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Southeastern Minnesota League of Municipalities

About Us

Southeastern Minnesota League of Municipalities is

* A unified voice promoting regional legislative policy

* Educational programs geared to city officials of our region

* A credible resource for legislators and state staff

* Run by member volunteers

* Neighbor cities working together

* Open to cities of all sizes

* Uniquely regional and grassroots

* Local networking opportunities

SEMLM serves the Minnesota counties of Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona

The History of the SEMLM

Serving our communities

Community service is the mainstay of the Southeastern Minnesota League of Municipalities (SEMLM) today just as in its beginning. While some of the discussion topics from the first year sound dated or even humorous today, others are the exact same topics cities continue to struggle with such as PERA.

In the sections that follow, the SEMLM starts as a three county league of communities working together to have their collective voice heard by the legislature, and to network on local issues to share solutions. That has remained the unique purpose and function of this organization.What changes in the more recent years is the size of the group. From a low point in the mid 1990s, the SEMLM has grown to encompass an eight county area of communities with a nine member board. The organization continues to grow and serve its members in ways other city organizations cannot. The SEMLMs niche is its regional uniqueness and grassroots style.

The First Years

17th of January, 1962

The first recorded meeting was before the group had even decided its name. The minutes record that it consisted of municipalities from Houston and Fillmore Counties. A handwritten note on the minutes appears to amend it to include Winona County. Spring Grove, Mabel, Caledonia, Goodview, Rushford, Spring Valley, and Houston were the first cities represented there at the Houston Village Hall meeting with Mayor Robert Bedore calling it to order. Local government officials met to discuss the hot issues of their day: bookkeeping systems, the amount paid to liquor store managers and employees, the Village Dump, PERA, the Clerk/Treasurer combination, and Village contracts being raised from $1000 to $2500.Officers elected were:

* President Mayor Arthur Miller, Rushford

* Vice President Mayor Robert Bedore, Houston

* Secretary Treasurer Clerk Gerald J. Koenig, Caledonia

25th of April, 1962

The second quarterly meeting, held in Caledonia, now identifies the group as the Minnesota Southeastern League of Municipalities; however records and documents from that same year also use the name Southeastern Minnesota League of Municipalities. The roll call showed the following cites present: Spring Valley, Lanesboro, Rushford, Houston, Eitzen, Goodview, Spring Grove, Mabel, and Caledonia.O.M. (Mike) Ousdigian, Secretary of the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA), spoke to the group and answered questions and critizisms (sic) about matters pretaining (sic) to said organization.The group adopted its first constitution as written by John Rippe.

26th of September, 1962

Held in Lanesboro, the municipalities represented were: Lanesboro, Rushford, La Crescent, Goodview, Houston, Spring Valley, Harmony, and Caledonia.Dues were set at $10.00 per community.Members were encouraged to attend a sectional meeting coming up in Chatfield. In preparation for that meeting, the members voted to have a resolution completed to make Social Security available for public employees or to substitute Social Security for PERA. They also voted to have a resolution ready to increase the right of cities to purchase items up to $2500 without advertising for bids, instead of the $1000 limit. Bottle Club problems were discussed by Mayor Grabau of Spring Valley with the group and with attorney Duxbury.

29th of January, 1963

Rushford hosted the meeting for attendees from Houston, Spring Grove, Peterson, Lewiston, Caledonia, Goodview, St. Charles, Harmony, Chatfield, Rushford, and Lanesboro. The group voted to have President Miller call State Representative Lloyd Duxbury that night to have their group on record as recommending that PERA be changed or incorporated with Social Security, and that said call be forwarded to the State Legislature.Officers elected were:

* President Robert Bedore, Houston

* Vice President Dean Dennison, Caledonia

* Secretary Treasurer Rex A. Johnson, Goodview

* Executive Board John Rippe, Caledonia

* Thomas Flynn, Houston

* Mayor Hoff, Peterson

The Recent Years

In early 2000, the SEMLM grew from three counties to six with the addition of Mower, Olmsted and Wabasha Counties. The group reinstated the practice of working on legislative issues for member cities. A reinvigorated board met monthly to revise the constitution and by-laws for member action. By 2002, two more counties, Goodhue and Dodge, were added to the organization for a total of eight. Two more board seats were created and seated for a total of nine. The SEMLM continues to grow its membership in the region and serve communities in the eight-county area.

Legislative activity has grown to the point where in recent years legislators have called our SEMLM presidents for input on topics. During the years of the Ventura administration, the SEMLM was invited to attend and present at an event at the Governors mansion. The only city organization in the state at that event was the SEMLM. The Governors office cited the SEMLMs grassroots style as the reason for the invitation. The SEMLM has had extraordinary access to legislators during the height of legislative pressures, because our board members make personal visits to the area lawmakers. Former Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum would come off the House floor to speak to SEMLM board members, but not other city organizations lobbyists, because, as he said, "You're the real deal."

Friday August 05 2011


A lot is happening in preparation for our August 29th Southeastern Minnesota

League of Municipalities (SEMLM) meeting in Chatfield. Attached is the

registration form. You are all invited and we hope everyone can attend.

Please share this email with others in your city.

The event starts at 6:00 p.m. to enjoy some social time with fellow city

officials, staff, and legislators. Dinner is at 6:30. The lineup of speakers

is just tremendous. It is a very full agenda, with the speakers starting at

6:50 p.m.

Speakers and topics for the night are:

6:50 pm

Welcome - Mayor Hainlen of Chatfield,

SEMLM Business - Pres. Ron Johnson

7:10 pm

SMIF - Tim Penny - "Regional Economic Development" Update on SMIF

feasibility study for a regional economic development commission. This

meshes with the request from the SEMLM membership to pursue more information

on a regional development commission (RDC) for our region.

7:30 pm

4M Fund - Kent Johnson - New products/services to assist cities with daily

cash management and investment. Look at bank safety, maximizing interest

earnings, enhanced Governmental Portfolio System.

7:50 pm

David Drown & Assoc. - Mike Bubany - "Bond Rating 101" Enhancing your city's

bond rating during tough economic times.

8:10 pm

Minnesota House Tax Committee Chair, Rep. Greg Davids - The Future of LGA -

What are legislators thinking about LGA? Insight from inside the tax


This is an exciting lineup of speakers, including a peek into the crystal

ball of the Minnesota House Tax Chair regarding the future of Local

Government Aid for our communities. After the last nail-biting legislative

session, we need to look at what could happen to LGA in the next few years.

Who needs to attend: City elected officials, city clerks, city

administrators and managers, finance officials, economic development staff

and officials, and budgetary decision makers.

Register today! You know you need to be at this meeting.

If you see changes that need to be made to this distribution list, please

send me a note. I'm happy to help.

Brenda Johnson, Staff

Southeastern Minnesota League of Municipalities


Annual SEMLM Membership Meeting

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Join us in Rochester at the International Event Center near the airport for our annual meeting next week on the 27th. Well have a terrific meal, a presentation on how cities can reduce their costs for safety training, and voting on what we will focus on as our regional message to legislators and the governor for 2010.

This is the big stuff, folks. Our cities need to look under every rock and in every corner for ways to shave costs; and the SEMLM will bring ideas to our region to help you with that. We also need YOU to represent your city in deciding what the state representatives, senators, and the governor need to hear from us this legislative session. The SEMLM serves best when it joins all the community voices of our region into a cohesive message.

We need your input at this meeting, and we need you to be there. Register today.

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