Introduction of State Authority
In 1959, by passage of Chapter 414, Minnesota became the first state in the country to create a commission, the Minnesota Municipal Commission (Board), to hear and decide local incorporation and boundary adjustment matters.
Before 1959, the Minnesota Legislature was confronted with municipal boundary chaos. The post-World War II growth in large urban centers marked a distinct departure from the previous patterns of a predominantly agricultural age. Provisions and procedures for incorporation and boundary changes were haphazard, with no public body to provide order and an overview. This proliferation of uneconomic villages placed additional burdens on counties and surrounding areas.
The legislature recognized the need for a coherent policy to guide urban growth not only in the metropolitan area, but throughout the entire state. Chapter 414 was a comprehensive act codifying all laws on boundary adjustment and providing for administrative review by the Minnesota Municipal Board. The Board was charged with conducting proceedings and issuing orders to create a municipality, combine two or more governmental units, or alter a municipal boundary.
Dissolution of the Minnesota Municipal Board
The legislature terminated the Board effective May 31, 1999. All statutory authority and responsibilities of the former Board were transferred to the Office of Strategic and Long Range Planning, commonly referred to as Minnesota Planning, with the ultimate decision-making authority resting with the Director of the Office of Strategic and Long Range Planning. Proceedings that required a hearing were delegated to the Office of Administrative Hearings for assignment of administrative law judges.
In 2003, Reorganization Order No. 188 transferred the functions, powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Director of the Office of Strategic and Long Range Planning pertaining to municipal boundary adjustments to the Department of Administration. The Commissioner of Administration became the decision-making authority for boundary adjustment proceedings. Proceedings that required a hearing continued to be delegated to the Office of Administrative Hearings for assignment of administrative law judges.
In 2005, Reorganization Order No. 192 transferred the functions, powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Commissioner of Administration pertaining to municipal boundary adjustments to the Office of Administrative Hearings. The Chief Administrative Law Judge is the decision-maker in boundary adjustment proceedings. The purpose of this transfer was to consolidate within the Office of Administrative Hearings the administrative, alternative dispute resolution, and hearing functions relating to municipal boundary adjustments.
All boundary adjustments affect local government and have the potential for conflict or agreement. The Municipal Boundary Adjustment Unit works with other state agencies and local governments to make the most efficient use of available resources.