Fall is rapidly approaching. Back-to-school shopping should be done. And our college students had better be all moved in; welcome to them.

Noah Hobbs
Noah Hobbs
Also happening is the fast-approaching Sept. 8 deadline to apply to be on Duluth's new Red Tape Reduction Task Force. The Duluth City Council unanimously passed a resolution to commission the seven-person task force to examine the city's permitting and licensing processes.

The task force is to:

• Identify challenges faced by citizens doing business with the city, including costly or unnecessary contracting practices.

• Identify duplicative review requirements on development project features and then make recommendations to eliminate redundancies.

• Identify ways to help small businesses navigate the city's regulatory requirements.

• Identify ways to make city regulations simple, fair, and easier to enforce.

This task force will provide the Duluth City Council with information and recommendations to reduce unnecessary red tape and to make it easier for entrepreneurs to establish businesses in Duluth. The goal of this task force is to produce recommendations to promote business development and job growth in the city of Duluth.

Task force members will have some sort of connection to the business community, whether they're from the chamber of commerce, from a small business of 25 or fewer employees, a representative of a trades union, an architect, a contractor, or a developer. The task force also is to have at least one at-large member.

Applications will be accepted through next Friday. The task force's first meeting is to be in October with its first recommendations to the City Council six months after that.

What I like about the creation of this task force is how it will create a public process, led by individuals who have experienced unnecessary red tape when dealing with our city, to find and address inefficiencies. It also creates an accountability mechanism for me and fellow councilors.

I believe we have a responsibility to create a smart, competitive, and intuitive regulatory environment to continue to position our city as a place to work, live, and play.

If you're a pragmatic business owner, architect, or contractor who wants to help the city do a better job, send me an email, give me a call, tweet me, or contact me through Facebook, and I will forward you an application. Or find an application at duluthmn.gov/city-council/red-tape-reduction-task-force/.

This task force won't solve everything, but I believe it will help continue and build off of the positive momentum Duluth has created over the past 10 years. It'll help improve our local government and grow our local economy.


Noah Hobbs is an At Large Duluth city councilor. Email him at nhobbs@duluthmn.gov. His Twitter handle is @hobbs_duluth. He’s on Facebook. And his phone number is (218) 730-5351.