Tom Seward at Minnesota Watchdog takes a closer look at the upcoming $3.2 billion– with a “B”– in bonding requests that are being pitched to state legislators from municipalities and state agencies.
Seward notes that the spiffy BUILD MN website, complete with romantic Instagram pictures of public works projects, is run by the Senate DFL, but gets a bipartisan boost from Republican comments on the site. The website is currently promoting the “bonding tour”, the tradition whereby legislators travel around the state to see and hear about all of the requests for more tax dollars. Legislators recently took a train ride for one leg of the tour.
Seward links the 620-page bonding request for local governments which amounts to $767 million of the $3.3 billion total. Minnesota Watchdog highlights just a few of the projects including a $2 million snow-maker for a St. Paul ski hill and $8 million for arts center renovations in Chatfield, a southern Minnesota town with 2,779 residents.
Other notable 2016 bonding requests include, the city of Moose Lake, population 2,751, requesting $800,000 to renovate and expand it’s local Riverside Arena. Hibbing Community College, which enrolls 1,486 students, wants $10 million to realign the front door of the campus and make other renovations to “more efficiently utilize the existing space” on campus.
St. Peter, Minnesota wants $885,000 in state tax dollars to modernize their “decades old” park pavilion.
The Minnesota Historical Society is requesting $850,000 for Forestville State Park, to renovate an early 1900’s residence, and the exterior of a barn and store building.
In the special legislative session that took place in June, Governor Mary Dayton reached a deal to borrow $373 million for public works projects, even though 2015 is not a regular bonding year in the legislature.
Legislators will complete their tour of bonding projects by visiting suburban metro requests next week. The BUILD MN website has an interactive map to view bonding requests in your area. Bonding requests will be discussed and approved during the next legislative session which begins in March.