The St. Paul City Council on Wednesday will sign off on the city’s legislative wish list for 2015, a series of funding requests, projects and statutory changes that council members and Mayor Chris Coleman are making a priority in the New Year.
At the top of the list: restoration of local government aid to 2003 levels, more state funding for transportation infrastructure and transit, and five top capital projects for which the city will seek state bonding (although 2015 isn’t necessarily a bonding year at the State Capitol).
Those projects and the amount requested, in order of priority, are reconstruction of the Kellogg Boulevard-3rd Street bridge ($40 million); an environmental learning center at Crosby Farm Regional Park ($19.5 million); renovation of the Como Zoo’s seals and sea lions exhibit ($14.5 million); a regional public safety facility and indoor firing range ($6.5 million); and a cultural center at the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary ($3 million).
Coleman said Wednesday that the city also hopes to get authorization for multiple tax-increment financing districts to aid development at the Ford site in Highland Park.
The legislative agenda includes a number of issues on which the city wishes to express its views. For instance, St. Paul opposes state-sanctioned tax levy limits, wants construction materials exempted from sales taxes, and supports more funding to help communities slow the progress of the emerald ash borer.
The city’s lobbying efforts are led by J.D. Burton, who has been St. Paul’s government relations director for a couple years.
“It’s a fairly wide-ranging package of things that we’ll be presenting to the Legislature,” Coleman said. “It’s consistent with what most cities and communities across the state are going to be asking.”