Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

WATER AND MONEY

Since a majority of Minnesotans voted to raise our sales tax in November of 2008, the state now has constitutionally dedicated funds to be used for clean water, parks and trails, and arts and culture. If there is one thing I have learned since being elected to office is that the folks in our state who work with water are dedicated, feisty, and in some cases unreasonable and not willing to compromise. The result is: you guessed it - more fighting about funding various water and environment projects. These conflicts are in their infancy now because this "new money" that started being collected in July of 2009. However, the indications are that these "varying ideas" on the best use of these funds will escalate. We can all put the blame for this squarely on the backs of our elected representatives.
Other than the Lessard/Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, the lawmakers did not provide a workable structure in the amendment for distributing the funds. Why did they fail to do so? One of my fellow county commissioners answered the question this way. "They never thought it would pass!" And I think he hit the nail on the head.
It did pass and it proves that Minnesotans are willing to raise our own taxes. Now, the lawmakers and bureaucrats are in a reactive mode. They are setting up a website to inform citizens of how the funds are being utilized. The site will also show all of the projects funded and the frameworks and plans that are being developed for each fund. The webiste will also display methods of applying for grants. The address is http://www.cdf.leg.mn/ end.

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