For Immediate Release
Feb. 26, 2018
Contact: Julie Liew, email@example.com
Water infrastructure funding bill bolstered by strong bipartisan support
Bill would allocate $167M to state grant & loans programs that help cities pay for critical water infrastructure projects
ST. PAUL—City leaders in Greater Minnesota are lauding legislation introduced today that would boost state funding for grant and loan programs that help cities pay for expensive wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects.
The bill, SF 2668/HF 3122, spearheaded by chief authors Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls) and Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City), allocates $167 million in state bonding for three key grant and loan programs administered by the Public Facilities Authority (PFA). The proposal has broad bipartisan support, with a wide mix of legislators from both parties and from every corner of the state signed on as co-authors of the legislation. Gov. Mark Dayton has also shown support for the plan by including it in his bonding proposal and touting it again at a Governor’s press conference last week.
“We’re really thankful to have a strong, bipartisan group of lawmakers come together to support legislation that provides funding for water infrastructure,” said Dave Smiglewski, mayor of Granite Falls and president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC). “This is a critical need for communities across the state. Every Minnesotan deserves access to clean water, but cities can’t afford to bear the high construction and technology costs alone.”
The CGMC, which is comprised of 96 cities outside the metro area, has determined that funding for the PFA grant and loan programs is its top bonding bill priority this session.
“Cities have no choice but to upgrade their water facilities and fix broken sewer pipes. Unless they get financial help from the state, these costs all fall on local residents and businesses,” Smiglewski said. “When citizens are hit with water bills that have doubled or tripled, it really puts a strain on the whole community.”
Due to the need to replace aging infrastructure and comply with new, stricter water-quality regulations, the number of cities and sanitary sewer districts currently planning to rebuild or upgrade their drinking water or wastewater infrastructure has jumped in recent years. More than 300 cities, the bulk of which are in Greater Minnesota, currently have projects on the PFA’s Project Priority List which identifies potential wastewater, drinking water and storm water projects that are eligible to receive funding through PFA programs. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has estimated that local governments and the state are facing $5 billion in wastewater infrastructure costs over the next 20 years, while the Minnesota Department of Health estimates it will cost an additional $7.4 billion to upgrade and repair drinking water infrastructure over that same time period.
The legislation introduced today, SF 2668/HF 3122, has not yet been scheduled for a hearing. However, the House Capital Investment Committee will hold an informational hearing on Wednesday to learn more about the state’s water infrastructure needs and costs. City officials from at least two Greater Minnesota cities, Pipestone and Little Falls, are expected to testify about the specific needs facing their communities.
“We are glad that legislators are listening to our concerns and taking steps toward getting more funding for these important projects,” Smiglewski said. “I hope this spirit of bipartisanship will continue and lead to the passage of a bonding bill this year. These projects and our communities can’t wait.”
For more information on this bonding bill proposal and why it is important to Greater Minnesota communities, please see this CGMC Info Sheet.
The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization representing 96 cities outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The Coalition educates legislators about issues important to Greater Minnesota. Visit the CGMC online at greatermncities.org and follow us on Twitter @greatermncities.
Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities
Contact: Julie Liew, firstname.lastname@example.org
CGMC to hold press conference call to address opportunities and dangers facing Greater Minnesota this legislative session
Group to discuss key issues including the state’s response to federal tax reform, Local Government Aid, infrastructure needs and child care shortage
Who: Dave Smiglewski, mayor of Granite Falls and CGMC president; Ron Johnson, Bemidji City Council member; Jon Radermacher, Little Falls city administrator, and Bradley Peterson, CGMC executive director of the CGM
What: Press conference via conference call about Greater Minnesota priorities
When: 11 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 15
Call-in details: To receive the call-in number and passcode for the news conference, email Julie Liew at email@example.com or call 651-259-1917.
Each fall, CGMC members work together to shape the Coalition’s policy positions for the upcoming legislative session. Policy committees will be convening by conference call in October and early November to draft recommendations which will be discussed and voted on by the full membership at the Fall Conference Nov. 16-17. Serving on a policy committee is a great way to contribute to the work of the CGMC. Please contact the appropriate staff member listed below if you are interested in serving on one or more of the committees. The exact meeting dates and times will be determined soon.
- Economic Development will meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Contact Bradley Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- LGA/Property Taxes will meet at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 1. Contact Bradley Peterson at email@example.com.
- Transportation will meet at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2. Contact Shane Zahrt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Annexation and Land Use will meet at 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 3. Contact Elizabeth Wefel at email@example.com.
- Environment and Energy will meet at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Contact Elizabeth Wefel at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is now accepting entries for its 11th annual Local Government Innovation Awards (LGIA) to recognize the creative and innovative ways that cities, counties, townships, schools and Native Nations are serving Minnesotans.
Submitted projects are evaluated on how they create greater accountability; use incentives, targeting and funding to meet those in need; orchestrate competitive contracting; manage collaboration or consolidation; deploy prevention strategies that eliminate the need for a service or divest current services to the community. The LGIA jury will consider innovation, impact and sustainability of projects when determining the award winners. Up to 20 local government entities will be recognized. The winner in each of the five categories will receive a $5,000 grant and a professional video highlighting their work.
Entries for the 2017 LGIA will be accepted until 4 p.m. Oct. 6. Award winners will be recognized at the LGIA Awards Celebration on Dec. 7. For more information, go to http://lgia.umn.edu/.
In July, local and tribal governments throughout Minnesota received a formal invitation to participate in the 2020 Census Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) Program. The LUCA program provides state, local, and tribal governments with the opportunity to review and update the Census Bureau’s address list and formal boundaries. It is the only opportunity cities will get to ensure all housing units, roads and streets in their jurisdictions are accounted for prior to the 2020 Census.
In March 2020, the United States Census Bureau will mail the 2020 Census form to each housing unit for which they have an address. Since the Census is mailed to addresses, not people, Census 2020 results will only be accurate if the Census Bureau has a correct record.
The Minnesota Department of Administration’s State Demographic Center is Minnesota’s liaison with the Census Bureau. State Demographer Susan Brower stresses the importance of LUCA participation for local governments by pointing out that funding for many federal programs is based on population — a local jurisdiction stands to lose funding if every person isn’t counted. Even one missed person could mean as much as $1,530 in lost federal funding each year for programs in areas such as health, transportation, housing and education.
Some jurisdictions may lack the resources to do the LUCA review. In that case, they may arrange with a higher level of government, such as a county, to perform the review. Still, it is important for cities to review and send in their LUCA reservation materials to ensure that their area gets covered.
The deadline to register online to participate is Dec. 15, 2017. Address review materials will be mailed to registered participants in February 2018. Questions about the LUCA Program may be directed to the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Census Bureau at 844-344-0169 or via e-mail at GEO.2020.LUCA@census.gov or at the Census Bureau website. You may also contact the State Demography Center at 651-201-2770 or email@example.com.