Last fall, a group of nine environmental organizations filed a lawsuit last fall challenging the sale of $98 million in appropriation bonds authorized in the 2018 bonding bill, effectively stopping the sale of those bonds. Included the $98 million in bonds was $59 million for the Public Facilities Authority (PFA) to pay for grants and loans for wastewater, storm water, drinking water and sewer projects, mostly in Greater Minnesota. A number of MESERB members have been affected by this delay, including Marshall, Austin and Little Falls.
Last week, the Minnesota House Environmental and Natural Resources Committee heard HF 233, a bill that aims to address this issue by authorizing $98 million in general obligation bonds, including $59 million for the PFA programs. It also would repeal the section of law authorizing the appropriation bonds.
Elizabeth Wefel testified on behalf of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities in favor of the bill, describing the challenges faced by cities such as Marshall, Austin and Little Falls — among others — who are waiting for state funding to help pay for critical water infrastructure projects. The bill passed out of committee and was re-referred to the Ways and Means Committee. A similar bill, HF 80, is scheduled for a hearing in the House Capital Investment Committee on Tuesday.
If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.