Local Minnesota projects left out of Governor’s recommendations

Local Projects Left Out Of Governor’s Recommendations

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(ABC 6 News) – More than 20 projects in southeastern Minnesota were asking for bonding money for their projects but none were recommended by the governor, and it has some people worried.

Governor Walz has recommended $982 million for projects in the upcoming bonding bill. But it’s far less than $7 billion requested from local governments and state agencies.

“We are trying to put forth a bill that is fiscally responsible. We are minimizing the amount of cash we are using. That means this bill is financially more constrain than the past several years,” said Erin Campbell the Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner.

While the governor plans to spend more than $215 million on water and transportation infrastructure. The city of Albert Lea requested $40 million in funding for upgrades to their water treatment plant, but their request was not recommended.

“I would say the funding source stays the same whether it was recommended by the governor or not,” said Albert Lea City Manager Ian Rigg. “I think, more accurately, he was saying he’s not earmarking any specific project that is water or wastewater.”

Rigg adds the 40-year-old facility is due for upgrades, especially with new EPA regulations. Another project in albert lea that did not make the governor’s list was the blazing star redevelopment project.

“Basically, we want to put in road sewar and clean up any green space and install a storm water pond that way the area can be redeveloped,” said Rigg.

The city says the centrally located area would be great for retail and housing development.

Over in Stewartville they are looking to improve this stretch of 15th Avenue Northeast.

“Public safety is the biggest issue. If anything were to happen to the Highway 63 the only closest connection point between north and south Stewartville for emergency response is this section of roadway,” said Bill Schimmel Stewartville’s City Administrator.

The gravel road is not fit for the amount of use the road gets, according to Schimmel. In the project plans, the city also wants to create wider shoulders for bikers.

The project would cost about $3 million.

“Our three entities are looking at way of helping out with half of that and we are really willing the state will help out with that. So, we are willing to put our skin in the game,” said Schimmel.

Just because the governor doesn’t recommend the project, that doesn’t mean it won’t get funding.

Lawmakers will figure that out in the legislative session. Officials ABC 6 spoke say they are worried about getting the projects done, but how much it will cost the cities and their taxpayers is definitely at the front of their minds.