Commissioners support transportation funding package


Sibley County Commissioners, last week, adopted a resolution supporting the Association of Minnesota Counties’ transportation funding package.

The transportation package proposed is based on multiple revenue sources.

The plan includes nine points:

1) An increase in the gas tax

2) Indexing of the gas tax to the Consumer Price Index

3) Increases in vehicle registration taxes (a.k.a. license tab fees)

4) Trunk highway bonding

5) General obligation bonding for local roads and bridges

6) 1⁄2 percent increase in the state sales tax for the metropolitan area

7) 1⁄2 percent local option sales tax for transportation in Greater Minnesota

8) A county option wheelage tax

9) A change in the county state aid highway formula for new revenue to the Highway User Tax Distribution Fund, based 60% on need and 40% on motor vehicle registration.

The resolution requests that the Minnesota Legislature pass a comprehensive and balanced transportation funding package that permanently increases dedicated funding for transportation and that Gov. Tim Pawlenty allow for a comprehensive and balanced transportation funding package to become law.

County Commissioners indicated that they were the most supportive of the first five points to the plan.

Public Works Director Darin Mielke expressed support for an increase in the gas tax, because it is “guaranteed to go to road and bridge” and that it is a “user fee.”

According to the resolution, analysts in consultation with the Minnesota Department of Transportation estimate that Minnesota will have to invest an additional $1.5 billion per year in transportation infrastructure for the next 10 years in order to meet identified needs on state highways and bridges, county roads, city streets, metro and rural transit systems, and local bridges.

In other business, the County Commissioners:

• Hired Diane Kistner for the clerical position in the Sheriff’s Office, effective February 5.

• Authorizing filling a seasonal/temporary dispatcher/correctional officer position vacated by Jan Borchert.

• Authorized filing two seasonal/temporary summer intern positions in the Public Works Departments and a summer intern position for 4-H programming in the Extension Office.

• Appointed Lyle Grochow to the Transportation Planning Committee, replacing Ray Gruenwalt who retired.

• Approved applications for Gambling Exempt Permits for the Gibbon Sportsman’s Club in Severance Township for a one day event on April 4 and for St. John‘s Assumption Parish in Faxon Township for a one day event on June 29.

• Approved a recommendation to the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division for a one to four day temporary on-sale liquor license for St. John’s Assumption Parish for an event on June 29

• Approved the Coachlight Inn Supper Club as a charitable gambling site for the Red Men Club Inc. of St. Peter for a two year term July 1, 2008 – June 30, 2010.