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Cities Lobbying For LGA

April 19, 2017 07:26 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- It’s become a lobbying point for cities around the state … and a priority for the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities.

“We’re the ones that are hurting economically and our tax base isn't what it is in the urban areas," Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm said.

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And the idea behind Local government aid, or LGA, is to level the playing field.

"Local government aid is intended to provide more equity between greater Minnesota cities and the metropolitan cities that have a little more tax base and density," said Albert Lea City Manager Chad Adams.

"It's over half of our budget,” added Austin city Administrator Craig Clark.

But cities say the payments have been lagging behind their costs for years. And with a projected state surplus of $1.65 billion, they say now is the time to bring the numbers back in line.

"We're just asking to go back to that actual dollar amount that was in place in 2002," Austin’s Craig Clark said.

“We've seen some increases since that time but we're still at levels that are pre-2002," added Albert Lea City Manager Chad Adams.

"We're either going to do with less services or not as frequent a service or you're going to see your taxes go up significantly," said Craig Clark.

"But with a budget surplus like that you'd think the legislature could see bringing us up to 2002 levels," Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm explained.

"So property taxes have increased over the last ten years or so because LGA has not been increasing," said Albert Lea’s Chad Adams

Last year, a $20 million statewide increase in the annual LGA allocation was approved by lawmakers ... then vetoed on a technicality.

"And now this session has begun and we can't even get a commitment for what was passed last session," said Austin’s Craig Clark.

“We just want our share of the increase as all other services throughout the state are receiving increases,” added Albert Lea’s Chad Adams


Credits

Dan Conradt

Copyright 2017 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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