Poppe praised for work on behalf of Austin

Published 7:33 am Thursday, June 19, 2008

State Rep. Jeanne Poppe, DFL-Austin, received a commendation from the city council Monday for her work at the Legislature on behalf of Austin.

“Thank you, Rep. Poppe,” Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm said. “We are truly lucky to have you represent us.”

The council recognized Poppe for her role in balancing the state budget without forcing the financial burden to cities; for her help with flood mitigation, including during last week’s severe flood; and the successful passage of a bill she authored related to Tax Increment Financing funds for the Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

Email newsletter signup

“Your work has helped the City of Austin in many ways,” the mayor said.

Poppe returned the thanks, saying that her work, in part, resulted from the strong communication between her office and city staff.

“I am here tonight to thank you because I think we have a great collaborative team that works on behalf of Austin,” Poppe said.

“We get a lot of good information to help us represent Austin well, especially in terms of flood mitigation funding,” she added.

Poppe said she hoped the city would receive the $5 million requested from the state for flood mitigation efforts, which will be allocated from a $30 million pot managed by the Department of Natural Resources.

She also applauded the Legislature’s work on behalf of Riverland Community College, which received $2.2 million for capital improvements, and $2 million in Reinvest in Minnesota, or RIM, funds for the Cedar River and Turtle Creek watershed districts.

Poppe praised the transportation bill, which increased the gas tax by 5 cents plus 3.5 cents to pay off debt. The additional funds money, she said, will benefit everyone; it is directed specifically to highway and bridge improvements.

“I think we had a very successful session,” she said.

Her words were followed by an update from Tim Flaherty, attorney and lobbyist for the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities.

Flaherty put a different twist on the outcome of the Legislative session, saying that while Local Government Aid fared well, with $42 million gained statewide, it may not be guaranteed as officials reckon with $1 billion in deficits expected to plague the state in 2009-10.

“A large part of your December payment is certainly at risk right now,” he said.

Austin is scheduled to receive about $7.77 million in 2009.

Flaherty also expressed worry about levy limits, which were set at 3.9 percent, plus several exceptions, though he said the outcome was an improvement from what Gov. Tim Pawlenty originally sought.

“The compromise was better than what the governor proposed,” he said.