The information campaign on the district referendum continues; The City is investing in new operating software; Registration for Leadership Northfield is open

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With just under four weeks to go until Election Day, the Northfield School District has stepped up its

Superintendent Dr. Matt Hillmann

information campaign on the Capital Improvement Levy referendum that will be on the ballot.

Northfield Schools Superintendent Dr Matt Hillmann said it is important to educate the community about the referendum as it ‘doesn’t have the energy of a bail proposal or an operating levy “. It is, he says, however, just as important.

“As a school district,” he said, “our finances are highly regulated. The money in our budget is either approved by voters or driven by the state. We don’t have a lot of discretion over how our funds are allocated.

The Capital Improvement Levy is the fund that pays for the general upkeep of school district grounds and buildings, classroom renovations, the purchase of instructional materials, including books, software, and technology , as well as the maintenance and upkeep of this technology. These are things, Hillmann said, that might not be very exciting to a lot of people, but they are needed and they need to be funded.

“I think everyone who listens knows that we are good stewards, not only of our dollars, but also of our facilities. We took care of our facilities. We’ve invested in them – in the things that really matter. [We have] to make sure the building envelope is secure so that we don’t have water in the buildings. We try to take care of things that maybe aren’t exciting to people, like check-ins and parking lots, but they are nonetheless.

The levy, originally passed in 2011, currently generates $750,000 each year. The referendum would renew the levy and expand it to generate about $1.65 million next year.

Hillmann said the information campaign included two mailings to every voter in the district, two public information meetings, and a series of appearances Hillmann makes before various groups and organizations in the area.

He said running a campaign like this is vital, as the most common comment he receives concerns the language of the referendum itself.

“It was written by lawyers,” he said. “We are not allowed to write it ourselves. We actually hired an attorney to make sure this is in accordance with state law.

Helping the community understand what the district is asking for, he said, is the top priority. Not only is the language difficult to decipher, but it can also get bogged down in percentages, which Hillmann says can also be confusing.

The referendum, as it will appear on the ballot, can be found on the KYMN Electoral Guide. For more information about the tax and what it means for the school district, visit the Northfield Public Schools website.

Jeff Johnson’s full conversation with Northfield Schools Superintendent Dr Matt Hillmann can be heard here

Martig discusses the city’s new tool for long-term planning

During the city council’s business session on Tuesday evening, city administrator Ben Martig unveiled the new

Municipal Administrator Ben Martig

enterprise resource planning software that the city is adopting and made a presentation to council on how it will contribute to the city’s long-term planning.

The software offers a large number of built-in features, which will collect, store, manage and interpret data from all the different areas where the city does business. Martig said the current system the city uses is so outdated that the manufacturer no longer updates the program, making the upgrade necessary.

Beyond the features that will help automate many tasks and improve both efficiency and transparency across all departments, he said there are other benefits as well. By integrating both historical and current budget information, the program will help city staff and council get a clearer picture of city finances. Martig said it would help visualize the implications of external changes, and then offer data on policies that could be shaped to deal with those changes.

“We can use it to see ‘what-if’ scenarios,” he said. “What happens if the tax base changes? How about delaying a project for a year? How does that change things? And the results are almost instantaneous.

In terms of long-term planning, the city will now have a better idea of ​​how to project a five-year plan. The program will integrate budget information with capital and equipment improvement plans, city debt, labor costs, general fund balances and other factors. The data collected from this will help to assess the tax levy in future years. From there, they will be able to better see the implications of capital projects, and if the city has room for more in a given year or if the fiscal impact of a project is too high to be affordable. It can even help evaluate alternative financing strategies.

Overall, Martig said, the new software will be of great use to city staff and decision makers.

“For me, someone who realizes that money is so important to making things work and doing good planning, [I’m] pretty excited about this tool we have. This is really going to be so important to decision makers [and will help them with] good management. »

The new programs should be operational, he said, in 6 to 9 months.

Jeff Johnson’s full conversation with Northfield City administrator Ben Martig can be heard here

Northfield management begins October 27

And registration is now open for the 2022-’23 edition of Leadership Northfield, a program developed by the Northfield Region Chamber of Commerce for “people who want to grow and take an active role in helping to shape the future of the Northfield region”.

Attendees will take an in-depth look at Northfield’s economic outlook, learn about community partners, and participate in a service opportunity with other area professionals.

The program will begin Thursday, October 27 and will meet one Thursday morning each month from 8:30 a.m. to noon until June. Qualified entrants will be chosen by a panel of business leaders from the Chamber’s Board of Directors. The cost is $700 for chamber members and $1,000 for non-members, which includes all classes, course materials, lunches, and a graduation ceremony.

For further course details and to apply online, please visit the Chamber website and complete the questionnaire. The application process will close on October 26.

Rich Larson is KYMN’s News Director. Contact him at [email protected]

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