final Thoughts on Trade School vs. College

    If you’re a hands-on learner, excited by the prospects of getting out of the classroom and starting to work immediately after high school, trade school is a relatively inexpensive alternative education that may work well for you.

  • 11 Oct 2018 4:16 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by  Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President of GraphsandLaughs, LLC 

    Over the past few decades, the term “gentrification,” i.e. high-income persons and households moving into poor minority neighborhoods, who, in doing so, push out significantly poorer lifelong residents, has become one of the most negatively loaded words in urban circles. Almost everyone has heard about a formerly inexpensive community that over a decade became very pricy and celebrated its recovery with the arrival of a Whole Foods selling overpriced kombucha and GMO-free produce. 

    As appealing and as plausible as this story may be, it’s an urban myth. The best empirical analyses conducted by urban economists have failed to detect a rise in displacements within gentrifying neighborhoods. This finding goes so much against conventional wisdom it seems impossible, but it’s true. As a matter of fact, researchers find that poor residents are more likely to stay put as their neighborhood improves. Moreover, the benefits of gentrification, in terms of reduced crime and better amenities, more employment opportunities, and reduced commutes are rarely, if ever, considered by naysayers.

    There are three primary reasons why many believe that the poor suffer when wealthier residents move in. The first is that while all Americans move quite a bit, on average about 11.5 times during their lifetime, not everyone moves an equal amount. For example, from 2012 to 2013, 28 million Americans over age 15 moved: 11% of the population. Among households with incomes over $100,000, the percentage that moved was just 7%, compared to 13% for those with incomes below $5,000 excluding government benefits. As a result, merely observing that there are fewer poor in a neighborhood in no way suggests that gentrification is to blame.    

    A second explanation is that poor neighborhoods have had so little investment for so long, there is considerable slack in both their residential and commercial property markets. In most middle- and upper-class neighborhoods, virtually all housing units, store fronts and office spaces are occupied. So, the arrival of a new household or business means the departure of another. But in poorer neighborhoods there are many vacant storefronts and apartments, so much so that relatively large numbers of wealthier households can move in and not push out existing residents or businesses. One study calculated that a low-income New York City neighborhood could go from a population that is 30% poor to 12% poor over a decade without displacing anyone. 

    Another reason the poor are not as adversely impacted as one would expect is that local governments often promote affordable housing programs such as rent control, inclusionary zoning, or other rent stabilization programs in neighborhoods that experience rapidly rising rents. Moreover, in neighborhoods experiencing rapid price appreciation, some market rate units are also built. Because of this increase in supply, rents rise less quickly.  

    Separately, but closely related to the above, many persons who bemoan gentrification simultaneously lament racial segregation and the lack of investment in non-white neighborhoods. The introduction of wealthier residents lessens the percentage of poor persons, and that has been shown to reduce teen pregnancy and incarceration rates and other such negative outcomes. Moreover, in these communities these improved social outcomes happen through market forces and frequently absent governmental intervention. To argue against gentrification is to encourage the status quo and insist that poor neighborhoods remain poor and segregated, and needlessly cut off from opportunity. 

    Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President of GraphsandLaughs, LLC and can be reached at Elliot@graphsandlaughs.net.  His daily 70-word economics and policy blog can be seen at www.econ70.com.  You can subscribe and have the blog delivered directly to your email by visiting the website or by texting the word “BOWTIE” to 22828.

  • 10 Oct 2018 1:30 PM | Miller (Administrator)

    1.  Governor's Task Force Report:  More New Housing Needed

    The Governor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability released its report titled “More Places to Call Home: Investing in Minnesota’s Future” on Aug. 21. Leading the recommendations included in the report is a call to build 300,000 new homes by 2030, create a regulatory review panel and address the industry- wide labor crisis.

    2.  MN Dept of Labor and Industries Reduces Contractor License Fees

    Due to the health of the state’s Contractor Recovery Fund, effective July 1 the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) eliminated the $80 assessment that licensed residential building contractors pay as part of their two-year license.

    The Contractor Recovery Fund compensates homeowners and lessees of residential property, up to $75,000, who have experienced direct out-of-pocket losses because of a Minnesota licensed contractor’s fraudulent, deceptive or dishonest practices.

    The fund’s balance has stabilized over recent years as the state’s housing market has recovered and fund payouts have decreased accordingly.

    With fewer funds withdrawn, DLI Commissioner Ken Pederson used his authority to eliminate this assessment. This is in addition to the DLI reducing most license fees by 40 percent over the past four years.

    3.  MN Dept of Labor and Industries Announces 2019 Minimum Wages 

    The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry announced that the minimum wage rate will increase to $9.86 per hour for large employers and $8.04 for others effective Jan. 1, 2019. The state’s minimum wage is adjusted for inflation each year.

    As of Jan. 1, 2019, the rates will be:

    $9.86/ hour  for Large Employers  ( $500K or more in annual gross revenues)

    $8.04/ hour for Small Employers ( less than $500K in annual gross revenues)

    $8.04/ hour for Training Wages (employees younger than 20 years old for the first 90 

    consecutive days of employment)

    $8.04/ hour Youth Wages (employees younger than 18 years old) 

    The City of Minneapolis has higher minimum wage rates, at $11.25 per hour for large businesses (more than 100 employees) and $10.25 for small businesses. The next increase for Minneapolis will be July 1, 2019, when rates increase to $12.25 for large businesses and $11.00 for small businesses.


    4. Radon Licensing Rules Challenged

    The Minnesota Association of Radon Professionals and Standard Water Control Company, a radon mitigation firm, have filed suit against the Minnesota Department of Health over proposed radon licensing rules, created under the Minnesota Radon Licensing Act of 2015.

    The proposed rules would require individuals performing radon-related services to be licensed by the State of Minnesota, through the Department of Health.

    The proposed radon licensing rules would also require licensed radon testers to pay a $150 per year fee, licensed mitigation professionals would pay a $250 per year fee, companies analyzing test kit results pay up to $500 per year in fees and a $75 per home fee for mitigation system installation in existing homes. In addition, radon testers and mitigation system installers would submit quarterly reports of all homes where services were performed.

    The proposed rules are set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2019. An administrative law hearing was held on July 17. Final comments on the proposed rules were due in August.


    5.  The Real ID MN License now available and what you need to know about it...

    MN began issuing Real ID compliant state licenses this month, October 2018.

    The federal government was set to enforce the 2005 Real ID law in January of 2018. The 2005 Real ID Act was a law passed that modifies U.S. federal law as it relates to security, authentication, and procedure standards for state driver's licenses and identity documents, including various immigration issues pertaining to terrorism. Essentially, it changed the federal standards for state-issued driver's licenses and non-driver identification cards, leaving each state to work to become compliant with federal standards.

    Currently, Minnesota has an extension for REAL ID enforcement, allowing Federal agencies to accept driver's licenses and identification cards from Minnesota at Federal facilities, nuclear power plants and federally regulated commercial aircraft until March 1, 2019.

    For additional information and what documents you will need to bring with you, go to:

    https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs/real-id/Pages/default.aspx

    To begin applying for the REAL ID:

    Officials are encouraging people to start the application process online, before actually going to their License Center.  Here’s the full link: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs/online-self-services/Pages/default.aspx. Or you can just google: mn dmv self service.  You’ll still need to go in-person to complete the process.


    The End...






     







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