Without extra dollars, many city projects will likely be stifled
By Kristen Miller
With talks of a federal economic stimulus package, cities are making their wish lists in hopes they will eventually get to see some of the money from the estimated $800 billion package proposal.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, included in the House of Representatives legislation “are a combination of government spending and tax cuts aimed at disrupting rising unemployment and jump-starting the economy.
“Specifically, the bill contains funding for ‘ready-to-go’ infrastructure projects including transportation, energy, environment, and schools,” according to the web site.
In order to get a rough estimate of just how much Minnesota cities might be needing for potential projects, the League of Minnesota Cities sent out a survey, according to Rachel Walker, manager of policy for the League of Minnesota Cities.
The surveys were a way to help the National League of Cities determine the need and the kinds of projects, as well as the number of projects from each city.
On the federal level, the league is lobbying Congress so that a portion of the stimulus money will go directly to the cities as opposed to flowing through the state.
Cokato Council Member Butch Amundsen fears that the money will go to the state and by the time it trickles down through the counties, the cities won’t see any of it.
Nonetheless, Cokato, like its neighbors, has a wish list if they ever do see any of the money.
One of the two major projects coming down the pipe for Cokato is a new public safety building estimated to cost $2 million. Amundsen would like to see grant money that would make it more affordable for the taxpayers, he said.
The second project on the wish list for Cokato is rebuilding infrastructure on Seventh Street, estimated to cost $1 million.
“Those are the two major projects we’d like to see happen,” Amundsen said.
Dassel’s wish list includes public works projects such as water mains and some street resurfacing, according to Myles McGrath, city administrator. The cost of the project is estimated at just over $1 million.
Darwin’s list encompasses pond funding for a new waste water treatment pond, and improvements to the existing pond. The total cost of the project is $2.8 million.
Howard Lake isn’t giving special treatment to any specific project and instead, submitted their entire capital improvement plan, which includes replacing the remaining infrastructure south of Highway 12, according to Barry Glienke.
The estimated cost of the plan is $12 million.
The City of Winsted has four projects it’s looking at if funding is available including an estimated $1 million street reconstruction project, according to city engineer, Jake Saulsbury.
Also on the list is a Winsted Lake storm water treatment project for $120,000, drainage improvements to Fairlawn and Main avenues estimated to cost $70,000, and a seal coating on city streets for $45,000.
The city of Lester Prairie has a wish list that includes a $1.5 million water treatment facility.
Also included on the list for Lester Prairie is an extension of the water main to the Prairie Ridge development for $250,000, storm sewer replacement on Second Avenue for $90,000, and milling, overlay, and seal coating on a few city streets for $670,000.
On Mayer’s wish list is the Westside Project, which includes streets, curb, and gutter for Canary, Fourth, Fifth, and Second streets for an estimated $1.2 million, and storm and sewer for $1.5 million.
Also on the list is the city hall parking lot for $100,000, the parking lot in Westridge Park for $40,000, a walk/bike trail to Highway 7 for $220,000, a turn lane for the recycling center at an estimated $185,000, upgrading the water plant for $100,000, and the Parade Street Project for $2 million. This is for the commercial development of Fieldstone along Highway 25.
New Germany hopes to get stimulus money for a $4.5 million infrastructure improvement project.
“They need it and can’t afford it on their own,” said the city’s engineer, Sheila Krohse.
The City of Montrose also has its own wish list. On it is a $500,000 water tower, two sewer replacements for $750,000 for Emerson Avenue North and Garfield Avenue South, and a sewer lining project for $500,000.
The city is also working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to improve the intersection of Highway 12 and Clementa for $2 million, according to Barb Swanson, city administrator.
The city would also like to bury all the power lines on Highway 12, but is unsure if the possible stimulus dollars will cover this type of project.
“The list is as long as you want to make it,” Swanson said, “but we’ll see what the reality is.”
There was no discussion made by the City of Waverly in regards to projects.