• 28°

State of the City address indicates LGA cuts could hurt city (updated)

The magic letters are LGA.

Mayor Tom Stiehm made that clear in his State of the City address Monday evening, focusing on Local Government Aid and its vitality for the City of Austin.

“We need to talk to our state legislators and governor and let them know that we do not consider LGA to be merely a handout, but rather a useful tool to equalize rural and urban areas,” Stiehm said.

Stiehm said the city have been working diligently since 1980 to reduce its workforce and other expenditures while still improving programs, roads, and the sewer system throughout the city. However, now that state lawmakers are working to crunch the budget so tightly, Stiehm said the city may have to do without some programs or severely cut back so property taxes don’t spike.

“If LGA were completely eliminated, the city portion, which is 34 percent, of your property taxes would increase by 300 percent,” he said. “If your home is valued at $100,000, the city portion of your property taxes would increase from $340 to approximately $1,000.”

Stiehm concluded his address by urging Austin residents to contact Rep. Jeanne Poppe, DFL-Austin, and Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin, and ask them to continue funding LGA.

Poppe can be reached at rep.jeanne.poppe@house.mn or 651-296-4193. Sparks can be reached at sen.dan.sparks@senate.mn or 651-296-9248.