by Mike Knaak
The city’s lobbyist provided an update and offered advice on how to again seek legislative funding for bonding projects that were turned down during the 2018 session.
The city had asked for $3.8 million for three different projects. The city intended the money would help finance the Jacob Wetterling Community Center, East Park and a CR 75 underpass.
“We were disappointed,” lobbyist Chris DeLaForest said. “We didn’t come away with what we wanted. It is frequently is a multi-year effort.”
There are three to four dollars in bonding requests for every dollar available,” DeLaForest said.
If the city is interested in seeking the money in the future, he suggested the council start lobbying well before the Legislature convenes. Actions include contacting legislators and asking citizens to write letters and use other means to show community support for the projects.
The aim, DeLaForest said, is to get the requests on the legislators’ tour of proposed projects seeking funds.
The city had set the pedestrian underpass as its top priority.
“I did not hear that any project lacked merit,” DeLaForest said. “I didn’t get any negative feedback.”
Bonding usually takes place in the second year of a legislative session but the governor and legislature could agree on a bonding bill in 2019.
Minnesotans will elect a new governor and all members of the House of Representatives. In addition, political control of the state Senate will be decided with the special election to replace Sen. Michelle Fischbach in District 13. Right now there are 33 Republicans and 33 Democrats in the Senate.