Mayors support governor’s local-aid plan

by Howard Lestrud
ECM Political editor

Five mayors of Minnesota’s metro cities on Wednesday (Feb. 20) at the State Capitol spoke in support of Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan to put more money into Local Government Aid (LGA).

The mayors are part of a task force of about 25 appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton. The initiative to review and discuss policy issues related to LGA was announced three weeks ago by Department of Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans.

At that time Frans explained that this advisory group will help develop policies and strategies intended to help allow cities to provide adequate services while helping them move away from an overreliance on property tax revenue.

The Tax Reform Advisory Group is said to be one part of a broader comprehensive tax reform package to be presented to the 2013 Minnesota Legislature.

The advisory group is charged with contributing solutions on reforming local government funding and building a fair tax system for Minnesotans.

Mayors participating at the press conference Wednesday spoke about the difficulties providing basic public services while holding down property taxes. Speaking were Mayor Debbie Goettel, Richfield; Chris Coleman, St. Paul; Dave Kleis, St. Cloud; Dave Bartholomay, Circle Pines, and John Zanmiller, West St. Paul.

Mayor Debbie Goettel of Richfield was one of five metro area mayors speaking in favor of Gov. Mark Dayton's plan to reform Local Government Aid. The five spoke at a press conference Wednesday at the State Capitol. (Photo by Howard Lestrud)

Mayor Debbie Goettel of Richfield was one of five metro area mayors speaking in favor of Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan to reform Local Government Aid. The five spoke at a press conference Wednesday at the State Capitol. (Photo by Howard Lestrud)

Goettel said the task force is looking at the first and second ring suburbs and realizing that they have aged and, in some areas, must be redeveloped. This redevelopment comes with its challenges and stresses the infrastructure, Mayor Goettel said.

Part of that redevelopment may require some structures to be torn down, cleaned up and replaced. She mentioned South Lyndale Gardens as an example.

Dayton’s plan reportedly is to restore LGA and to stabilize the formula. The task force is working on this goal, too, the mayors said.

The first of six meetings is scheduled for later this month and the group should have its work completed later this fall.

The task force is co-chaired by Mayor R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis and by Kleis of St. Cloud.

Howard Lestrud can be reached at howard.lestrud@ecm-inc.com.

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