Council Connection


City Council uses this site to share information with the Community. Council is very active and have experiences and presentations to share with the public, so check it out!

For general questions, visit the City Talk page.


City Council uses this site to share information with the Community. Council is very active and have experiences and presentations to share with the public, so check it out!

For general questions, visit the City Talk page.

  • U.S. Conference of Mayors Midwinter Meeting

    27 February, 2020
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    The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) meets twice per year. The annual meeting, usually held in June of each year, rotates amongst cities which apply to host the conference. In June 2020, the USCM meeting will be in Austin, Texas. The midwinter meeting of the USCM is always held in Washington, D.C.

    I serve the USCM as Vice Chair of the Standing Committee on Transportation and Communications and on the Steering Committee for the Climate Mayors. I also serve on the Leadership Committee for the USCM.

    Below, I’ve listed the sessions I attended and a few notes on each:

    Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020

    9:15 – 10:15 Sharing Best Practices and Innovative Solutions

    The session provided mayors the opportunity to learn best practices and find solutions to shared challenges.

    10:45 – 11:45 Promoting Economic Growth in Distressed Communities

    The session examined spurring economic growth not only in distressed communities, but throughout entire cities.

    11:45 – 12:30 Opening Press Conference – remarks by USCM officers

    12:45 – 2:15 Opening Plenary Luncheon

    Armchair Discussion: The Future of Work

    Remarks: Navigating Today’s Cyber Threat Landscapes – Christopher Krebs Director – U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security

    2:30 – 3:30 Social Media and Citizen Engagement in Cities

    - Using Twitter for Government

    - Using Facebook for Government

    - Mayor & Social Media Manager

    - Deploying with Digital Inclusion Strategy

    4:00 – 5:00 Women Mayors Leadership Alliance of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Plenary Session

    Remarks: Valerie Jarrett, Board Chair

    When We All Vote

    Panel Discussion: Voter Registration Efforts

    > Pauline Cutter (San Leandro, California)

    > Victoria Woodards (Tacoma, Washington)

    > Betsy Price (Mayor of Fort Worth, Texas)

    5:15 – 6:15 What is Needed to Solve the U.S. Recycling Crisis

    The challenges of rising recycling costs, educating residents and finding end markets

    Remarks: Peter Wright, US EPA

    Office of Land & Emergency Management

    Panel: > Elizabeth Bizer – The Recycling Partnership

    > Sarah Peery, L.A. Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio)

    > Megan Daum – American Beverage Association

    Thursday, January 23, 2020

    7:30 – 9:00 Mayors & Business Leaders Plenary Breakfast

    > all MN Mayors at Target Corp. table (Burnsville, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Brooklyn Center, Eden Prairie, Edina, Rochester)

    Greetings: Tom Cochran – USCM

    Javier Angulo – Wal-Mart

    Eugene Anderson – Suez

    Remarks: Laysha Ward – Target

    Zulima Espinel – Starbucks

    Armchair Discussion: No Room for Trafficking

    > Chip Rogers – American Hotel & Lodging Association

    > Sylvester Turner – Mayor of Houston

    > Carolyn Goodman – Mayor of Las Vegas

    Video: 2020 Census

    Update: Center for Inclusion & Compassionate Cities –

    Greg Fischer – Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor

    9:15 – 10:15 Addressing the Climate Change Crisis

    > innovative cities and utility best practices for GHG reduction

    > development of national policies

    10:30 – 11:30 Thursday Morning Plenary Session

    Best Practices: reducing flooding through Green infrastructure

    > self-driving cars

    > Smart Cities Update

    Remarks: Pete Buttigieg

    11:45 – 12:45 The Experience Dividend

    > mayors and reps from AARP explored ways that cities can use the experience, talent and interests of older adults to improve communities and the local economy

    1:00 – 2:30 Childhood Obesity Prevention Luncheon

    > Presentation of Childhood Obesity Prevention Awards by American Beverage Association

    > Update on annual meeting to be held in Austin, Texas

    > Remarks by Major League Baseball on their Play Ball Program

    Remarks: Eric Garcetti

    Armchair Discussion: building ecosystems that connect the world to your town

    Frank Luntz: Presentation of polling data and presentation by students from NYU Abu Dabi

    2:45 – 3:45 Infrastructure and the Mayors 2020 Vision for America

    > covered Mayors 2020 Vision for roads, bridges, transit, ports, aviation, water and wastewater, clean energy, federal transportation, legislation and cybersecurity

    4:15 – 5:15 Empowering Youth Through Civic Involvement

    > discussed best practices and opportunities for helping young people engage in civics and local government related activities

    Friday, Jan. 24, 2020

    7:30 – 9:00 Plenary Breakfast Honoring Leadership in the Arts: An Introduction to Esports

    Update: Women’s Suffragist Centennial

    Greetings: Tom Cochran – USCM

    Robert Lynch – Americans for the Arts

    Awards for State Arts Leadership

    • Beaumont, Texas (large cities)
    • Napa, California (small cities)

    Presentations: Game On! - symphony music married to video games

    - highlights on Esports

    9:15 – 10:15 Lessons Learned: Preventing, Preparing for and Responding to Mass Shootings

    Moderator: Lori Lightfoot – Mayor of Chicago, Illinois

    Remarks/Participants: Mayors of Dayton, Ohio; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Annapolis, Maryland; Orlando, Florida; Jersey City, New Jersey; Parkland, Florida; San Jose, California; El Paso, Texas; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    10:30 – 11:30 Friday Morning Plenary

    > Economic Mobility Report

    > Amplifying Youth Voices

    > Transportation Access & Equity

    > Ending HIV/Aids Epidemic

    1:00 – 5:00 The White House

    White House Visit. 1/24/2020

    Opening Remarks – Doug Hoelscher, William Crozier, Bryan Barnett comments William Crozier & Larry Kudlow – Director, National Economic Council

    Presentation Joe Grogan – Director, Domestic Policy Council

    Panel One

    Jenny Lichter – Assistant on Domestic Policy (Moderator)

    Scott Turner – Revitalization and Opportunity Council

    Ja Ron Smith – Office of Innovation

    Michelle Marston – Chief of Staff, OMB

    Panel Two

    Kellyanne Conway – Asst to President (Moderator)

    Ben Carson – Secretary of HUD

    Jovita Carranza – US SBA Administrator

    Sec Alex Azar – HHS

    President Donald J. Trump (15 minutes). Presentation on the economy and signed bill providing $375 million for enhanced security at places of worship

  • Storm Water Mitigation Challenge

    30 October, 2019
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    On October 15th, a staff report was presented to the Council on flood risk reduction strategy which was supported by a citizen task force presentation. This year, 2019, will likely prove to be the wettest year recorded by the State of Minnesota. Accordingly, we have seen instances of flooding created primarily by storm water runoff, and exacerbated by a rising water table, affecting people, property, and in some instances, health and safety.

    Many factors affect increased flooding risk, including changing weather patterns, aging infrastructure, and changing development patterns. We are experiencing more frequent intense rainfall events which taxes our storm water system which was built for a different time and standard.

    We must also recognize the more intense use of land accompanied by a higher level of imperviousness in our City.

    -Council Member Anderson

    Staff continues to evaluate and address flood risk across multiple sectors including infrastructure renewal, grading, floodplain preservation and stormwater and erosion control. There will be emphasis on information and outreach including technical support, planning, facilitating, and communication. Emergency services, if necessary, feature response to threats of structural damage and making sand bags available. Proactive maintenance such as cleaning and maintaining stormwater infrastructure, and increased street sweeping can keep stormwater conveyances clear.

    What can we do individually? I have found that the metro-wide ADOPT-A-DRAIN PROGRAM, can augment city street sweeping. It’s a simple responsibility of “adopting” a storm drain in the neighborhood, and keeping it free of leaves, trash and other debris. You can even name your drain!

    Go to to get started. This time of year is especially important in keeping drains clear to avoid snowfall backup. For those that opt in, I’d love to hear your drain name!

  • Virtual Town Hall Meeting Closed

    29 October, 2019

    Thank you for being part of the Edina City Council's first Virtual Town Hall meeting! If you weren't able to participate tonight, please attend the traditional Town Hall Meeting 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Edina Senior Center. You can also always share your feedback and ask questions at

    Have a great night!

  • Virtual Town Hall Meeting Tonight from 8-9pm!

    29 October, 2019
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    Join us by clicking on the facebook icon:

  • Virtual Town Hall Meeting Coming Soon!

    09 October, 2019
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    It's easy....visit on Tuesday, October 29 at 8:00 pm.

    City Council Members will do their best to acknowledge comments and answer questions during that time. As with regular Town Hall meetings, Council Members will not be able to give their personal opinions or comment on matters for which future public hearings have been scheduled.

    For questions, contact MJ Lamon at

  • We've talked the talk. It's time to walk the walk.

    13 September, 2019
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    Last week, a resident sent me this picture.

    The picture showed some contemptible racist graffiti at Pamela Park. I found it disturbing enough that I talked about it at our council meeting. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my comments from the meeting.

    We make much in our community of being “inclusive” and “welcoming.” They’re nice words, they’re easy to say. They make us feel good about ourselves. But what do we really do to be inclusive and welcoming?

    Ask yourself how you would feel if the graffiti at the park was aimed at you - or your sister, brother, mother, father, or child. What would you want your neighbors and friends to say to you or to them? Would it be good enough for them to say nothing? If they did, how would you know they found it contemptible?

    It is past time that we outsourced our disapproval of this kind of behavior. It is not good enough to leave the condemnation to someone else. It’s time all of us told our children, our neighbors, the kids we coach, and the people to look to us for leadership that this is not the way we treat our fellow community members.

    “We’ve talked the talk. It’s time to walk the walk.”

    -Council Member Staunton
  • City's Credit Rating And Level Of Debt

    04 September, 2019
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    At the August 20 City Council Work Session, City staff presented their proposed budget for the 2020-2021 biennium. Part of their presentation was a discussion of the City’s credit rating and level of debt.

    This important discussion about the City’s fiscal policy choices has been mischaracterized on social media where it has been asserted the City is in poor financial condition. Nothing could be further from the truth. The City of Edina is fiscally strong and financially prudent. The City has earned the top credit rating designation (AAA) available from both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investor Services for many years and is probably one of only 3 dozen cities in the U.S. with such a double AAA bond rating. In addition:

    - It is being asserted in social media that City debt exceeds $200 million. This is a grossly inaccurate statement. The City’s debt totals about $112 million, and 80% of it is scheduled to be paid off in 10 years. Annual payments for all current debt are planned 3 to 5 years in advance, and paid for by property taxes or user fees, depending on the type of debt. The debt breakdown is as follows:

    • $60.4 million is for infrastructure improvements (streets and utilities) which are funded through utility fees and special assessments to individual property owners.
    • $37.6 million is for public buildings (e.g., City Hall, Fire Station 1, and Public Works) which is funded by the annual property tax levy.
    • $14 million is for various recreation facilities improvements including Braemar Arena and Braemar Golf Course, which debt is funded through user fees from those using the facilities.

    - The City is not low on funds as is asserted on social media. Financing for debt is evaluated and the amount issued is determined based on available cash balances and the impact on either user rates or property taxes. Staff is not recommending paying off debt sooner than called for based on current market conditions.

    - The level of debt is only one factor used by credit rating agencies to assess a city’s fiscal strength. Other factors include tax base, budgetary performance, liquidity and financial management. For both rating agencies, the level of debt is only 10 percent of the overall score.

    Part of the purpose of the August 20 work session discussion was for the City Council and staff to reaffirm the City’s commitment to a long-term strategy to increase its annual revenue for capital improvement spending for such things as future park and recreation facility projects. That strategy, if employed, is potentially accomplished by leveraging current property tax levies dedicated to debt payments into new property tax levies for annual capital improvement spending. If we determine to use this strategy, the City will reduce its reliance on long-term debt, stabilize its total property tax levy into the future and increase funding for needed improvements in our parks and recreation facilities. Accomplishing this strategy won’t be easy. It will require discipline and patience. But it will allow the City to continue improving the parks, trails, recreation facilities and other City amenities, while also being good stewards of the public purse.

    Read City staff's fact check post on this topic.

    - Mayor Jim Hovland
  • Indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for All

    20 August, 2019
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    I have remained silent about my feelings regarding reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at Edina City Council meetings but continue to receive correspondence from people who are very concerned how we spend those 12.5 seconds on our agenda, so here are my thoughts.

    For context, I want to make it clear that I do not subscribe to any political party. I am a strong believer in supporting candidates who I believe will try to bring us together. Sadly, it is getting harder and harder to find those people.

    The Pledge had not been part of Edina City Council meetings, at least as far as current community members can recollect. When the question was proposed, I had never given it any thought and did not have a strong opinion. In the wave of correspondence received on the topic, I was most compelled by the messages from military Veterans who said it was important to them. That was enough for me.

    I do have a strong opinion about using time on our Council meeting agenda to debate the merits of the Pledge of Allegiance. That is why I was a proponent of keeping the item on our consent agenda during the July 16, 2019 Council meeting, thereby eliminating the opportunity for public debate on the topic.

    The role of a City Council is to make policy-level decisions on behalf of our constituents with the goal of providing an appropriate level of municipal services and future planning. We are not here to host ideological debates. It is no more appropriate for a City Council to debate the merits of the Pledge than it would be to debate the death penalty or abortion rights.

    I believe the Council voted wisely in instituting the Pledge on our agenda because it is the only scenario that allows freedom of expression on both sides of the debate. If you believe in the Pledge, you may stand up and join in. If you are opposed to the Pledge, you may choose to stay silent and remain seated.

    My hope is that we have an environment at our Edina City Council meetings where everyone can freely express themselves in a respectful manner and we can be compassionate toward each other. If people do not want to recite the pledge for whatever reason, I want them to feel comfortable.

    As for me, I still cling to the hope that society will reject divisiveness and those who promote it. That is why when I recite the Pledge, I will be adding emphasis on the words “Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.”

    - Council Member Mike Fischer

  • We are all connected

    15 July, 2019
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    Over the past year, Laurie and I have had the opportunity to travel several times between Edina and Southern Mississippi, and more recently to Kentucky to watch our son play baseball. Most of these trips involve following the path of the mighty Mississippi River as it winds its way South. As I drive along, I think about the many ways the river connects us, whether walking across the river in Itasca State Park in Northern Minnesota, standing on the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, or at the base of the Arch in St. Louis.

    It has been especially difficult to watch the devastating flooding along the Mississippi River as we have driven through Missouri, serving as a reminder for me that every decision we make in Edina (or any other city) has downstream impacts on people’s lives.

    As we plan for Edina’s future through our comprehensive plan, we will continue working together to refine topics like density and development standards in the Land Use and Community Design chapter, stormwater policies in the Water Resources chapter, and our overall commitment to sustainability.

    Hopefully our planning today will make Edina better tomorrow, with positive consequences for our neighbors down river.

    Photo of a riverside playground in Hannibal, Missouri. (Click the "We are all connected" headline to view.)

    Photo of underwater farmstead and farm fields along Highway 61 in Missouri. (Click the "We are all connected" headline to view.)

    - Council Member Mike Fischer
  • Let's Jump On The CloverRide!

    24 May, 2019
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    There are numerous items considered at any given Council meeting, on the Consent Agenda, which may not be noticed by the casual observer. Often, these are routine replacement requests or maintenance confirmations. The last Council meeting, however, included an item on the consent agenda which could be of interest to many.

    The Council voted unanimously to renew the service contract with DARTS to provide CloverRide, a fixed route circulator bus service, which serves southeast Edina on Fridays from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. CloverRide makes ten stops in a one hour loop, serving several neighborhoods, facilities, and retailers.

    This continues the exploration of circulator bus service which has the potential of relieving traffic congestion if expanded in the future to other areas of the city. For more information, just go to the CloverRide webpage!

    -Council Member Ron Anderson