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The initiative was discussed by the tax conference committee and considered as an addition to the transportation finance conference committee report, but ultimately was not included in either bill.
(Published May 28, 2013)
A bill that would allow cities to collect fees from property owners within a district to fund municipal street maintenance, construction, reconstruction, and facility upgrades had been included as a provision in the House omnibus tax bill, HF 677 (Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington), but was set aside in the tax conference committee on May 13.
Although the provision was not included in the Senate’s tax bill, it had received many favorable hearings in Senate committees. At a May 13 tax conference committee meeting, Senate Taxes Committee Chair Rod Skoe (DFL-Clearbrook) indicated he was uncomfortable with language in the House bill that would prohibit cities from collecting the fees from tax-exempt properties. The exemption was not in the street improvement district bill as introduced, but was added by the House Taxes Committee.
The League had hoped the bill would find a home as a provision in the omnibus transportation finance conference committee report (Chapter 117), but the committee concluded its work before voting on the measure.
The move represents a setback for the initiative, which had received a considerable amount of support in the 2013 Session.
The bills, SF 607 (Sen. Jim Carlson, DFL-Eagan) and HF 745 (Rep. Ron Erhardt, DFL-Edina), were introduced earlier this session and would have provided cities with an additional tool to build and maintain city streets.
At the tax conference committee hearing, Chair Lenczewski defended the measure, saying her community, the City of Bloomington, has implemented a system similar to the street improvement district using authority provided by its city charter. According to Lenczewski, the plan has been well-received by Bloomington residents and businesses. She encouraged conference committee members to keep an open mind to the proposal.
Sen. Skoe indicated an interest in continuing discussions about the street improvement district tool in the interim. Since the bill has not been voted down in either the House or Senate, it will remain viable in 2014, the second year of the biennial legislative cycle.
City officials are encouraged to continue talking with their local legislators to secure support for this initiative.
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Contact Anne Finn
Assistant IGR Director
(651) 281-1263 or (800) 925-1122
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