End of session brings surprise to city
The Minnesota Legislative session has ended, a new funding bill has been approved, and the City of Moose Lake is receiving $2 million as reimbursement for infrastructure and sewer work done earlier to provide services for the state prison and the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) according to Gary Carlson, a lobbyist for the League of Minnesota Cities.
"We are surprised that this additional funding reimbursement came at this time," commented Pat Oman, Administrator for the City of Moose Lake. "We have outstanding bonding debt that was incurred because of the infrastructure needed to handle the water and sewer for the added prison and MSOP expansions. This money will cover almost all of the costs of the work the city committed to in good faith in previous years. The good news is that these debts will now not affect other projects we as a city work on to help our area grow."
Oman explained that the city had representatives in front of the Senate Tax Committee earlier in the Legislative session testifying for the authority to set a sales tax in Moose Lake. During that discussion, chair of the Senate Tax Committee Senator Skoe (DFL) from the Bemidji and Beltrami County area asked pointed questions for an extended period on an earlier state decision to not pay the full cost of the infrastructure work. As has been reported earlier, the State of Minnesota, in negotiations with the City of Moose Lake, said they would only pay $1.3 of the costs incurred. Moose Lake reluctantly accepted.
Unknown to Moose Lake officials, Senator Skoe included $2 million in the new funding bill to rectify this injustice. "A DFL majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives made this possible," said Rep. Mike Sundin. "Senator Lourey and I have worked to give the people of our district a voice in decisions in St. Paul. The vision of Governor Dayton is key to all this. This makes things happen for our area."