Cities, Counties Prepare Legislative Wish Lists

January 04, 2017 07:23 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- These are early days for the Minnesota legislature, but already around the state, cities and counties are putting together their 2017 wish lists.

“The tax bill and bonding bill are probably two priorities for the city of Austin," City Administrator Craig Clark said.


And one of the things at or near the top of the wish list is local government aid ... state funding that offsets local property tax.

"50 percent of our budget is tied with local government aid," Austin’s Craig Clark said.

At the county level, it's known as "county program aid".

"For us, as an example, that's been reduced from a little over two million a year down to about 1.4 million, so a pretty good reduction over the years on that," said Freeborn County Administrator John Kluever.

Cities and counties are also calling on lawmakers to approve funding for infrastructure projects.

"A bonding bill, we have a pending MPCA permit with our wastewater treatment facility," Austin City Administrator Craig Clark explained.

“We had several projects locally that didn't go through, so a bonding bill, bridge bonding included," added Freeborn County’s John Kluever.

And something lawmakers failed to do last year ...

"A comprehensive transportation package that proves to be sustainable," John Kluever sdaid.

“When we're talking about the increasing cost of these projects, having that assistance is critically important," added Austin City Administrator Craig Clark.

Without a transportation funding bill, many cities and counties had to put projects on hold.

"But when you delay projects, you are now making that same project more expensive," Freeborn County Administrator John Kluever said.

But in the early days of 2017:

"Renewed optimism that the legislature will be able to come together and get some things done with the governor and move the state forward," Austin’s Craig Clark told us.


Dan Conradt

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