Dayton Veto Threat Could Hurt Civic Center Plans

Created: 05/13/2014 6:18 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- A fight over requiring sprinklers in larger, newly constructed homes could impact other projects in our area. State lawmakers decided to add an amendment that would prevent the sprinkler bill from being law. That move angered the governor to the point, he's now threatening the bonding bill. We share how this would impact the area.
"We believe the project will bring in $37 million more in economic impact for the state and this area if it proceeds and that's a huge benefit for all of us," said Assistant Rochester City Administrator Gary Neuman.
It's been smooth sailing this session for the long-awaited civic center expansion. It made the cut in both the House and Senate's proposals and has gotten a "nod" from Governor Dayton in the past, but a completely unrelated law could change everything. "I will veto the bonding bill if it has this provision in it. They can just know that right now, put whatever they want in that bonding bill, and as much as I want a bonding bill, I will not have something rammed down my throat," said Governor Mark Dayton.
That provision would eliminate a requirement for new, larger homes to have sprinkler systems installed. "The language Governor Dayton used was he won’t have this rammed down his throat but it’s funny because he's the one actually ramming these down 87 percent of Minnesotans who have said that they'd like fire sprinklers in single family homes to remain a homeowners choice," said Matt Limoges with Rochester Area Builders Inc. He says a law that passed in 2003,  requiring all fire alarms be interconnected, has proven to be enough. "In homes with that technology installed, all new homes built since 2003, we haven't seen a single fire fatality," said Limoges.
Still, the Minnesota Fire Chief’s Association is pushing for the new measure and Governor Dayton’s says he won't budge. "The last thing we want to see is the bonding bill go down in flames but that's the governor’s decision," said Limoges.
"In the past, they've always got the job done and passed the bonding bill, so we're cautiously optimistic that they'll get their issues worked out and that we'll have a bonding bill, and then we're optimistic that we'll be in the bill," said Neuman.
Plans to renovate RCTC and dredge Fountain Lake in Albert Lea would also be impacted if Governor Dayton follows through on his veto promise.

Photo: ABC 6 News