Contact the Mayor

201 4th Street SE
Room 281, City Hall
Rochester, Mn 55904 (Map)
Phone: 507-328-2700

Contact the Mayor:
Kim Norton Email

Contact the Executive Assistant:
Michon Rogers Email

Mon-Fri 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

 Kim Norton

Mayor Kim Norton’s Year in Review
January 6, 2020

This Wednesday marks a full year since the swearing in ceremony when I became the 45th Mayor of this remarkable community. I am so very grateful for this opportunity and for the support I’ve received all year long from so many of you. - thank you.  

Looking back I’m amazed at all the City Council, staff, and community have accomplished.  It’s exciting, and yet challenging, to be part of this growth and change. Honest conversation and compromise are almost always at the core of the best outcomes. One year ago I told the community where I would focus my time and efforts and this is a brief review of those areas. 

Good Government and Community Engagement

    • Moved the COW/Study Sessions to a larger room with recording capability
    • Recorded all City Council, Committees, and Commission meetings and posted online
    • Held a City Council training with the all members through LMC (League of Minnesota Cities)
    • Created an easy online application process for Boards and Commissions and expanded outreach to under-represented voices in our community
    • Facilitated a Workshop for Board/Commission Staff Representatives with a Board/Commission member Workshop scheduled for February
    • Created a Board/Commission Member Questionnaire to evaluate the charge and functioning of the City’s Boards and Commissions – the results are forthcoming
    • Selected for, and participated in, the Mayors Institute of City Design - Riverfront Reimagined
    • Selected for the Bloomberg-Harvard City Leaders Initiative and related opportunities: 
      • Mayor, and then two selected City Administrators, took part in week long trainings in NYC
      • Applied for and received a Collaboration Training award (in partnership with the County and community)
      • Applied for, and received, assistance from What Works Cities for use of data
      • Participated in a Public Narrative Course online with 15 Mayors around the world
      • Coaching provided and accepted a Mayor Mentor

Growth and Development 

  • Participated in READI, Chamber, RDA (Rochester Downtown Association), County  and individual meetings with community members
  • Hold a seat on the DMCC Board
  • Hold a seat on ROCOG
  • Participated in lobbying efforts in Washington, DC and St. Paul (health, arts, development, transportation)

I will continue to advocate and support continued growth and collaborate with partners to work through needs of current businesses and to draw new, diverse businesses to town in the coming year. 

Sustainability

    • Developing a City of Rochester Sustainability & Resiliency Task Force
    • Developing a City Department Green Team Champions
    • Launched an ongoing 365 Sustainability Campaign with an accompanying Community Pledge
    • Focused on a livable, walkable, bikable city- piloted Scooters, Road Design
    • Building a healthy community - Grant application and new focus in 2020 
    • Presented at two conferences
    • Participated in two International Programs and/or Exchanges
    • Sweden Study on Circular Economy Strategies
    • Climate Smart Municipality - Muenster Germany Extended MOU for two years

 Welcoming and Inclusive Community

  • Supported and worked with City Council and staff on the ICI Survey Development
  • Participated in Talking About Race Training and Working with Homeless Training hosted by the Library
  • Hosted a booth at Women’s Expo
  • Hosted a booth at Thursdays Downtown
  • Hosted Girl Scouts Citizenship Day; Spoke with Boy Scouts 
  • Spoke to many school and community groups
  • Attended regular meetings with area residents and groups to discuss race issues

Strong, Safe Neighborhoods

  • Worked with Law Enforcement, and hosted a table at all Safe City Nights
  • Collaborated on a Street Art Grant with RNeighbors and Community Development
  • Attended RNeighbors meetings and events, as well as strategy sessions
  • Revived/Reinstituted the Mayor’s Council on Neighborhoods
  • Attended community meetings as requested on various issues

Ending Homelessness and providing appropriate shelter and housing for those in need

  • CSH (Center for Supporting Housing) Funding - report due in a month
  • Warming Center partnership  with County and Business (up and running - law enforcement has been tremendous)
  • St. Kate’s gift of beds and worked with partners to get them 

Looking to the past reminds me how busy 2019 was, but also points us toward a fresh start and exciting progress that we will make in 2020!  Certainly there are always areas for internal improvement in processes, improving functioning and building relationships. Assuring that we allow broad discussion on direction and goals prior to decision-making, less disruption to the flow of staff work with new ideas, and cleaner ways to address issues and interests of City Council and the community that arise come to mind.  Continued community engagement concerning changes in our community should continue to be a focus. The implementation of the Intercultural Cities Initiative and GARE (Government Alliance on Race and Equity) will help us meet future needs of residents and visitors alike.  I’m eager to learn the results of our survey work. 

We have support for part of 2020 from Bloomberg-Harvard staff to assist us with our collaborative processes and our use of data. I think we are all hopeful that the outcomes will be positive and the learning transferable to other collaborative partnerships - of which we have many!  We  must continue to seek to support our key employers (large and small) by engaging in robust conversations about future needs and economic growth and resiliency so we can best support their needs with the broader hopes and vision of the community at large.  I know there will continue to be bumps along the way, but if we commit to sharing information, coming to the table with the goal of success for all, I know we can do this and do it right. 

Personally, I will continue to work on collaborative processes, improved communication skills and digging into some of the areas of focus I highlighted when I ran for office - like safe and active neighborhood spaces and gaining systemic and community support for creating a more sustainable and healthy culture in our city.  I’m committed to including a broad section of the community to do this work and will have a focus on equity and inclusion, as well.  I’m especially pleased to have a legislative director for the City and will continue to work with Administration and staff to advocate for laws that give cities autonomy where appropriate and seek state support for bonding projects and law changes that help us address housing, homelessness and clean, sustainable energy.