Coalition of Greater MN Cities Disappointed with Special Session
ST. PAUL -- The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities is disappointed that more didn't get done during the special session of the Minnesota State Legislature.
Executive Director Bradley Peterson says back on March 27th the federal government sent $2 billion to Minnesota with the recommendation that 45 percent of that money be sent to local governments, which amounts to about $841 million.
Peterson says the Senate and the House could not come to an agreement on a bill to get that money sent out to the cities.
And that money is really important because no matter where you live in the state your local governments have been spending money to prepare for the pandemic to prevent its spread. So whether you've had just a few cases in your area or you've been hit hard in terms of infection rates, local governments have already spent quite a bit of money on this issue.
Peterson says the Senate passed a clean bill, but the House added additional spending items to it not related to the federal money.
Restrictions on the money include that it has to be used on COVID-19 related expenses between March 1st and December 30th.
Also, this is supposed to be a bonding bill year for the Minnesota State Legislature, but after a week-long special session state lawmakers still have not come to terms on a jobs bill.
Peterson says shovel ready projects across the state are waiting for the bill to pass so the work can get started.
And cities are really hurting for getting these projects going. There are a number of communities that have critical wastewater infrastructure projects that are necessary to help their communities grow and protect the environment that right now are just plain on hold.
Peterson says the House and Senate seem to have some agreement on the dollar amount of a bonding bill around $1.35 billion but haven't finalized which projects would be included.