Local government innovation is worth cash this year

A six-year-old effort to encourage innovation in local government has some cash tied to it this year.

Jay Kiedrowski, senior fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University has been highlighting the best ways local government officials in Minnesota are trying new things. Changing demographics, tight budgets and shifting politics and economies have been pushing local governments to look for more efficient and better ways to provide services or make decisions not to provide them.

Last year, for example, winners of the Local Government Innovation Awards included a collaboration among schools and Hennepin County to reduce dropout rates; a cooperative effort among cities, townships and the Fond du Lac reservation for firefighting and emergency medical services and a Crow Wing County project using gas from a landfill to heat buildings.

This year, in an effort to stimulate more interest, the Bush Foundation is making $25,000 available to the winner. The contest is being operated in conjunction with InCommons, and you can find out more here.

“Local government has been more creative,” Kiedrowski said, and he’s looking for more examples to prove that. The contest opened this week and lasts until Nov. 2.

(Disclosure: Ground Level is supported by a grant from the Bush Foundation.)

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