Elizabeth Wefel, an attorney and lobbyist for the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, gave a rundown of the group’s activities to the Morris City Council at their Tuesday evening meeting. Morris is one of the over 100 cities who are members of the organization. With the state budget expected to go into a deep deficit, Wefel said the Coalition is fighting hard to maintain levels of Local Government Aid (LGA).
“Ensuring that LGA is paid on time and in full is our Number One priority right now,” said Wefel. “And it will continue to be our priority.” Morris City Manager Blaine Hill told KMRS that Local Government Aid — not property taxes — is the biggest source of funding for the city.
Another goal for the group has run into a financial roadblock this legislative session.
“Bonding: Big goal for us this year — always in an even year,” she said. “We wanted a $1.5 billion bill, money for wastewater, BDPI, child care, housing and local roads and bridges. We think it’s even more important now that, with the COVID it’s really an important part of stimulating the economy.”
Wefel said things may be clearer when November economic forecasts are released for the state. She was hoping a push for a bonding bill could still be made in January.
She also mentioned a concern the group has about a forever chemical referred to as PFAS. There had been efforts to slate $500,000 in state funding to help remove the chemical from state waters, but those plans got scrapped with COVID. Wefel hoped the funding could come back in 2021.