Report: Minnesota cities not compliant with reporting law

Few local governments are filing required disclosures of permit and development finances, according to a report from the Housing Affordability Institute.

In the follow-up to the organization’s first research effort, Priced Out: The True Cost of Minnesota’s Broken Housing Market, the Housing Affordability Institute studied three years of report data and found that the already low compliance rate is falling further.

Under Minnesota law, municipalities collecting more than $5,000 in construction and development fees in a calendar year must file a report with the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry by June 30 of the following year.

Around 100 municipalities filed their annual reports in 2017, 2016 and 2015.

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The report concludes that a concerted effort to increase compliance is needed, and that modifications to the report format would yield a better look at construction and development finances at the city and county government level.

“We’ve asked the Department of Labor and Industry to work at increasing the compliance rate,” said Nick Erickson, author of the report and regulatory affairs manager for Housing First Minnesota. “The public and policymakers expect greater transparency from all levels of government, including cities.”

The Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry has responded to the report, indicating it has developed a communications and outreach plan to encourage greater compliance on behalf of local government entities. In early May, the Department sent a letter reminding staff of the fi ling requirement to the 539 municipalities that adopted the state building code.