The 2023 state Legislature passed a record-setting number of bills directly affecting local government.
While there was no legislation specifically designed for Eden Prairie, there are significant categories that will benefit the city. At the same time, there are some categories that will have no bearing on the community.
City Manager Rick Getschow added that it is too early to know specifics about a couple of items.
“Virtually every city in the state is going to benefit from the new Public Safety program,” he said. “In our case, we expect to realize approximately $2.8 million.”
Getschow said city leaders are expected to use the majority of the funds for public safety capital equipment, which would likely include items such as new vehicles.
“This is going to be discussed by staff and the city council in July and August and then decisions will be made,” he said.
Public transportation is another area where the city knows assistance will be forthcoming, but the exact amount in dollars is still not known.
“There will be money for county and state roads and we know for public transportation such as SouthWest Transit, the bus service for our area,” he said.
Getschow added that the extensive upgrade of Interstate 494, including sections that pass through Eden Prairie, will benefit from state funding as well as significant funding from the federal government.
He said improvements and upgrades to the high-traffic volume intersection of Highway 5 and County Road 4 are anticipated although they are under county and state jurisdiction.
“We are going to request state funding for this project,” he said.
Mayor Ron Case said if the city obtains this phase of the funding, it will be allocated toward completing the design work for the intersection.
“Right now, there are four design approaches being considered,” Case said.
Improving public housing was a big item in the Legislature, and Eden Prairie will certainly see the effects of that. The overall program is for over $1 billion statewide.
“Eden Prairie will benefit from mixed-use housing, public housing, home remodeling assistance, affordable housing, and first-time buyers programs,” Getschow said. “Here again, we are not certain of the final amount we will see.”
The Metropolitan Council, which governs water, wastewater, and sewage systems, received a boost during the 2023 session. Eden Prairie expects to benefit from this, although the exact extent is still unknown.
One category where there will be no benefits to the city is Local Government Aid.
Local Government Aid (LGA) is a general-purpose aid that can be used for any lawful expenditure. It is also intended for property tax relief. The Minnesota Department of Revenue certifies LGA for cities based on the current LGA statutes, including any changes enacted during the most recent legislative session.
“LGA is designed for older communities like Minneapolis, St. Paul, and bigger and older cities in outstate Minnesota,” Getschow pointed out. “Cities like ours, in which the vast majority of development came starting roughly in 1970, are not designed to receive any assistance under this program.”
Case said he felt in general that the 2023 session was “positive” in how it approached and supported local government.
“This session set out to fix a lot of problems and they seemed to have accomplished that,” the mayor said.
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