Letter: State funding is imperative for 2 A.L. projects

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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The Minnesota Legislature is back in session, and again our state elected officials are working to bring bonding dollars back home for two very worthwhile projects. It does disappoint me that because there wasn’t a bonding bill last year, the price tag for both projects got more expensive. That makes it imperative that these two projects receive funding this year. We have seen the bonding request to finish dredging Fountain Lake go up from $7.5 million to this year’s $9 million request. Up over $1.5 million over the last couple of years.

Then there is the bill to help with funding or updates to Albert Lea’s waste treatment plant. That cost has now risen to over $70 million, of which now the city of Albert Lea is asking for $37 million. Up $7 million from last year’s request.

While I was on the Freeborn County Board of Commissioners, I saw firsthand how waiting to get projects started ended up costing taxpayers more money. I didn’t like it then, and I don’t care for it now. So I believe it is imperative that our area receive funding for these two projects this year — in this year’s bonding bill. As you can see, the longer we wait, the more projects cost. How is that saving taxpayers money?

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Please contact Rep. Peggy Bennett at 651-296-8216 or toll free at 877-377-9441, or email at rep.peggy.bennett@house.mn, and Sen. Gene Dornink at 651-296-5240, or email at sen.gene.dornink@senate.mn.

Also, while you are in contact with Rep. Bennett and Sen. Dornink, maybe you could bring up that you would support and enjoy having a small herd of bison at our wonderful Myre-Big Island State Park. It would pull visitors off of the freeways and show them all of what Albert Lea has to offer. To get these projects done, we will need the support of the whole community. Please do what you can to help support these projects.

Mike Lee
Albert Lea