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LGA campaign calls on those in governor race

Minnesota cities have another lean budget year ahead of them with Local Government Aid cuts for 2010.

Minnesota mayors have started campaigning across the state to address LGA. They are calling on candidates for the 2010 governor's race to address LGA concerns. We hope the candidates listen and share plans to address the growing concerns of cities.

In 2010, LGA unallotment totals $128.3 million. Park Rapids will receive $172,541 less in LGA, piggybacking on LGA cuts made in 2009.

The cuts were part of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's plan to erase the $2.7 billion state budget.

So far, Park Rapids has been able to set a budget without cutting essential services. But there are squad cars in need of replacement that aren't being replaced and other capital improvements that are being put on hold.

The Department of Revenue has indicated that the unallotment amounts in the city-by-city list of cuts are maximum cut amounts.

The unallotments for 2010 aids and credits will be carried out in the state's accounting system after Jan. 15, 2010, according to the Department of Revenue. This means that levy limit cities (cities with populations of 2,500 and larger) will be able to declare a special levy for taxes payable in 2011 to recover all or part of the 2010 reductions.

The League of Minnesota Cities and Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities have both been getting the word out about LGA and the impact the funds have on cities.

The mayors announced that a major part of their effort will be traveling around the state to hold press conferences, meet local officials and play a two-minute issue ad that showcases how the cuts have hurt Minnesota. Specifically, they will be calling on Minnesotans to attend candidate debates, write letters to the editor and contact each campaign directly to find out where the candidates stand on LGA.

We encourage efforts to make their voices heard. Some mayors have talked about the repercussions cities will face if LGA continues to be cut.

The ad the mayors are showing illustrates some of the struggles cities are facing and how property taxes are increasing.

As the 2010 governor's race continues, we hope to hear more from candidates about their plans for LGA and how they will address growing concerns from cities across the state.