Proposed transit tax could cost city of FarmingtonA proposal by Gov. Mark Dayton’s Transportation Finance Advisory Committee has Farmington officials a little concerned about the future. Among the recommendations is a proposal to expand the transit taxing district to include the entire seven-county metro area, Farmington included.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
A proposal by Gov. Mark Dayton’s Transportation Finance Advisory Committee has Farmington officials a little concerned about the future.
Farmington city administrator David McKnight is just starting to get information on a proposal by the state committee. Among the recommendations is a proposal to expand the transit taxing district to include the entire seven-county metro area, Farmington included.
“We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars this could cost the city of Farmington, with nothing in return,” McKnight said.
While Farmington commuters use the nearby transit station off of Pilot Knob Road in Apple Valley, and Rosemount has just opened a new transit station as well, there are no plans to bring a park-and-ride station to Farmington. McKnight acknowledges that Farmington commuters account for much of the use out of neighboring stations, but those commuters also pay to use the buses.
McKnight is working with the League of Minnesota Cities, Metro Cities, and Rep. Pat Garofalo to get a better understanding of what this proposal is, and how much it may cost Farmington if passed.
Because it would require legislative action, McKnight expects more information will come out over the next few months – before the next legislative session. As it stands, he believes the transit tax could cost Farmington anywhere from $250,000 to $500,000 if passed.
“That’s a lot of money, especially when I just had to cut $150,000 from the budget,” McKnight said.
As he understands the proposal, the money would not be used to bring a new transit station to Farmington, but would instead go to the system that is already in place.
McKnight expects the proposal will mean a fair amount of work for the Farmington City Council over the next few months. Already this week, he was meeting with Metro Cities – part of the Association of Metropolitan Municipalities – to get a better understanding of the proposal.
“We’ll be talking about this for the next four or five months, depending on what it is and where it goes,” McKnight said. “It’s a legislative decision, though. It’s not a county decision, it’s not a city decision. It’s a legislative decision. It’s new to us. I don’t even know yet if it goes through the city or on the tax statements as a different levy. I’m just trying to get a handle on it now.”