Mayor's Office

About the Mayor

Don Ness was elected mayor in 2007 from a field of 12 candidates. Four years later, Ness became the first mayor to run unopposed since Duluth was incorporated in 1887.

Mayor Ness takes a no-nonsense, solution-minded approach to his job. His administration has adopted the motto "Own it - Solve it" and has developed an impressive record of accomplishment and problem solving.

The accomplishments have not gone unrecognized. 2013 Leaders in Public Policy awarded Duluth as 2013 Local Government of the Year. Minnesota Monthly named Mayor Ness as one of ten "Minnesotans of 2012" and Twin Cities Business named Ness the "2013 Person of the Year." Ness was also included in Twin Cities Business Magainze's Top 100 "People to Know in 2015." The 2013 National Citizen Survey showed that residents of Duluth gave Mayor Ness a 90% job approval rating.

Ness graduated from UMD with a degree in Business Administration and recently earned a MBA degree from the College of Saint Scholastica. Don and his wife Laura have three children, Eleanor, James, and Owen. They live in the Hillside neighborhood of Duluth.

Primary accomplishments of the Ness Administration (2008-present):

  • Reducing the Retiree Health Care unfunded liability by $186 million
  • Implementing a new Street Improvement Program that fixed over 60 miles of city streets in three years
  • Developed and implemented a plan to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows into Lake Superior - a plan that is under budget and ahead of schedule
  • Reduced the general fund budget from $81 million in 2008 to actual expenditures of $71 million in 2010
  • Increased the General Fund Reserve from a negative balance of $1.35 million at the end of 2008 to a reserve of $7.53 million in 2011, meeting the City’s goal of a 10% reserve for the first time since 2002
  • Creation and passage of the Unified Development Code, Duluth’s first new zoning code since 1958. Created a One Stop Shop for Planning and Construction services to support and encourage construction in Duluth.
  • $2.6 million Parks and Recreation referendum passed in 2011 with 57% voter support.

Communications Office News Releases

07/07/2015Road and Utility Projects Slated to Start Next Week in Duluth
07/02/2015Aerial Lift Bridge to Light Up for Fourth of July Festivities - Bridges to be secured down during fireworks display
07/01/2015Utilities Repairs to Impact Travel on Section of Arrowhead Road July 6-10
06/30/2015Duluth Unfunded Retiree Liability Reduced by $53 million
06/29/2015Residents in Upper Lakeside Neighborhood Asked to Conserve Water Due to Water Main Break

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Don Ness
City Hall, Room 403
411 West First Street
Duluth, MN 55802
218-730-5230, Fax: (218) 730-5904



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