Little Falls Mayor Greg Zylka passed the gavel to his successor, Friday.
No, he did not resign his place serving his hometown. The gesture did, on the other hand, deliver to an close his a single-yr phrase as president of the Coalition of Bigger Minnesota Towns (CGMC) Board of Directors.
“It’s been really pleasurable,” Zylka reported. “I truly feel fortunate to have been elected to the Board. When we joined the Coalition of Larger Minnesota Metropolitan areas, it was never in my goals to turn into president.”
The CGMC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy business symbolizing 110 metropolitan areas outdoors of the Twin Metropolitan areas metropolitan area. Its mission assertion reads: “CGMC towns are dedicated to a powerful Larger Minnesota. Our mission is to acquire feasible, progressive communities for enterprises and people by means of robust financial growth and very good neighborhood federal government. We help good residence taxes, great land use organizing, sensible environmental regulation, a well balanced transportation method and efficient financial progress tools to meet up with that intention.”
Zylka has been mayor of Small Falls considering that 2015. He claimed it was soon soon after Town Administrator Jon Radermacher started operating for the metropolis of Tiny Falls, when Tim Flaherty of Flaherty and Hood came to speak with them about the prospective customers of Minor Falls becoming a member of the CGMC. The city had beforehand been aspect of the Coalition, but at some level, it experienced dropped its membership.
The pair advocated for rejoining CGMC, and Small Falls was soon back in the fold. A shorter time later on, Zylka was asked through a convention if he would be fascinated in becoming a member of the Board of Directors. He became the chair of a committee and, in 2018, was named second vice president.
“I considered, ‘Sure. That would be excellent to advocate for Tiny Falls and other communities in larger Minnesota,’” he reported.
Soon after a single yr in that position, he ascended to initial vice prresident for a one-12 months phrase in 2019. That led into his convert as president, which commenced July 31, 2020.
Zylka admitted that he was “a minimal skittish” at initial, understanding the amount of obligation that arrived with his new position.
“But, I realized it would truly support our neighborhood,” he reported.
He is not a person to shirk from substantial-tension roles, however. Along with currently being mayor of Small Falls for additional than six years, Zylka serves on a full of 16 boards and committees. He is chairman of “about 10” of them.
Nonetheless, there was nothing at all “normal” about Zylka’s term as president. COVID-19 meant all meetings, conferences and push activities ended up held just about, somewhat than at the CGMC’s usual headquarters at Flaherty and Hood’s offices in St. Paul.
“I’m the only president to have ever served a entire time period lengthy-length,” Zylka explained.
Prior to the pandemic — and Zylka getting president — he and Radermacher not only attended CGMC conferences in St. Paul, they also routinely fulfilled with condition legislators and lobbyists to advocate for the desires of larger Minnesota. In simple fact, he mentioned they were being in the Twin Cities for a Coalition conference on what ended up becoming the closing working day in 2020 that the Legislature met in human being before COVID-19 limitations triggered every thing to go on the net.
Irrespective of the occasional problems of heading digital, he claimed the Coalition “didn’t skip a beat” in the course of his expression. That was apparent in the reality that, in Oct 2020, the CGMC was instrumental in the Legislature’s passage of the 2020 bonding bill, which delivered $1.9 billion in funds investments. That allowed metropolitan areas throughout Minnesota to take treatment of substantially-necessary advancements to wastewater and water infrastructure.
In some strategies, he stated, working practically was actually an edge when it came to receiving experience time with crucial people today at the capitol to advocate for main concerns, such as the aforementioned bonding monthly bill.
“Sometimes we acquired in with far more men and women than we would have if we ended up assembly in individual,” Zylka said. “It was simpler for us to chat to Senator (Paul) Gazelka or the Governor.”
To that conclusion, he explained Gazelka, Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Tiny Falls, and Gov. Tim Walz have been all receptive to what he and the Coalition experienced to say. As an advocate for the overall state, he said he signed much more than 100 letters dealt with to Walz or Gazelka — who was Senate Greater part Leader — throughout his tenure.
“I advocate for wants that they had in all corners of the state, from Thief River Falls to Marshall and almost everywhere else,” Zylka stated. “… In this job, I depict not only the metropolis of Tiny Falls, not only Morrison County, not only Region 5, but the whole state of Minnesota.”
Neighborhood Government Aid (LGA) has normally been a key situation for the CGMC, but it was only a person of a number of troubles Zylka concentrated on in the course of his time as president. Whilst raising the membership to 110 cities throughout the condition, he also helped legislators choose recognize of the issue of needing additional boy or girl treatment and housing all over greater Minnesota.
From a local standpoint, he has advocated for the addition of a half-cent community option gross sales tax that would help Tiny Falls fund a group recreation heart. With funding for a new Minnesota Military Museum at Camp Ripley staying provided in the 2020 bonding bill, he reported that suggests more people from exterior Minor Falls expending income in the neighborhood and contributing to that cause.
That advocacy doesn’t stop with his phrase as president. He claimed he strategies to take part “for a while.” Some of that might rely on no matter if or not he runs for a third phrase as mayor of Very little Falls in November 2022. He has not decided nevertheless if he will be on the ballot again.
In the meantime, he said work will continue on both equally with CGMC and locally on what Radermacher refers to as the “three-legged stool:” broadband, little one care and housing. He pointed to the North Freeze Dry plant coming to northeast Tiny Falls as an illustration of the worth of those people concerns. The plant is envisioned to insert 50 – 75 work opportunities.
“We’re so lucky to have people jobs coming in, but now we want to come across a way to fill them,” Zylka mentioned. “That implies we have to have youngster treatment and housing for their personnel. … If there is a need in the community, it is our obligation to fill it.”
Hunting again on his time as president of the CGMC Board of Administrators, he said it would be tricky to pinpoint just one issue or work of which he was specially proud. Rather, he seems to be at it with a broader scope.
He claimed he was honored to be equipped to advocate for higher Minnesota in these kinds of a public way. He was also proud of his and the rest of the Coalition’s job in serving to better Minnesota get by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve normally believed in lifelong schooling,” Zylka said. “Who would have assumed that I’d still be studying at just about 70? I undoubtedly realized a whole lot.”