Communications

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Communications and Events
Communications and events staff work within the Administration Department. Communications and events responsibilities include: 

Cable and Recording                                                                                             
Cable subscribers in the Columbia Heights franchise area total about 3,100, resulting in a penetration rate of 33%. Franchise and PEG (Public, Educational, and Governmental) fees received by Columbia Heights from Comcast for the use of the City's infrastructure totals about $215,000 per year and helps fund cable and communications expenses. The City works with Tightrope Media and Swagit to schedule and stream cable channel content. The City records every City Council meeting and every Planning Commission meeting. Council meetings, informational videos, and bulletins are streamed on local cable channels 16 and 19, and on the City’s website.  

Newsletter, Recreation Brochure, and Other Publications                                                    
The City Newsletter is mailed to every household four times per year: spring, summer, winter, and fall. The 12-page document, which is attached to the Recreation Brochure, underwent a redesign in 2018. The City has contracted with PixelPoint Design to help create the new design and provide other graphics support. The City continues to contract with mailing company Do-Good to ensure all newsletters reach their intended audience. Nystrom continues to be the print source for the newsletter. RapidGraphics assists with smaller printing projects such as the Annual Report or Centennial Calendar. The newsletter is mailed to 9,600 households in Columbia Heights.
                                                                                               
Social Media                                                                      
The City maintains a YouTube channel, Facebook accounts for the Police Department, Fire Department, Library, Recreation, Municipal Liquor, and City as a whole. The City also maintains Instagram, Twitter, and Nextdoor accounts. The City hired the firm ArchiveSocial in 2018 to keep track of all posts and comments made on the City’s social media pages. This was to ensure that the City has complete and proper records in the event of a data practices request. A social media comments policy was posted on the City’s Facebook page to help regulate controversial posts from the public. For more info, go to Social Media Pages.

Communications and Centennial Committees                                                                 
In 2019, the Communications Committee was made up of Paula Haynus, Jeff Hanson, Jodi Griffin, Sue Schmidtbauer, Jason Schulz, Kelli Bourgeois, Nancy Becker, Deanna Saefke, Winnie Coyne, Karen Olson, John Larkin, Katie Bruno, Liz Hamond, and Ben Sandell. The committee met bi-monthly to review and discuss communications projects. The committee was put on hold in 2020.  

Two 100th Anniversary Event Planning committees were created in 2019, one made up of City staff, the other of community stakeholders.  

Website                                                                                    
The City continues to contract with Revize to host the City’s website. Content is maintained by City staff. 

Events and Communications Specialist                                                                      
The City Council approved the creation of an events and communications specialist to work with the Communications Coordinator to organize City events, plan the City’s 100th anniversary schedule, and help out with day-to-day communications needs. This is the second position within the City focused specifically on citywide communications and outreach. The events specialist works closely with other City departments to collaborate on event planning. 

Emergency Alerts
The City contracted with the Emergency Alert Company CodeRED to help get important messages to residents. Sign up to receive alerts here

Personnel
Ben Sandell, Communications Coordinator
Phone:  (763) 706-3615  |  Email: bsandell@columbiaheightsmn.gov

Will Rottler, Communications & Events Specialist
Phone:  (763) 706-3614 |  Email: wrottler@columbiaheightsmn.gov

Adam Davis, part-time Cable Assistant