There could be an increase in funds coming to Minnesota’s LGA/CPA programs

[anvplayer video=”5161743″ station=”998130″]

Some cities and towns in Minnesota rely on funding for a lot of that everyday maintenance comes from this local government aid. Minnesota has more than $17 billion in surplus money, and the conversations about how it should be spent are ongoing.

A bill called Local Government Aid and County Program Aid (LGA/CPA) went through the Minnesota House and is aimed at increasing those budgets.

At Large, Duluth City Council Arik Forsman explains how that money can be allocated. “Local Government Aid and it’s a program that has been around since the early 1970s as a way for the state to invest in basicity services. So, it directly helps offset our property tax lev, so that we’re getting some of those costs covered through the state instead of asking our residents and business to pay more.”

Representative Dave Lislegard (DFL) Aurora, proposed a bill to increase the budget for Local Government Aid and County Program Aid. “I would continue to increase local movement aid and county municipal aid to assist them in lowering property taxes, but I am not going to sit here and put a mandate on counties and cities to tell them that they can’t raise the levy. If we do our job and we continue to invest and we put this escalator in with the inflation, we will be doing our part as a state with our partner and our counties.”

The proposal includes a $150 million increase over the next two years, focusing on critical programs without raising property taxes.

“LGA funds 30% of the city’s general fund. That budget pays for many of our city staff and a lot of the different maintenance activities we would do. Some of those things are snow plowing and having police officers respond or fire office department folks respond is important to people. It’s a really important part of our budget mix,” said Forsman.

Duluth councilors believe an increase in LGA funds could help reduce some of the challenges the city faces right now. “We have a city that is expensive to fund; we are a 26-mile long, four-mile wide municipality. When you look at all that it takes to provide those basic city services, especially when you don’t necessarily have a tax base that’s growing as fast as some people would like it to see. You only have a few choices, either cutting costs, raising taxes, or getting an increase in local government aid,” Forsman shared.