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Letter: Thanks to state for investment in LGA

As the city of Park Rapids refined its budget for 2014, our task was made easier because of actions taken by Governor Dayton and the legislature during the 2013 legislative session.

For many years, some of our city’s budget has come from a state allotment called Local Government Aid (LGA), intended to relieve local property taxpayers of some of the burden of providing necessary services to non-residents, as well as to reduce the disparity of wealth among the state’s communities.

After ten years of legislative cuts that reduced Park Rapids’ LGA from $733,375 in 2003 to only $314,126 in 2013, the governor and legislature increased funding for statewide LGA by $80 million for 2014. Of this new money, $40 million will come to Greater Minnesota communities like ours. Park Rapids is expecting an increase in LGA of $145,821 for 2014, to a total of $459,947.

This is still far below our 2003 allotment, but a welcome improvement over 2013.

In addition to the increase in LGA, cities were exempted from paying sales tax on most purchases starting in January 2014, which will be another savings for property tax payers.

With this increase in LGA and relief from paying sales tax, we were able to hold the Park Rapids property tax levy for the general fund to $1,622,217, an actual decrease of .01 percent from 2013.

LGA is very important to communities like ours. The work of the governor and legislature last session helped rebalance the relationship between our state and local governments. I would like to thank the governor and legislature for their investment in LGA and the work they did to strengthen communities across the state.

Rod Nordberg

Park Rapids City Councilman