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Recognizing local government that works

The Humphrey School's Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center (PNLC) announced today the winners of the fifth annual Local Government Innovation Awards (LGIA), which recognize outstanding cities, counties, and schools in Minnesota that demonstrate results in improving local services. Winners will be honored at an awards ceremony from 3 to 5 p.m. on April 13 at the Humphrey Center. The event is open to the public, and will be followed by an informal reception. To RSVP to the awards, please e-mail heapx004@umn.edu.

PNLC partnered with the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC), the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC), and the Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) to conduct the 2010--11 Local Government Innovation Awards competition.

This cycle of awards, together with the recently released Local Government Innovation and Redesign Guide, are part of PNLC's mission to enhance the ability nonprofit, philanthropic, and public sector organizations to work together--and with the private sector--to advance the common good and serve the public interest.

This year's awards focus on service redesign. Winners were selected for innovative work that integrated redesign strategies, such as creating greater accountability; using incentives, charges, and targeting; funding consumers; and other innovative strategies.

The winners are:

Anoka County Emergency Management adopted a staffing system similar to what is used by the majority of fire departments to achieve needed staff enhancement for the department. When the 'call' goes out, these paid on-call staff member come to provide quick and effective support to the department. This system is a first for Minnesota and potentially the country.

Anoka County Human Services has shifted from a court-centered, no-risk model in addressing child protection issues to a safety model, with impressive results. The county has witnessed a turnaround in recidivism and skyrocketing out-of-home placement costs in just two years. Costs dropped $1,117,000 over two years. The number of children in placement fell 27 percent. Best of all, families are better served. Trained staff work with the families, focusing on their strengths and building plans that focus on child safety.

Bloomington School District shared the goal of reducing the 35 percent dropout rate in Hennepin Country with Hennepin County Juvenile Court, the Bloomington, Brooklyn Center and Intermediate 287 schools districts; and TIES. A new process for school districts to share real-time, online information with juvenile court services about student attendance, academic performance and behavior is increasing student accountability and reducing at-risk behaviors, as well as saving staff time previously spent collecting information that is not available instantly.

Cloquet Area Fire District, City of Cloquet, Perch Lake Township, City of and Scanlon, Fond du Lac Indian Reservation began a collaborative provision of fire and EMS services. Perch Lake Township and the City of Cloquet started with a joint powers agreement for fire and EMS, which led to work at the legislature in 2009 with the Special Taxing District Language. A contract with the sovereign nation of Fond du Lac was signed for fire suppression in 2010 and the City of Scalon in 2011. The Incident Command System now has 58 fire personnel working out of three stations, which has saved $250,000 and improved service to all area citizens.

City of Rosemount Parks and Recreation wanted to do something to bring people together to focus on a common goal of bettering the community. They chose to reinforce a sense of community by collaborating, publicizing, and focusing efforts to promote one book title to the residents of Rosemount to promote literacy. They worked to involve community leaders, schools, churches, families, and teens by choosing a book that would have intergenerational appeal.

Crow Wing County Sanity Landfill took advantage of Landfill Gas (LFG) generation and voluntarily installed an active gas collecting and control system for energy recovery and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This concept of collection LFG for benefit through enhanced generation via leachate recirculation is referred to as Recirculation to Energy (RTE). Collected LFG is sent to a heat recovery boiler. The boiler is used to heat both a maintenance shop and a heavy equipment storage building onsite.

Lake Country Service Cooperative built upon a proven 25-year history of providing shared services and examined the possibility of providing financial services with tremendous quality while maintaining value. LCSC now provides financial management and assistance to several school districts and other nonprofit entities. These services range from full scale financial management for three school districts (Perham-Dent, Hawley and Cambell-Tintah) to payroll, grant management, fiscal hosting, and a number of other temporary services for their members.

Maplewood Parks and Recreation, together with the City of North St. Paul, signed a Joint Pow Agreement to provide recreational programming for North St. Paul, including its community center and parks. The collaboration has led to new offerings for North St. Paul and Maplewood residents at a fraction of the previous cost by using the economies of scale that exist between both communities.

Olmsted County developed the weight loss program, W82GO (pronounced Weight to Go), for adults on the Olmsted County Employees' Health Plan. The program provides a connection to dietitians, fitness trainers, and nurse care manager. Participants learn what they can do to live healthier and take away knowledge and tools that can be used for life.

Southeast Service Cooperative started the Mobile Science Lab Program as a collaboration of the Southeast Service Cooperative, Mayo Clinic, and Rochester Area Math Science Partnership. They developed two traveling trailers with equipment and supplies to conduct molecular biology and agricultural bioscience experiments in high school classrooms, supporting the training that teachers receive in the Mayo Clinic Educator Academics.

SW/WC Service Cooperative began the Improving Student Achievement Initiative, a consortium of 25 school districts in southwest Minnesota who collaborate for a flexible learning year. Known as the "FLY," this consortium has agreed on common staff development dates, contributed funds for joint activities, and committed staff time for meetings and workshops--a plan no district could have done on their own.

The City of Eagan set out to celebrate 150 years since its founding and recognized there were many families struggling to meet basic needs. With this in mind, the Eagan 150th Anniversary Executive Board embarked on a remarkable goal of rallying the entire community to serve hungry families by raising food and funds for two local food shelves.

The City of Excelsior concluded that the city's small tax base could not afford additional parking downtown, so it created a parking impact fee ordinance that allows properties to satisfy the parking requirements by paying an annual parking impact fee in lieu of providing parking. The annual fee will be used to acquire and develop any future municipal parking space.

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