Council gets CGMC updatesWORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council heard Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cites (CGMC) representative Bradley Peterson give updates about the 2011 state legislative session at its meeting Monday night.
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council heard Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cites (CGMC) representative Bradley Peterson give updates about the 2011 state legislative session at its meeting Monday night.
Peterson, an attorney for Flaherty and Hood P.A., which provides legislative support to CGMC, spoke primarily about Local Government Aid (LGA) and economic development.
“Coming into this session, of course, we’ve had a lot of challenges related to Local Government Aid — there was a $5 billion projected state deficit,” Peterson said.
In addition, he said, changes in leadership from the 2010 election resulted in “flipping both houses of the Legislature from DFL to Republican,” and the election of 50 new legislators — “most of whom had zero grounding or experience in local government issues or didn’t know anything about Local Government Aid” — created a further challenge, he said.
Another significant challenge cited was LGA opposition from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, which was initially in favor of eliminating LGA but eventually supported its being “significantly reduced and restructured.”
Peterson provided LGA figures that Worthington received this year — $2,705,107, the same amount the city received in 2010. That amount is also almost $325,000 short of what the city was slated to get.
“It is important that we clarify the fact that the amount that we were certified to what we actually got is $300,000 less,” Ten Haken said.
Peterson provided updates on efforts the coalition worked on this year, which ranged from engaging with local area Chambers of Commerce, gaining support from newly elected Republicans — “especially those from Greater Minnesota” — and meeting with media entities.
The state may have solved its budget deficit for years 2012 and 2013, but a forecast for 2014 and 2015 shows a projected $1.8 billion deficit, Peterson noted.
“And that’s before anybody considers paying back the schools,” Peterson added. “If you’re going to pay back the schools, you’re above $4 billion (in deficit) — so clearly the state has not solved any long-term problems.”
The coalition, working with local cities, will be compiling a “package of economic development ideas for the legislature in 2012,” Peterson said.
In other business, council:
* Authorized a grant agreement with the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force. The city will continue to reimburse each agency expended monies as stated in the agreement.
* Approved a proposed agreement from the Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Aviation that provides for 50 percent of funding the airport “T” hangar site preparation.
* Awarded the airport grass/hay land five-year lease to Freking Hayline & Custom for an annual lump sum payment of $9,700; and awarded the airport agriculture tillable land five-year lease to Marc Freese, Wayne Freese, Craig Pfeifer and William Gordon for an annual lump sum payment of $102,188.
* Approved a special use permit that will allow applicant Lori Klooster to operate an adult day care facility in a light industrial zoning district — “M-1.” Amendments to conditions include the facility requiring a single, site-obscuring fence of at least 8-feet-high, and a landscaping plan that will be approved by the city’s planning commission.
* Authorized additional work on the Memorial Auditorium project. Work includes re-roofing a leaking small roof over an existing office area, permanently sealing off four ceiling vents above a balcony seating area and modifying three down spouts to rectify erosion problem on building walls. Council members awarded the project to Architectural Roofing and Sheetmetal. Total estimated cost for the additional work is $12,000.