County board sets 2013 legislative priorities

By Melissa Marohl
Staff Writer

Before each legislative session begins, county officials meet with those representing Carver County and the cities within it to discuss the legislative priorities and projects they would like to see addressed at the state level.

At their Nov. 27 meeting, the Carver County Board of Commissioners adopted six priorities in three categories for the 2013 legislative session.

The first priority includes balancing the state budget without shifting the cost to counties. With the increasing state deficit, the County believes it is only fair that any aid or credit cuts are proportional to the aid and credits it receives. These payment delays, or “shifts,” and one-time resources have balanced the fiscal year 2012-13 budget.

Carver County’s second priority urges the legislature to permit counties the freedom to reengineer or redesign services. It is the responsibility of the county and local governments to collaborate, consolidate, and reorganize services, and while Carver County often leads in innovation, counties can often only go so far before conflicting with state mandates and statutes.

The third priority requests that the Legislature fully fund the 101 Bridge and “Y” project. Carver and Scott counties are working together to construct a new bridge for trunk highway 101 over the Minnesota River between Shakopee and Chanhassen. Currently, the bridge is subject to flooding. At the same time, the “Y” intersection where 101 meets Flying Cloud Drive would also be reconstructed to ease traffic and aid future growth. The counties hope to construct the bridge in 2014.

The final three priorities include protecting revenue sources for transportation (such as sales tax on leased vehicles), supporting the Department of Natural Resources aquatic invasive species inspection programs, and requesting that legacy funding for parks and trails be equal to sales tax proceeds in the metro area.

In other news, the county board:
• Held a public hearing and adopted Ordinance 48-2013 regarding the 2013 Carver County fee schedule

• Reached a joint powers agreement with Dahlgren Township for the Guernsey Avenue turn back

• Approved a purchase agreement for the last parcel of land within the boundaries of Lake Waconia Regional Park.