OT County Board receives update from MICA

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

The 5-person county Board of Commissioners applauded results of the 2021 state legislative session after hearing a report on Aug. 10 from the Minnesota Inner County Association (MICA).

Overall, key successes for MICA member counties include:

• Continued funding for the County Program Aid and increased funding for other county aids

• Extension of COVID era health and human services

• Increased funding for county and local road and bridge projects

• Additional funding for community corrections and county probation officer reimbursement

• Increased funding for recycling grants, landfill post-closure care, efforts to help fight Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS), increased ground water protections and for replacing non-compliant rural septic systems

Minnesota lawmakers completed adoption of a $52.2 billion biennial budget on June 30, just hours before some parts of state government were set to temporarily shut down.

The enacted two-year budget for fiscal years 2022-23 reflects a 3.4 percent increase over projected spending under prior law.

The budget changes compared to the prior law base funding are largely focused on pandemic recovery for individuals, businesses and the economy, including $746 million in tax cuts and $1.5 billion of new spending.

“Within that context, there is increased funding for broadband, county aids, health and human service programs, roads and bridges, community corrections, environmental programs and more,” said MICA representative Matt Massman to county board members on Aug. 10.

Massman said that Minnesota still faces significant infrastructure challenges at both the state and local levels. 

“Resumption of the historical pattern of passing major bonding bills in even-years, followed by smaller bills in biennial budget sessions, is essential to addressing the growing backlog of public infrastructure needs,” he said.