consultants are sandburs

Monday, October 07, 2013

ANOKA COUNTY - "County approves $57 million in projects". RAMSEY TO HOLD A FRANCHISE FEE PUBLIC HEARING, TOMORROW.

The headline quote is the headline from Peter Bodley's ABC Newspapers report online here. In part, it says:

Of the $57,195,425 million in the capital improvements, only $16,694,345 will be paid from county funds, she said.

The rest of the money will come from federal, state and city sources, Hetrick said.

For the second straight year, the county will not be going into the bond market to help pay for capital improvements program projects, according to County Commissioner Matt Look, chairperson of the Finance and Capital Improvements Committee.

The county board has included funds for the capital improvements program as part of its regular 2014 budget, Look said.

“We have been preparing and planning properly for these costs and managing them without bonding,” he said.

Half of the $16,694,345 in county funds that have been earmarked for capital improvements will come from the county road and bridge tax levy – $8,370,200.

[...] some of the projects included in the 2014 capital improvements program are dependent on state and federal dollars being received for them.

A case in point is the largest single project in the capital improvements program – $32 million for the interchange proposed at Highway 10 and Armstrong Boulevard in Ramsey.

So no county franchise fee. A "county road and bridge tax levy" is mentioned. Doing things the old fashioned way?

One question - Ramsey gets MSA money, as a State grant. Has that been blown on county roads, including earmarking for the Armstrong interchange, to where a franchise fee gets imposed on Ramsey's households? How does that all work, exactly? Did this council "mortgage" MSA money to not be available for road upkeep, is it barred from such use, or was it available for either upkeep or other allocation, and frittered away by the last council?

When there is a public hearing about all this, the hope is such questions would not be swept under the rug, as irrelevant to Ramsey taxpayers. Who did what when with present and future MSA grant cash, and how that relates to a franchise fee now, IS relevant to whether or not a franchise fee is imposed, for how much, and why.

__________UPDATE____________
Also any public hearing on the franchise fee situation - amounts and need and how the general levy money is NOT available for road work, or insufficient, would be a bogus hearing without Ramsey's CFO, Diana Lund, present to address citizen concerns and in general to present a where we are, how we got there, and where we are headed fiscal analysis - however brief - to assure citizens that all avenues have been explored and understood prior to imposing yet another tax while calling it "a franchise fee."

THE PUBLIC HEARING IS SET FOR THE OCTOBER 8 COUNCIL MEETING. TOMORROW.

No comments: