City of Rochester thanks local, state lawmakers for legislative session

City of Rochester
City of Rochester(City of Rochester)
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 3:12 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – The City of Rochester sent out a thank you to lawmakers and their colleagues from across the state as the 2023 legislative session closed on Monday. 

There were many project outcomes for the Rochester community and region, including the opportunity ask local voters to renew the .5% local sales tax in November, funding of many City bonding priorities and financial support of many local government programs.

The four local sales tax renewal projects, which were the City’s top legislative priority, received support in the agreement between the House and the Senate as part of the larger omnibus tax bill.

Voters in Rochester will consider renewing the existing .5% sales tax for the four projects: Economic Vitality Fund, Street Reconstruction, Flood Control & Water Quality, and a Regional Sports and Recreation Complex.

According to the City, the local .5% sales tax has been a tool utilized by Rochester since the 1980s and it was most recently renewed in 2012 for various projects around the city and region. The renewal of the .5% sales tax needs to be approved by the local voters in November in order to become effective.

Additionally, the City had various bonding projects receive funding:

  • $14 million for Regional Parks and Forestry Maintenance Facility to expand the existing Public Works and Transit Operations Center and allow the existing parks maintenance facility and function to move entirely from its current location downtown by Mayo Field.
  • $3.6 million for Willow Creek Regional Trail & Safety Connection that will connect the Gamehaven Regional Park into the rest of the city’s trail system with a trail and Highway 52/63 underpass.
  • $800,000 for Design of Regional Park & Ride Parking Facility along North Broadway adjacent to the Recreation Center/125 Live. The parking facility will provide park and ride function along the transit corridor of North Broadway into downtown. The facility will also provide parking for events at the Recreation Center and users of 125LIVE, Rochester’s Center for Active Adults.
  • Extension of 2020 Bonding Funds for Rochester Airport Runway Improvements allowing the use of previously-awarded state funds for duration of the 7-year project and alignment with over $60 million in federal dollars for the project that is currently underway.

In addition to Rochester-specific projects, there were pieces of legislation approved related to cities and supported by the City Council’s adopted legislative priorities.

These include: local government aid, statewide housing aid, public safety aid, funding for electric vehicle microtransit, funding for services and shelters for people experiencing homelessness, reinstatement and extension of the state Historic Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit, green building energy code rules change at state level, and state funding for treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for public safety.

More information on the local sales tax renewal can be found here.